7 Wellness Tips to Consider During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With a pandemic on our hands, self-care has been the least of my concerns. Who has time to worry about me when there still isn't toilet paper to be found at a single Target in town? And for some reason, the local grocer is out of...almond milk? So far 2020 has brought us a series of heart-wrenching events. The death of a beloved basketball player, devastating forest fires, primary elections for POTUS 2020 and now we are face to face with a fast spreading and unpredictable virus without a cure. Just when we thought we had it together, boom! Thousands of events cancelled worldwide and citizens being advised to stay indoors, wash their hands and avoid the rest of humanity until (insert questionmark). I mean, can a world catch a break?!
I don't know about you but this weekend had me glued to my phone and in a slight panic. But like most of us, I don't have time for added stress and anxiety. I started 2020 with goals in mind. I signed up for a study abroad in South America, my first Ironman 70.3 and applied to grad school for the fall. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, my study abroad trip has since been cancelled and my training effected by pool closings. Oh, and I'm a nail-biting, small business owner, anticipating the negative impact this virus will have on women like myself, trying to stay afloat. Not to mention, I've been constantly worrying that I might actually become infected by the virus. Acknowledging that most of this is almost entirely beyond my control I know one thing that's for sure: in the meantime, I need to find a way to stay positive if I want to avoid a massive breakdown. So here are 7 ways I plan to keep moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic and you can too:
Instead of binge-watching Netflix: be active by doing yoga or going for a walk. To curve the spread of the virus, schools, businesses and communities in general are shutting down, warning people globally to self-quarantine and avoid social gatherings. For most of us, that means a lot of time on our hands, questioning what to do for hours on end. As interesting as it is to watch documentaries about viral outbreaks and catch up on the latest season of Queer Eye, it's important to find time to get up and moving. If you plan to do yoga, really concentrate on every breath and don't forget to clean your yoga mat!
Instead of panic shopping: support small and local businesses. Unfortunately, no matter how big or small a business is, it's going to take a hit from COVID-19. But sadly not all buisnesses will make as quick of a come-back as large corporate America will. Just remember that small businesses rely on your support year round, no matter what the circumstance. By minimizing our spending habits in the corporate world and instead shopping with our local, small vendors, we are helping women in business, young entrepreneurs, women of color, LGBTQIA+ and many other small business owners such as myself.
(photo taken at a Wegmans in Rochester, NY 3/15/20)
Instead of hoarding goods: donate to organizations in need. As you may have noticed, stores across the U.S.A. have been bustling with lines out the door and shelves are depleted. As a result of fear, many have been purchasing goods beyond their need for the future in the event that grocery stores will run out of supplies. Meanwhile 12.3% of American households are food insecure and 13 million children in America are facing hunger on a daily basis (USDA 2016 Food Security Report). This is a friendly reminder to donate to organizations such as Feeding America and Meals on Wheels who are making sure underprivaleged familes and the ederly are getting the food and supplies they need during this challenging time.
Instead of obsessing over social distancing: reach out to those within your social media community. In today's society, the average American spends up to 12 hours a day of screentime (Forbes). With that in mind, the majority of us are connecting with family, friends and co-workers via the web, making new friends via hashtags and communicating daily within our virtual communities. Instead of hyperfocusing on how far we should stand from one another in public, we should be reaching out to one another online. Quarantine can get pretty lonely. So just do a quick check-in to make sure everyone's safe and healthy to avoid feelings of isolation and sadness.
Instead of creating false stereotypes: send good vibes to those who are ill. Descrimination is overrated no matter the circumstance but to actually point fingers at any given culture or race for an illness is 100% the kind of negativity this world DOESN'T need. We shouldn't wish COVID-19, or any illness, on anyone! Be mindful of the things you say, don't target specific groups and do your best to understand cultural differences. For those who are currently suffering from the virus, wish them well and if you know them personally, take the time to ask them how they're feeling periodically. This virus is scary and it's times like these that we really need each other the most.
Instead of trolling Twitter for live updates: read a book or do something creative. I get it, we have a lot of time on our hands, which is why we should be using it wisely to do something productive and positive. Constantly glaring at the media can cause anxiety and obsession over COVID-19 which isn't good for your mental health. Take this time to enjoy your favorite hobbies and avoid unecessary stress. Maybe you've been meaning to read Brené Brown's Daring Greatly or want to dive deep into the essays of Arundhati Roy. Either way it's important to enjoy the present. You might even learn something along the way.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the media: practice daily mantras to maintain a healthy and positive mindset. Here are a few that I find comforting when concerned about my health:
1. May I be well
2. I am safe
3. My health is a priority
4. I am calm
5. Others care about my well-being
6. We will get through this difficult time together
Lastly, stay hydrated, quarantine if you can, wash your hands thoroughly & don't forget to call your mom!