The past week in Nashville, Tennessee and throughout the world has been filled with fearful moments, and I've had a lot of opportunity to grapple with my fear in a very overt way. Tornadoes, heavy storms, and a global virus scare can really get your mind going, ya know?
As I write, the boys haven't been in school since Thursday and Costco might still be out of toilet paper. I can't stop reading the news (which, if you know me, you know I don't read the news). Facebook has gotten too much for me. When I go out, I look at people suspiciously. "Did you wash your hands?".... "Did you wash your
hands?" .... "Please go wash your hand." These are my thoughts as we walk by strangers.
The threat of getting sick makes me stop. I have two autoimmune diseases, and while I think I would fair ok if I did get the virus, I stop to think about myself with underlying autoimmune conditions, and my parents, who both have heart conditions. I don't think I am being dramatic in my thoughts, or actions. I haven't joined the toilet paper panic (which by the way, no worries if you did... I have a thought on this below, and you can always use toilet paper).
Over the past week, two very real, uncontrollable threats have gotten me to think about fear in a new way. People all around me could get sick AND my house could get blown over. I have a feeling you are experiencing something similar in your world.
We have every right to fear the unknown. In fact, it's human nature. It's human nature to take something like the coronavirus and fear it immensely. I mean, the only way to protect ourselves is to not touch things and wash our hands, and freak out about it. This feels like very minimal protection. It makes sense that we would feel out of control.
Tornadoes do the same thing. We have no control over a giant storm blowing our homes over. Any natural disaster causes a reaction like this. We have no control. And, feeling out of control leads to fear. When we are afraid, we start to behave in whatever way we can to protect ourselves. Like, buy copious amounts of toilet paper.
(Thought on the toilet paper mass purchasing- When everyone around you is mass purchasing an everyday item with the threat of an uncontrollable thing coming... you start to think maybe you need copious amounts of the item too. You don't think about the fact that a two week supply might not be as much as you are actually purchasing. You just know you don't want to be without. And THAT makes it easy to jump on the bandwagon.)
But the problem with fear is that it leads to worry. Worry leads to stress. Stress leads to an internal physical reaction in our bodies. Stress leads to low immunity. And things keep going downhill from there.
What do we do with this fear? How do we ride the wave without falling? How do we know we over reacting or under reacting?
Here's 10 things I recommend, specifically regarding the Coronavirus:
1.) Set times during your day, preferably not just after you wake up and not an hour before bed to read or watch the news. Check the news three times a day if you can, and then let it go. If there is a mass announcement, you will find out somehow or another. The school system will call, or a family member will call.
2.) Be prepared, but don't get sucked into mass purchasing. Try to get yourself a stock of items to get you through a few weeks. I recommend vegetable broth, rice, beans and some frozen fruit and veggies. Frozen meat isn't a bad idea either. At this point our water, gas and electricity supply doesn't sound like it is going to be effected, so whatever water we use and the ways we cook our food- we are good. And, if you have Prime or Whole Foods Prime Now and they are still delivering, use them (as long as the prices seem fair).
3.) Set boundaries with social media if the memes and articles are getting to you. If you are finding that your feed is causing you to feel anxious, take a social media break completely or just check in a couple times of day.
4.) Set boundaries with people if you are over the conversation. Change the subject, or say something to the effect of: "Let's talk about something else, this conversation isn't good for my health."
5.) Tune back into you. Write in your journal, take candlelit baths (or showers), drink tea, listen to music, do some yoga at home, meditate, read a good book instead of getting on your phone or computer or the news stations.
6.) Do things for your body you can control. If you doctor recommends supplements- take them. Get good sleep. Cut back on coffee and sugar if you can. Set boundaries with the stuff that stresses you out. Settle your para-sympathetic system. Carry hand sanitizer if it is available. Do all the things the CDC is recommending.
7.) Give yourself a break. This stuff is real. And it's scary. It's easy to get trapped into fear.
8.) Make intuitive and educated decisions, specifically regarding crowds and being around people. We are people in movement these days. It's a big ask to halt all that you do unless the government says we have to. Make decisions based on what you know and also what you know about your own body.
9.) Recognize when you are experiencing fear and honor that feeling. I mean... it's scary times right now. Fear is a normal reaction.
10.) Find ways to not isolate yourself. Community is a good thing right now. Even if you have to be creative and meet your community online. Connection is needed in fearful times.
I am here with you in love and in community.
With love and abundance,