Feeling fearful, uncertain, anxious, or even downright scared about coronavirus? It’s OK if you are.
COVID-19, the disease caused by this new coronavirus, has the world and its markets in a frenzy.
It’s normal to feel anxious and uncertain about your health and safety, and your family’s and community’s well-being.
And it may seem like every day it’s raining buckets of bad news…
But here’s some good news: you can do a lot more than you think to stay healthy and calm during this crisis.
You don’t need to live in fear, nor should you.
Panic tends to cause more panic. You can rise above that right now, by getting prepared, practicing calm, doing your best to stay healthy and active, and going on with your life.
Here are some actionable tips you can use today, this very hour, to get your house in order.
1. Take a break from social media and news
Yes, it’s important to stay informed, especially during a time of crisis.
But your daily media diet is likely causing you unnecessary stress and stoking fears.
The spread of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and what we know about the virus is constantly changing.
You’re likely getting bombarded on all sides with information and misinformation.
Put the brakes on for a little while. Stop checking Facebook, Twitter, and news media all the time. Information overload can quickly cause panic.
Stay informed and in control by checking trusted primary sources of information, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and your local health department for regional information. Give everything else a time-out.
2. Get good sleep every night.
Sleep is essential to the health of your immune system. Studies show that a lack of quality sleep increases your chances of getting sick.
How much sleep is good sleep?
Research suggests 7-8 hours a night is best. Good rest not only helps your immune system stay strong, but also helps you stay focused, calm, and energetic throughout the day.
If you suffer from back pain and have a hard time sleeping, try one of these 5 sleeping positions for back pain.
And if you struggle to fall and stay asleep, consider taking an herbal supplement that supports a healthy sleep cycle. We recommend Sleepzyme, made with herbal ingredients that don’t leave lingering effects like grogginess.
3. Rinse, wash, repeat
I know, I know… by now you’ve heard everyone and their mother tell you to wash your hands…
But it’s so important!
The best prevention method you have at your disposal is to wash your hands.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you use the bathroom, visit public places, or touch commonly used surfaces.
Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks, they release tiny droplets that contain the virus. Those droplets travel about a meter in distance after leaving the mouth.
Those droplets can also land on surfaces. We don’t yet know how long the virus can remain on surfaces. So, clean your counters, phones, steering wheel, bathroom, and other commonly used surfaces with a disinfectant such as Lysol.
Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, and mouth, as touching contaminated surfaces can spread the virus to yourself.
And it goes without saying… if you have any respiratory symptoms or a fever, immediately go to your doctor as soon as possible.
4. Eat well to boost your immune system
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help boost your body’s immune system and reduce and mental stress.
Now’s a good time to get your diet and health in order.
Reduce your consumption of processed foods. They increase inflammation in your body and can decrease your body’s immune system response.
Increase your body’s defense by adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Some examples are blueberries, leafy green vegetables, coconut oil, and wild-caught salmon. Learn more in this list of 12 anti-inflammatory foods for more ideas.
If you need help putting together delicious meals, you might want to check out our 7-day anti-inflammatory meal plan. It’s loaded with incredible recipes and a foolproof grocery list
If you’re not already nourishing your body with vitamins through nutrient-rich foods or supplements, now is a good time to start. Here are a few vitamins that help your immune system response
Vitamin C helps support your body’s normal immune function. Your body uses Vitamin C to launch its immune system response, but it doesn’t naturally produce or store the nutrient. Foods like broccoli, cantaloupe and kiwis are rich in vitamin C. You can also take a daily supplement to maintain healthy levels.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps your immune system fight off infection. Several foods contain vitamin E, including almonds, spinach and avocados.
Vitamin B6 also helps your immune system to function normally. You can get it from foods like poultry, fish, bananas, and chickpeas, or by taking it as a daily supplement.
Be advised, there’s no evidence that taking these vitamins will shield you from COVID-19 or help your body fight off the disease. However, they will help your overall immune system function normally, and as such, you should consider taking them year-round.
5. Find your center
Now is a vital time to find your center.
It’s understandable to view the current situation and feel anxious and afraid. But chronic fear has serious consequences.
Studies show that chronic fear actually damages your immune system, and harms both your overall physical and mental health.
To remedy feelings of fear and anxiety, pray, meditate, reflect, or practice moments of calm — whatever fits your beliefs or faith.
Try to take at least 30 minutes (an hour is best) to be still, quiet, and calm.
If you’re a person of faith, ask for peace, serenity, and strength in prayer. Pray for your community and for those affected around the world.
If you meditate and feel anxious, be still and sit with any fear or anxiety you may have. Don’t try to force your unease away. Sit with it and be still. This may sound counterintuitive, but it actually helps to strengthen your mind against worry, fear, and doubt.
If you don’t have time for that, put calming music on as you go about your morning activities, your daily commute, or meal preparations.
These spiritual activities can have a profound impact on your body’s well-being and healing powers. Check out this article for more mind-body techniques.
6. Be prepared
By staying prepared, I’m not saying you should rush out like it’s the zombie apocalypse and buy everything in the grocery store…
But to quell some of your anxiety, you should take steps now to stock up and prepare for changes and hiccups that may occur in your everyday life.
It’s a good rule of thumb to always keep at least a 30-day supply of food, toiletries, and cleaning essentials in your home.
Plan ahead of time for things like school or store closures, event cancelations, and changes in your work environment.
Ask your employer about work-from-home options.
Call your pharmacist and ask for a few months of your prescriptions filled, if you take medications.
Stay up to date on whether or not the virus is in your region. Do a quick Google search for “local health department” and sign up for their updates.
Do what you can to stay prepared ahead of time, without disrupting others, to remain in control of your life.
And remember, it’s always time to prepare.
You shouldn’t wait until the media stirs up a frenzy or wait until a looming pandemic or natural disaster to get your house in order.
Gather supplies and have a plan of action should things really take a turn.
7. Continue with your life, but use caution
It goes without saying, use common sense and responsibility here.
If you’re healthy continue with your everyday life, unless local authorities have issued an advisory to remain indoors or abstain from public events or activities.
It’s your responsibility to do what you can to prevent transmission of the virus. If you’re showing symptoms of illness or are sick, seek medical attention right away. Don’t go out into public, because you could spread the disease.
Ultimately, don’t let fear and panic steer the course of your life during these troubling times.
We’ve weathered storms before, and this too will pass.
Stay calm, stay healthy, and stay the course.