You’ve heard it for over a week: Wash your hands. Wash your hands before you leave places, when you arrive at the next place, and after touching someone. This is, of course, in addition to washing your hands after going to the bathroom and before you eat. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, then you should use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. It’s old news by now.
Since the days of (1) wash your hands and (2) don’t touch your face, we’ve learned of other ways to reduce transmission of the coronavirus. We are currently in the midst of a recommended (not required) social isolation. It’s recommended that people not gather together in groups of fifty or more. If you think you’ve been exposed to the virus, you should self-quarantine. Blah, blah, blah. We’re only on day three, and if you’re like me, you’re probably beginning to think that Jack Torrence in The Shining (Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie) wasn’t really all that crazy. If nothing else, you can at least understand him better now.
What does it mean to be socially isolated? It means to stay away from people, to keep at least six feet between you and anyone who doesn’t live in your home. It doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all the time. It doesn’t mean not going places you may need to go. It means to spend most of your time on your own turf. It means to walk in places that aren’t heavily populated. You can take a walk with your dog in your neighborhood. You can even take a walk on the beach. In fact, exercise and sunshine help boost the immune system.
You can go to the store, and you don’t need to personally boost Charmin’s CEO’s yearly bonus. You don’t need to horde everything to the detriment of others who also need those same groceries and hygiene items. Just, when you go, pick times that are slower. Sunday after church time isn’t that time. Neither is senior citizen day – unless you’re a senior.
If we act wisely, we’ll be on the other side of this curve soon. Unfortunately, we’re just on the upward climb, so we’ve got a few or several more weeks of being isolated and inconvenienced. We have weeks more of anxiety and uncertainty, particularly with the rapid declines in the stock market. It has been said, “Keep your head when everyone else is losing theirs.” Those who keep their heads will have the better chance of survival.
How does that happen? Anxiety and worry flood the body with neurotransmitters that compromise the immune system. It’s so hard to keep our heads during trying times like this, but we can if we try. My secret weapon? Mindfulness practice. Mindfulness practice allows the brain to take a rest for a little bit, better enabling it to deal with crisis situations.
To learn more about mindfulness, click here. You can scroll down about a quarter of the way down the page to get steps for mindfulness meditation, but the areas before that and the video provide some excellent and fascinating information on the effects of mindfulness on the brain.
If you need soap for all that handwashing, click here. And don’t forget to pick up some moisturizer to combat the inevitable dry skin.
Stay safe and stay well.