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Self Care During a Pandemic

19th Mar 2020

So, we’re a few days in to pretty big changes for most of us, and things are still changing pretty rapidly. How are you doing? Today I learned that one of my best friends who works in healthcare has symptoms, and is waiting to find out how to get tested.

Grant Oliphant, President of the Heinz Endowments, released this statement earlier this week that I thought really beautifully summed up the times that we’re in right now:

“A moment like this can rob us of our sense of agency and power. However, I would argue that the path forward is to realize that we do have power, even in the face of something that makes us feel incredibly small, and that it lies where it always has—in remembering that we are in this thing together and in finding ways to embrace our collective responsibility and accountability to each other.

This is one truth of which I am absolutely certain: We will emerge stronger and better from the challenges of this time to the extent we remember what it truly means to be members of a local, national and global community.”

In times of extreme stress in my life, I've always found it helpful to focus on what's right in front of me, right now. Taking one more breath. One more step. Sometimes, much more than that can feel too overwhelming. Here are a few more tips to help you stay grounded while we're isolating and social distancing:

  • Take care of your body by eating well and getting enough sleep.
  • Keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Use FaceTime, Skype, or Google chats to video chat.
  • Get exercise. There’s no substitute for fresh air and sunlight, but a sunlamp will do in a pinch. If you don’t have symptoms, it’s ok to go outside or to your local park, as long as you are still practicing social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people. This article gives a great visual representation of why it’s so important right now.)
  • Take time away from the news and social media. Turn it off. Meditate, read a book, take a bath, listen to a podcast, take up knitting. Just unplug from all media for a while.
  • Maintain a normal routine, as much as possible. If you’re working from home, get up early, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then get ready to start your day. Make sure you’re still eating lunch, just as you would if you were at work. As someone that has done a fair share of working from home, trust me when I say there’s truly a big mental shift between rolling out of bed a few minutes before you need to start your day and working all day in your pajamas versus getting up, showered, dressed, and properly fed before you start the clock.

A reliable local source for updates on coronavirus, including tips for how to talk to your kids about it, staying safe, and what to do if you have symptoms is the PA Department of Health.

What are some of your favorite tips for coping with being housebound?

Photo by Jake Givens on Unsplash