During this time of the great pandemic, safety is paramount. And so is our sanity.
It’s already July, and the world is still struggling with the coronavirus (COVID-19). As of this writing, there are already 10.8 million cases around the world, with over 500,000 deaths, and only less than 6,000 recovered patients. To this day, there is still no cure or vaccine, although currently over a hundred vaccines are being developed. Nineteen of those vaccines are now in the human trial phase. For more than half a year now, the pandemic has greatly affected not only the world’s economy. A large number of big businesses have shut down, the transportation industry is losing billions due to travel bans, and governments around the world are desperately trying to fight an enemy they cannot see. But the greatest damage is felt by millions of ordinary citizens who have lost their jobs, their economic security, their normal routines, and to many who have lost their loved ones, life will never be the same again. For all of us, the primary goal is to stay safe and to survive. Staying safe means also that we have to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is the only way to truly survive this great pandemic.
Taking Care of One’s Self and Those Around Us
Taking care of ourselves is the first primary duty. If we take good care of ourselves, we can also take good care of those around us. A healthy household, or a community for that matter, is a great help for those who are in the frontlines. The fewer people infected with the virus, the greater the capacity of our health workers and frontlines to take care of those infected. Of course, the coronavirus is not the only thing we are up against. There is anxiety, depression, and other maladies that we still have to contend with. That is why we should always have a comprehensive approach to taking care of ourselves and those around us. According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are six essential self-care tips we should consider if we want to survive the pandemic.
“Acknowledge the turbulence”
They say that the first thing to arresting a crisis is to recognize that there is one. For Dr. Ben Crocker, MD, “Social distancing and the loss of work and/or routine are tremendous pressures, both physically and psychologically.” And we need to acknowledge that reality. We need to grasp the situation we are in and it’s alright to feel sad about it because, in reality, we are indeed in a dire situation. Dr. Crocker encourages everyone, not just the frontliners, to “allow yourself to physically, mentally, emotionally check out on a regular basis.” Listening to your body and acknowledging how you feel, is as important as any of the following steps. Here are my thoughts based on these tips.
“Fuel your body with healthy food”
A healthy body nourishes also the mind. With the great pandemic affecting our normal routines and our finance, there is a big chance that our daily nutrition intake might also suffer. This is why there is a great need to ensure that our bodies get the appropriate nutrition needed. Anne Thorndike also emphasized the idea of new recipes now that most of us are stuck with our families at home.
“Move your body”
This one you can do together with your family at home. Exercise is essential, and it can also be fun. With the absence of our daily routines such as going to school or work, groceries, playing outdoors, and other pre-COVID physical activities, there is a tendency for us to spend more time lying in bed or binge eating on the couch. This is one thing we must avoid. Just because we are stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t engage in physical exercise and other fun activities. Rearrange your, do errands, do dance or exercise challenges on social media or anything to get your body moving!
With or without Covid19, we really need to get enough rest. This will help our body rest well, and function at its best the following day. Just because there is no school or work, doesn’t mean you have to spend the wee hours of the morning watching TV or playing videogames. Getting eight hours of sleep is essential. Enough said.
“Find ways to connect socially”
This shouldn’t be a problem for many of us. Despite the quarantines and lockdowns, and limited physical interaction, the digital world is providing us platforms to catch up with our friends, colleagues, and the rest of the world even. Take time to engage in meaningful and healthy conversations over Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Zoom, and other platforms. Remember, no man is an island and one way or the other, we need to communicate with others to keep up with the times, and to keep our sanity.
“Find ways to ease the stress”
Stress affects our immune system according to studies. And these days, the world is flooding with anxiety, stress, and depression. If we don’t start thinking positive thoughts, our actions won’t yield positive results either. Again, Dr. Crocker reminds us to stay positive, and one way to stay positive according to him is to practice being grateful.
“Practicing gratitude for what we still have — our health, our families, our homes, food, whatever it may be — rather than rehearsing the daily ‘loss’ of life and routine as we know it, is an important health practice”- Dr. Ben Crocker
An Opportunity to Pursue Personal Happiness
Aside from the things I mentioned above based on Harvard Health Publishing tips, I personally think that this great pandemic is an opportunity for us to pursue personal happiness and goals in life. This is an opportune time, despite the limitations as far as resources or mobility is concerned. I say so because us being stuck at home means we have a lot of time to reflect, plan, and to design a healthier, more functional and self-actualized versions of ourselves. The Pursuit of Personal The Renaissance Experience: Finding Opportunities for Happiness in the Ever-Present Now by Dr.Peter Justus demonstrates that there is more to life than living perfunctorily. Pursuit of personal happiness in Peter’s book meant that we must constantly examine our daily routines as well as revisit our goals in life. We are so consumed with the result that often we fail to appreciate the process, and we fell a certain void or emptiness. For me, this is as essential as keeping a healthy body and keeping ourselves safe from any virus. In this time of anxiety and depression, it is important that each one of us find meaning in our lives, and pursue a much better life than the one we have right now. That to me is taking care of ourselves, and in a way taking care of others. The more that we are self-conscious and focused on our goals, the more we can contribute to our family and society’s well-being.