The world is a scary place right now. We are literally fighting an invisible enemy with our lives and it’s stronger than anything we’ve ever seen in the last decade. And although this virus is frightening, what’s even more terrifying is the fear of the coronavirus itself.
That’s not the say that fear is deadlier than the virus but it’s pretty damn close. Fear can destroy the liveliest of minds and makes us weaker in a time when we need to be stronger than ever before.
Between the news, social media, emails, business closures, panicked grocery shoppers, and the eerily quiet streets, fear is inevitable. There is no place for us to go to enjoy the normalcy we once called life anymore.
While I agree that we now should be cautious and listen to the experts when they tell us that we need to stay at home, wash our hands, and keep away from others as much as possible, we also need to be wary about the fear that creeps into our psyche as a result of this experience. While this is a scary time for us, we don’t need to live in fear every day.
Here are some tips to inject a tiny bit of normalcy into our new normal.
Turn off the news and social media
Tuning in daily for new cases and mortality rates can invoke fear in even the strongest minded person. Death and illness are very scary things. But we need to turn off the news. The news and articles on the coronavirus is not always accurate and it only creates more uncertainty.
I am guilty of gluing myself to the news and reports that come out. It’s kind of hard to step away from it when that’s all that’s being reported 24/7 right now. But I’ve decided to step away from the news aside from tuning in to a daily announcement by my province’s medical officer. The news is not going to keep us healthy and happy. The only thing that can keep us healthy right now is to stay away from people as best as we can, wash our hands and not touch our faces.
Keep in touch with loved ones
The only thing scarier than knowing we can contract this virus ourselves is the thought that one of our loved ones will contract it, especially our parents and children. Keeping in touch with family and friends, whether through video chat, a phone call, or even a text message, can ease our minds by eliminating the fear that our loved ones are in danger.
Just because we’re told to social distance ourselves from others, it doesn’t mean we should emotionally and mentally distance ourselves as well. In the age of the Internet, it has never been easier to keep in touch with someone on the other side of the world.
Take a walk or go for a run
This may sound counterintuitive as the leaders of the world declare lockdowns and quarantines. but unless you are sick, fresh air and the ability to go outside for a few moments is not off limits. Aside from the physical benefits of breathing in fresh air and moving your body, the mental and emotional benefits can be enormous as well.
The world currently has a fear of even stepping out of their own house. I don’t think creating agoraphobia is what the doctors and government had in mind when they recommend social distancing. Taking a walk and embracing the freedom to go outside can ease our fears because although the virus is a scary thing, the world itself doesn’t necessarily have to be. Just knowing that you can be outside and come home healthy can be a huge weight off anybody’s shoulders right now.
Don’t go to the supermarkets unless you have to
Stock up on what you need but I would recommend avoiding the supermarkets unless you need something.
Canada has recently announced the closure of our borders for non-essential travel but our borders for trade and essentials are still open. Food and supplies are coming even if the distribution and shelving of these products can’t keep up with the current demand. Know that it’s normal to experience a gap especially when this thing came at us like a bullet. I believe the government when they say we will not be running out of anything anytime soon. Call me naive but I believe.
So I haven’t been going to the supermarkets every day to line for toilet paper but I do have enough of it to last me for the next 2–3 weeks. I also have some pasta, rice, and whatever I need to sustain me without feeling the need to line up at Costco an hour before they open for the day.
Seeing empty shelves and a frenzy of long line ups only create a scarcity mentality and believing that we might not have enough for ourselves. Having a scarcity mentality layers fear on top of an already scary and uncertain time.
We are trying to avoid everyone and everything (quite literally) like the plague. Even though there’s a lot to be afraid of right now, there are ways we can lessen that fear through simple changes. The world doesn’t need more fear, it needs more optimism and hope. Hope that this will pass, hope that things will turn out okay, hope that we will come out on the other side more empathetic, caring, and compassionate.
Although hoping that things will turn out fine may not seem like much, sometimes hope is the most powerful thing in the world when we’re faced with something completely out of our control.
Stay safe, stay sane, and stay away from other people!