I wrote about mental health and this virus a few days ago. Without going all kumbaya on you, I wanted to share what I’m doing now so I don’t flip out about all this.
And by the way, how many emails do you have from major brands and organizations about this virus? Even from a t-shirt company. What is it about t-shirts that would qualify them to send me advice on the coronavirus?
1. I won’t stress about things that are beyond my control.
I can control how many door handles I touch, whether or not I use a kleenex over my face when I sneeze, and how often I wash my hands or use hand sanitizer.
Good God, I never knew how many times I had an itch on my face until I heard the CDC advice on “don’t touch your face.” Denying myself the urge to scratch the face or nose itch is making me crazy but I try to use a kleenex when I address the itch.
I cannot control how many cases there are in the USA, whether my husband’s plane will leave Germany or not. I can’t control the cancellations of the speaking events for which I’m booked. I just have to go with the flow. If there is something I can do to help, I will such as offering a webinar for the presentation I was going to do in person.
I just ask myself, “Is that something I can control?” If not, I just tell myself to chill. That has worked for me for some time and I employ it here, too.
2. I’m not going to project disaster scenarios
There is a fine line between having a reasonable disaster plan and projecting scary scenarios that may never happen. I learned to focus on the day I am in when my son was misusing substances.
So if I was a parent, I would have been devising “what if” strategies for school closings. But I wouldn’t be digging a bomb shelter and stocking it with canned goods and flashlights.
3. I can act in ways that make me feel safe.
I feel OK having a small gathering like a book club or walking with a friend right now. For this, I can take safety precautions like the elbow bump instead of hugging, making sure any guests have access to soap and water and hand sanitizer while making sure countertops are clean enough for performing surgery.
I can go outside and enjoy the outdoors and wide-open spaces instead of being at a crowded networking event.
4. I’m cutting off the news when I reach a saturation point.
It’s not necessary for me to listen to the news 24/7. It won’t save me. Too much news can make me feel stressed about things I have no control over.
5. I need to do my part.
If we all do that, we can prevent disaster or at least mitigate it and prevent death. So I will follow published guidelines and be educated instead of saturated.
6. I am not going to underestimate meditation or breathing exercises.
It’s free. It’s easy and ushers in a sense of calm in the face of calamity. There is nothing to be gained by panic.
7. I’m not going to freak about the Stock Market.
They go up. They go down. They’ll bounce back again and that is one of those things I have no control over.