Like many of you, I'm obviously worried about COVID-19 making it's way around the globe. It makes total sense to feel worried what with the over abundance of media coverage and our general lack of experience and understanding dealing with such a thing. To be completely truthful, I have a tendency to be a hypochondriac, so my mind can easily run into dark places wondering about the "maybes" and "what ifs?" Trust me, you don't want to be nearby if I need my blood pressure taken! The fact is, we can't control what's outside our circle of influence, which right now means just about everything to do with COVID-19, including it's short, medium and long-term impact. I strongly believe that fear and unnecessary worry will make things worse, which personally isn't an example I want to set for my children; that's why this week's focus is about remaining calm and being prepared. We can personally control our readiness and ability to follow the guidelines of US and State officials by practicing proper “social distancing.” In order to do that, it's obviously very important to stay informed, take precautions, and be prepared; but it's equally important to take care of ourselves as individuals. What are you doing for self-care during this challenging time? If like me you're prone to negativity and fear, hopefully you're able to disconnect altogether for a few hours and replace these emotions with a healthy distraction. My first area of focus was to collect the facts, which includes doing my best to differentiate between fact and fiction. By proactively seeking out reputable sources of information, such as the CDC and WHO, while also steering clear of opinion pieces and partizan agendas, I've been able to gather what I need to make the best choices for myself and my family. I think it's extremely important to not go out there and try to read every single article; at some point they start to contradict each other, so for me it was really important to pick and choose in order to prevent burnout. The next thing I did was to gather supplies. Let me be clear, this did NOT mean buying up every single toilet roll and bottle of hand sanitizer at the local CVS, but instead meant adding a few extras into my shopping cart at each visit; instead of one box of pasta, I picked up three, instead of only fresh vegetables, I also added a couple of bags of frozen vegetables. With a family of five, plus my mom, we definitely eat a lot, so having a few extra days of food should we need to self-quarantine seems totally reasonable and falls more on the side of preparedness than panic. In addition, I've also purchased some extra games and art supplies to ensure we have ample activities to do at home with the boys, including an indoor soccer goal, water beads, family board games, puzzles, coloring books, paints and stickers. I've also downloaded the AllTrails app to find local hikes, created a toddler actives board on Pinterest to keep Daniel happy, and picked up a few extra dumbbells for my own personal workouts.
As for going out, the good news is I'm currently not working, which means no traveling or daily commuting into the city. We're still going out, but we've limited our excursions to essential shopping and open-air activities like soccer fields and hiking trails. When we're out and about, I'm paying extra attention to my surrounding area, avoiding crowds and large groups, washing my hands before I leave and enter the house, as well as keeping wipes in my purse to clean off high-traffic surfaces like shopping carts and gas pumps. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on any Purell so I'm still on the hunt for that. Also, in order to keep me grounded, I've committed to a workout and at least 30 minutes of fresh air each day.
Most importantly, I'm remaining calm and focusing on keeping my mind and body busy in order to free myself of negativity and fear. It's very easy to think the worst and allow your mind to worry, but what takes strength and courage is to rise above in order to choose happiness and calm. Like our parents used to say when were kids, "you get what you get and you can’t get upset."
Bottom line, we are all in this together and we need to remain calm and stay positive. If you find yourself heading down a path paved in fear and worry, try to quickly refocus and center yourself. Take a couple of slow cleansing breaths and look for ways to use that negative energy for good. Trust me, in the long run this will all pass and hopefully we can look back and remember the precious family memories we've made during this challenging time.