Practice social distancing.
The single most important thing everyone can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is practice social distancing. By now, you’ve most likely heard about “flattening the curve,” which is the concept of slowing the spread of the virus to decrease number of people getting sick all at once. In doing this, our hospitals and health care systems are able to better recover and not become overwhelmed. (This article by the Washington Post includes an excellent visual simulation that shows how social distancing slows the spread of a virus.) By avoiding public spaces and limiting your movement, you’re decreasing the chance that you will catch the virus, as well as decreasing the opportunity of passing it along to others. Cozy up with your favorite book, work from home if you’re fortunate enough to do so, re-watch your favorite movie or clean out your closet.
Despite what many people think, self-care isn’t all about bubble baths and chocolate. Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” Tap into and take note of your feelings. Those who suffer from anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder may feel an even heavier burden during this time of increased stress. You may want to take a break from the news, or decide to check social media only once every few days. Take an active role in taking care of yourself and paying attention to your triggers. Some healthy self-care activities may include taking a walk, going for a run, riding your bike, calling a reliable friend, or taking some time to observe nature.
It’s smart to be aware and stay informed, but don’t panic. Especially with the increased media exposure, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. If you stay tuned in to the news, make sure you check sources and pay attention to the time stamp of each article. Always take note of the source and stick to reputable news outlets; The New York Times, NPR and The Washington Post are credible news sources that are providing regular updates.
Don’t buy more than you need.
By now, you’ve probably stocked your house with canned goods and toilet paper. If you haven’t yet or if you need to go to the store to purchase additional items, The Department of Homeland Security recommends that having a two-week supply of water and food, and generally staying stocked up on basic health supplies and nonprescription drugs. Panicking and purchasing more than you need, however, isn’t helpful: if you buy six packs of toilet paper, you are taking away supplies from another who may not have any.
Support local organizations
Individuals aren’t the only ones impacted by the coronavirus – businesses are suffering as well. Buy a gift card, preferably online, to your favorite restaurant, nail salon or other local business, and enjoy the gift card at a later date when it’s safe to resume normal daily activities. Nonprofits and vulnerable populations are also seeing a deep impact – some agencies are limiting services to reduce exposure, while others are canceling huge fundraising events. During this time of uncertainty, pick your favorite nonprofit and make a monetary donation. Even if it’s a small contribution, it goes a long way in healing hurting and vulnerable populations. If your nonprofit of choice happens to be Genesis, you can donate here. When we all work together, we know that we can make a difference. At Genesis, we see this on a daily basis when it comes to ending domestic violence, and we are grateful for your invaluable support.
Written by Amy Ridings, director of communications at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support