The coronavirus (COVID-19): Staying safe and sane
Epidemiologists have said that the last pandemic with effects similar to the coronavirus was the Spanish flu in 1918. This means that almost no one alive today has lived with this kind of threat. Even the centenarians among us with 100+ years of life are unlikely to remember with clarity what it's like to live in such times.
Understandably, many of us have an overwhelming feeling of being on edge. Of course, we are on edge in the traditional sense; we are anxious, agitated, and keyed up. But we are also on edge in another sense. We are on the edge, on the precipice, of a world we would not have recognized three months ago.
People respond to stress and uncertainty with a range of emotional reactions. We may experience high levels of anxiety and even panic. We may be consumed with anger, about things that could have made this different or about seemingly unrelated things We may feel excited or grateful about aspects of our current reality, like getting to stay home from school or work or getting around to those home projects that are always on the back-burner. Or, we may go into problem-solving mode and not really feel much at all.
Staying balanced is one thing we can do when we are feeling on edge. Staying balanced means participating in good self-care-- taking care of yourself/getting treatment if you are sick, getting enough sleep (but not too much), not overeating or undereating, and exercising as appropriate to support your physical health.
And, staying balanced also applies to our thoughts and behaviors. Try to find the middle path between focusing on the latest happenings with the coronavirus (i.e., staying informed) and focusing on other things that are part of our daily lives. We can even find joy and meaning in some aspects of this new normal.
For those of you who have lost a loved one: Please, please get support.
Stay safe and sane, San Diego.