Building resilience during the Coronavirus Pandemic
This post is about exploring what more you can do, in addition to what CDC and governments are recommending: washing your hands, social distancing and staying home. These are essential, and they’ll work. But can you do something more to protect and help yourself, your family and your community?
What else can you do? You can build resilience with preparation, prevention and recovery, by keeping a strong immunity and a strong community.
Immunity – This is about what you can do to keep a strong immune system, so that if you get sick, maybe you’ll be less sick or recover more quickly. Some of the people at risk tend to be older, maybe they have diabetes, lung disease, cancer or a compromised immune system. Being younger won’t matter much if you are sleep-deprived, careless about your health and not respecting social distancing. Now is the time to take your, your family and your friends’ health (and life) seriously.
If you are young and believe you have a strong immune system, does it mean that you’re immune to Covid-19? No, it means that you might be doing a bit better than some other people (no guarantee here), AND it’s your responsibility not to pass it on. The difference will be life or death in less than a month for someone you love.
What can you do now? Focus on building your and your loved ones immune system with simple strategies. It’s not going to be perfect, but every little step you take matters and adds up. Does it make you immune to Covid-19? No. Can it help? Yes. Here are a few suggestions:
- Get enough sleep: aim for at least 7-8 hours a night; teens and children need more. If you’ve been trying to fit more into your days by sleeping less, it’s time to consider the cost on your health and immune system. Take a nap; make it part of your daily routine with your kids.
- Go outdoors in fresh air and sunlight: social distancing doesn’t mean staying in. Go outside to your yard or balcony. Play with your kids; skip; it’ll lighten up your whole day. If you choose to go for a walk, take a stroll in your neighborhood or at the local park. Say hi from afar; smile: keeping your distance doesn’t mean ignoring people. If you can’t be more active, take out a chair, winter clothing, blanket and read in sunlight. It’s all easy and readily available, and it will help build your and your kids immune system.
- Eat healthy. This is the time to build health. What you eat provides the raw materials to build your immune system: focus on fruits, vegetables, eggs, beans, fish, grains, nuts. Limit sugar, soda, snack foods and alcohol. Time at home is a great opportunity to make your and your family eating habits a top priority.
- Make being at home an adventure. Try cooking something new with the ingredients you have on hand. Find a new recipe. Substitute ingredients and be creative. Involve the kids. Cook together and eat together. Have a theme meal. What would Snow White or Darth Vader like to eat? If you were born in 1820 or 2120, what would you be eating? Or choose a cultural theme, and set the table accordingly. And how about dressing up the part?
- Plan and make each day a good day. What do you have the opportunity to do now? You have a lot more control over how you schedule your days; you can build your own schedule with some time for work or study, play, chores, individual quiet time, time for fresh air and a walk, screen time and sleep time. Your days will feel a lot better.
- Limit screen time: you need to stay informed, but being obsessed with news won’t help. Instead, connect with people with a call, text, FaceTime, email, to support one another despite social distancing. It works.
- Your family needs (you) to be calm, not in panic mode, which will make everyone stressed. Stress is contagious; so if your kids act up, maybe you need to check yourself and take a moment to calm down… Or maybe the kids need to blow some steam? Play time. Maybe they need quiet time and no screen? Get out the paper and crayons, or have an older kid read to the younger ones (even if it’s “pretend” read).
If you want your community to be there for you later, you need to be there for them now. The shops and services in your local community might not recover from social distancing: your hairdresser, your house cleaner, your babysitter, the little spa where you get a massage or your nails done, your dry cleaner, the small cafés and restaurants, your dance studio and your small local gym all rely on you to keep them afloat. They have no revenue right now, and they need your help and commitment. If you’re one of the very lucky families who can work from home and get paid your full salary, think of the small businesses that support families.
What can you do now? Focus on keeping your local community alive and well, starting today, with the following simple strategies:
- Use peer pressure. There are still some people who pretend it’s not happening, or that you can just get it and get it over with, or that this is a conspiracy. Or simply, they are choosing to be oblivious. Blindness doesn’t make facts disappear, please use your courage and stand up for yourself and your loved ones. If someone is willing to take risks with their lives, they are willfully exposing everyone they know.
- Register and pay right now for the classes you’ll take later. If you want your favorite local dance teacher or studio to stay in business, contact them and ask how you can help so they stay afloat. Reserve and pay right away for the services you’ll need later. Feeling supported will mean so much, and will help them push ahead and be there for you.
- Pay ahead for the services you’ll be using later. Whether a haircut or a massage, if you want your favorite services to be there for you later, you need to support them now.
- Buy a gift card (to be used when the crisis is over): for a dance session or class, for a massage or spa treatment, for a haircut, or for a great meal at your local restaurant
- Buy more gift cards as birthday gifts for family and friends – to be used later.
- Offer your help to shop for food or essentials, preferably online and to be delivered to your or their doorstep. Your neighbors may be overwhelmed; build care.
- Stay in touch virtually with family and friends, by phone, text, FaceTime & email. Be supportive of your own family; they are your first and closest community, and as a parent or member of your family, your attitude and what you choose to do impacts everyone. But now is not the time for family gatherings.
- Celebrate Easter virtually this year. How will you make this a fun, special celebration to be remembered? Maybe a FaceTime or Skype virtual dinner with extended family or friends? Now is time to use our virtual convenience for real!
- Start planning for “after”. What personal and family projects do you want to plan for later, when you no longer need to keep social distancing? Planning for the future after a crisis brings hope, as this too shall pass.
We can’t ignore the Coronavirus pandemic. But this doesn’t mean that we have to wait and see and do nothing. What can you do to build your and your family immune system? How will you support the health and recovery of your local community? Your choices right now matter. I’s love to hear about what are you doing differently now, and about what you appreciate more… I wish you and your family my very best. Be safe.