Plus, Self-Care & Hygiene Tips
C.S. Sherin, 16 March 2020, updated 12 August 2020
The 5th Annual Climate Action Festival that was scheduled for next week, March 28th, in La Crosse, has been postponed due to the pandemic. I will let you know when a new date is announced.
Self-Care And Support
As we in the USA begin to experience something that has never happened in most of our lifetimes, it is normal to feel fear and greater levels of stress. For many, stops on income and the ability to pay bills, and an inability for many to access needed healthcare are all significant, and can’t be ignored. Many Americans already have to choose between their health and working, without the stress of a pandemic. In addition, as things progress, those in roles of caregiving, and medical care professionals may become overtaxed and sick as well.
With poor leadership in place at the national level, it is easy to fall into panic and serious stress levels that affect our health adversely.
It is normal to feel some fear right now. This isn’t normal.
Yet, we can depend on strong community support, and healthier regional and local leadership to support and help us collectively right now. And, we can practice gentle self-care for ourselves, and compassion for others.
My hope is that without a way to make money, bills like utilities and rent/mortgage can also be suspended while quarantines are in effect. And, hopefully, as people talk about the necessity for a wartime mentality, we understand that this means we are all in this together, and that we must show compassion and take radical positive action for all in need. The sooner we take radical precautions, like quarantine, the better the outcome can hopefully be for all of us.
It is essential that we put ongoing self-care and good hygiene into practice for ourselves right now. At the same time, we can encourage effective self-care and hygiene strategies for our loved ones, friends, and clients/customers—while sharing reliable resources. To do this, we must provide accurate, science-based information.
Reliable, Accurate Sources for the Covid-19 pandemic:
- THE CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
- THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- SCIENCE MAG IS COMPILING LATEST NEWS AND RESEARCH https://www.sciencemag.org/tags/coronavirus
- CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE CENTER: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center
- YALE PUBLIC HEALTH: https://publichealth.yale.edu/news-article/23205/
Practical, Mental Health, and Grief Support
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN.org)Download
Keep in mind that some teens, who already have many pressures to deal with, now have school and extracurricular activities (sports, arts, humanities) and social events cancelled. They will be dealing with difficult emotions and grief. And, for all experiencing mental health issues, like anxiety, grief, and depression, please refer to the following resources for support:
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline:
1-800-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- Crisis Text Line:
text CONNECT to 741741
- Coping with Grief and Loss (HelpGuide.org)
- Also see this list of resources for crisis, support, and more
from the CDC website
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, after blowing your nose, and whenever you have come in contact with surfaces and people. Scrub your hands with soap lather for 20 seconds before rinsing. Go to CDC for complete, important hand washing instructions
- Clean surfaces regularly with soap and water and then disinfect. Remember to clean often-used items like: phone, keys, credit card, glasses, laptop, and handles/door knobs, faucets, toilet, table, desk.
- Disinfect: 4 teaspoons of bleach to 1 quart of water OR 70% alcohol to 30% water
- Don’t touch your face.
- Stay at a distance from those who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze in a tissue or in your elbow.
- Wear a face mask in public if you are sick.
- Practice social distancing, and wear a face mask outside when social distancing can’t be avoided.
- Wear a face mask indoors in public places, and practice social distancing.
Ongoing stress can wear on the immune system. Aggravated emotions that aren’t tended to can as well. It is ever so important for all of us to be gentle with ourselves, and to put into practice the things we know will help us to be more centered, peaceful, and healthy. If we don’t know what those things are yet, now is the time to find out.
- Get enough sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, try turning off the phone and social media a couple hours before bed. Take a bath or shower, listen to relaxing music or something funny, and stay on a regular sleep schedule.
- Eat healthy. It may be tempting to stress eat, but what our bodies need during times of stress are healthy foods that provide the needed vitamins and minerals to deal with stress.
- Drink enough water and other healthy liquids like herbal tea, juice, smoothies. Avoid eating a lot of refined sugars as they can run the immune system down. (WebMD recommends: brightly colored fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C, beta carotene, and zinc. For example: button mushrooms, elderberry, garlic, watermelon, spinach, broccoli, and sweet potato.)
- Avoid recreational drugs, smoking, and too much alcohol. A glass of wine may relieve some stress, and is harmless for most people. However, using drugs or alcohol and smoking as a main approach for dealing with stress isn’t a good idea. Coping with stress in this way can have adverse effects on your emotions, mental state, overall health and immune system. Drugs and alcohol can also impair our judgment at a time when others may be depending on us to make good decisions.
- Get exercise. Regular and increased cleaning and vacuuming may be enough of a work out. But, if not, I recommend improvised dance parties at home if you can’t get out to the gym–or aren’t a gym person. Stretching and walks are great too. If you have stairs in your house and can’t get out, consider using them to get some cardio exercise in–if you are coordinated enough to run or walk the steps safely. Remember: movement, stretching and exercise can shift our state of mind, and invigorate our bodies and immune system.
- Talk about your feelings. Holding in or holding back feelings will only make them worse, and affect the body in a lot of cases. Accepting and naming what we are feeling is healthy, and helps the feelings to shift into acceptance, planning, and needed action. If you don’t have anyone to talk to consider writing in a journal, drawing, or singing. Or, watch an emotional movie that can help to draw out your deeper emotions, so they can be fully felt and processed. If you are experiencing significant distress, and think you may need more professional support, please refer to the helpline and crisis text line (above).
- Do things that relax and comfort you. For me, this may mean any of the following: watching favorite movies and/or comedians, taking an Epsom salt bath, stretching, breath exercises, healing visualizations, drawing, writing, meditating, burning healing incense, cuddling with loved ones and animal companions, talking with a friend, getting outside for a walk, biking, hiking, baking, making soup, or making a cup of cacao. What is relaxing and comforting to you?
- Go slow and take time to process new information, feelings, and stress. Take short breaks to rest and breathe away tension. Those short breaks, even just two minutes, can make a big difference. When we are under stress and lacking sleep, if we try to push through and go fast, we are more likely to make mistakes, become forgetful, and cause accidents. Take the time you need to adjust and re-center. Go slow.
- Cut down on, and eliminate unnecessary amounts of time with social media and news. Social media can have positive aspects, but in times like this, there is so much misinformation and negativity that it can cause more mental health problems than it helps. Same with the news. Most news can be checked once a day, and that is enough. If we are extremely stressed it can be most beneficial to fast from news until we are more rested and well.
Stay safe out there!
All my best,