These are scary days. The Coronavirus is causing uncertainty and stress. Social distancing is causing social isolation, loneliness and a feeling of helplessness. The time frame for how long this will last is unknown. The elderly are at greatest risk of severe illness.
What can we do?
Wash our hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. It is a good idea to sing while washing to make sure of the 20 second time requirement and singing can lift spirits.
Don’t touch our faces. This is difficult to do because we do it without thinking out of habit. This is where mindfulness of where we are in the present moment helps. Be aware of our bodies in time and space. This also decreases our tendency to worry about the past and be anxious about the future.
Social distancing means to stand at least 6 feet from the next person. The virus can only travel 5 feet. This is also difficult in a society where we like to shake hands and hug others. Again trying to stay in the moment and not get lost in old habits will help to remember to acknowledge others from a distance with perhaps a smile or a slight bow.
We need to stay home unless there is something urgent we need to do such as food shopping, going to the pharmacy, doctors appointments and things like that. Pets do need to be walked but should be done with social distancing. Gatherings such as church have Facebook streaming of services. There is face time video services with most smart phones so you can experience important social bonding and keep in contact with loved ones, even from a distance.
Remember to eat well and exercise on a regular basis. Exercise in particular can help release stress and is fun. Preparing meals and eating well can bring some normal activities to our households. Other stress relieving activities are mediation or prayer, reading a novel or watching a movie, participating in a hobby that does not require a large group of people, enjoying music.
Remember that this too shall pass, one day at a time, one moment at a time. Reach out to loved ones, friends or neighbors for just a chat on the phone if needed. If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 911. There is also the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)
Other information is available at the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications/older-adults.html.