The times are, indeed, strange. In the face of collective uncertainty regarding the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, there are ways to practice self-care, even as communities across the globe — including Ohio and Kentucky — have enacted necessary social distancing measures.
We're social creatures. The news cycle can feel as stressful as ever. I get it — though needed, it can prove to be difficult to be mindful of our own well-being.
If you or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, anxiety, depression or feel like you want to harm yourself/others, call 911 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
According to the CDC, stress during an outbreak, such as the current novel coronavirus, can include fear or worry about one's health or the health of others; a change in sleeping or eating patterns; difficultly concentrating or sleeping; worsening of chronic health problems; and increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
Those with preexisting mental health conditions should continue their treatment and stay aware of new or worsening symptoms. You can also ask your therapist if they would be able to hold telemedicine sessions.
"Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress," the CDC's website reads. "Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger."
Below are some tips on ways to take care of yourself from home:
- Take breaks as needed from social media and the news.
- Know the facts of the virus so you won't be fooled by rumors. Remember: Though serious, COVID-19 is temporary. Things will reach normalcy with time.
- Exercise. Try yoga — I have used Yoga With Adriene for years on Youtube, but there are many similar channels! Cincinnati's own DANCEFIX is also hosting live streams of workouts. Member of a gym? Many, including Planet Fitness and LA Fitness, are offering free online workouts
- Take a walk in your neighborhood to ease your mind. Or, visit one of Cincy's parks for a change in scenery. As long as you keep a six-foot distance from other visitors, as recommended, you're free to embrace what nature has to offer.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and get plenty of sleep.
- FacetTime/call/text your loved ones.
- Miss movie nights with pals? Google Chrome's Netflix Party extension will let you chat with friends anywhere remotely.
- Keep yourself occupied. Here's a digital list of things to do in Cincinnati as we practice social distancing.
- For those who function best with a set schedule, create a routine for yourself. Plan/finish projects or set aside time to try a new hobby. At the same time, remember: There's no set "productivity" for this. We're living during a pandemic; it's OK to chill.
- Hang out with your pets, truly the best stress relievers out there. Here are 20 adoptable Cincinnati pups if you're considering adopting/fostering.
- Let yourself feel — it's OK to be angry, frustrated and all of the above in healthy measures.
- Keep a journal to chronicle your thoughts and maybe even what you're watching/reading/experiencing during this time.
- Be kind to those around you. Picking up groceries? Be considerate of others' needs (aka don't hoard necessary items) and be patient with staff members.