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As someone with an already elevated level of anxiety, I have a ton of thoughts swirling in my head about the Coronavirus outbreak. The first is to try to remain calm – as the saying goes, panic and worry are a down payment on a problem you may never have. HOWEVER, we’re dealing with something many of us have never seen in this lifetime and there are a LOT of unknowns. So feelings of anxiety, stress, uncertainty, doubt, and fear are all valid.
Anxiety spirals when you have little more than what if’s, so I wanted to create a resource to help us feel a little more prepared, and a little less panicked.
I know not all of these things are an option for all people, and none of this is meant to fuel any anxiety – but I’m sharing a few things I’m doing to try to stay calm and feel prepared, which makes me feel a little better about what’s happening.
My friend Mika encourages us to focus on what we CAN do, versus what we CAN’T do, and I think that mindset will be really important in the coming weeks. And it’s probably a strong thing to adopt all the time, honestly.
Here are the things I’m doing and the steps I’m taking to prepare for the unknowns as our country deals with the Coronavirus.
Play by The Rules
This is the most obvious but I have to state it anyway. Basically, we, as a society, are trying to flatten the curve, here. Meaning we’re trying to use social distancing to prevent the RAPID spread of Covid-19 aka Coronavirus so that our medical infrastructure and resources can handle the influx of ill people needing care.
SO that means staying home if you’re sick (and even if you’re not sick), washing your hands WELL, canceling events and gatherings if you’re able, and basically avoiding public exposure when possible.
Even if you’re not worried about you/your immediate family getting sick, we’re taking these preventative measures for our parents, grandparents, and our immunocompromised friends, family and neighbors.
I just ordered a refill of the kids’ vitamins AND got myself a 90 day supply of my Lexapro. Also a good idea to make sure you’re stocked on Tylenol and Ibuprofen and cough meds, if possible. No need for a MEGA supply – leave enough on the shelves for other people, of course.
Get/Use a Grocery Delivery/Pickup Subscription
I honestly don’t know how long/if grocers and Walmart and Target will stay open and staffed. In the meantime, to limit exposure to crowds/people, I’m leveraging drive up, pickup, and delivery options. Honestly, this isn’t much different than my day-to-day life as a mom of 4, one of whom is a newborn.
Support Local Businesses
It’s also important to try to support local businesses that you would normally be visiting so definitely check to see if any of your local favorites is offering curbside pickup or delivery options. For instance, a local bookstore in STL (The Novel Neighbor) is offering curbside book pickup.
Another way to help local restaurants that you’d be patronizing under normal circumstances is to buy gift cards to use later – this will help them keep the lights on when business is SLOW if/when people aren’t dining out.
Get a Bidet
Ok, the panic over toilet paper has me like ??? but low and behold, it’s gone from stores. So I just ordered this bidet attachment for our toilet – affordable + good reviews + requires less toilet paper so win/win/win. I hope.
Workout From Home
I’m still not cleared to work out since I’m only 3 weeks postpartum but I know that MANY of us see reduced anxiety when we’re able to work out.
Going to the gym or group fitness classes may not be an option, so not a bad time to try an at-home streaming workout. I personally love barre3 and they have a free 15-day trial + Expecting & Empowered has amazing resources if you’re pregnant or newly postpartum – use code LOVELYLUCKYLIFE for $10 off here! I plan to start their postpartum program ASAP!
And here’s a list of FREE online yoga classes.
Online Mental Health Services
Times are uncertain. Stress is high. If you need to talk to someone about anything and cannot get to a provider for whatever reason, TalkSpace is a great resource for online counseling.
If you’re stuck at home with kids without childcare, or geographically prevented from visiting a provider, or your provider isn’t seeing patients, online counseling could be a great resource. Prioritize your mental health! You’re worth it and there are people who can help.
If you’re like me, you are NOT cut out to educate children. If you have a school-aged child, chances are there are plans being put in place to make sure there is some kind of e-learning structure.
Khan Academy is another resource one of you shared with me.
I also saw this on Facebook and found it to be incredibly helpful and uplifting.
Online Pediatrician Appointments
Check to see if your pediatrician will be able to offer online appointments. Not only are you limiting your exposure to illness (Corona or Flu or whatever), by staying out of doctor’s offices and ERs, you’re potentially preventing other people from catching whatever you/your children are carrying, plus you’re not overusing resources.
Anytime Pediatrics is a resource that I think will work anywhere. Another provider offering virtual visits is linked here.
SSM has $25 virtual visits with no insurance required for both kids and adults – linked here.
Stay Off Social Media
Yes, I’m sharing this blog post through social media. But if the influx of opinions, news articles, graphics, and memes are adding to your anxiety exponentially, I urge you to limit your exposure to the influx of NEWS.
I’m not saying bury your head in the sand or stay uninformed, but maybe uninstall Facebook from your phone and only check once a day from your laptop, or maybe turn off whatever 24-hour news station you have on and check a reputable source once a day.
Facetime + Text
If the social isolation part has you a little nervous for your mental health, be sure you stay connected via text or (gasp!) an actual phone call or Facetime. Reach out to a friend or neighbor. Ask how they’re doing or if there’s anything you can do to help.
Plan for Childcare
If the idea of having your children home with you for weeks at a time makes you sweat (hi, me!) OR if you don’t have the option of working from home, childcare could be a real concern.
One idea I’ve seen floating around is to team up with some friends or neighbors and take turns taking a day off while someone watches the kids. I’m honestly not sure this is a sound strategy as far as limiting exposure or social distancing, but I know some people don’t have the luxury of taking weeks off work to stay home with their kids.
How to Help People In Need
I’m coming up kind of short on ways we can HELP people – the people who can’t miss work, the healthcare workers who will be on the frontlines of fighting Coronavirus, the kids who won’t have regular meals without their school lunches. According to NBC News, more than 20 million students nationwide benefit from programs that provide free or reduced meals in schools. That’s a lot of potential for kids not having access to meals.
Donate to a Local Food Pantry – money or food. Check to see which would be more helpful for them.
Donate Blood – the virus is not spread via blood and there may be a shortage without donations
I have NO idea. But, here on the blog + on Instagram, business as usual – while remaining sensitive to the struggles and health and safety of all of us. I still want to create content that helps you, makes you feel a little less alone, and entertains you.