By now, you are well aware of what the coronavirus (COVID-19) is and the havoc it is wreaking on the world. Italy is canceling everything from weddings to funerals, travel to Southeast Asia is practically impossible, and President Trump just issued a travel ban for non-citizens trying to enter the United States from European countries. While the CDC is urging everyone to stay cool, calm, and collected, public panic does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Stores are running out of toilet paper, people are self-quarantining, and schools are beginning to shut down.
As a whole, we are an anxious mess.
I get it — it's scary to think about a pandemic and what it can easily become. It's also easy to cling on to public panic and theorize the end of the world. But that won't solve anything. Instead, use this time to be productive, positive, and panic-free!
1. Only listen to the CDC
There is a lot of information being thrown in your direction because everyone has something to say about this virus. In order to keep your sanity in check, you can't go listening to every claim made about your health. Stick to the CDC and the updates they put out — this is their job, after all.
2. Deep clean your house
Many of us are spending more time in our homes than we usually do. Whether you're working from home, self-quarantining, or just avoiding social gatherings, it's probable that you're becoming one with the couch. One thing that may help you feel better about everything is a nice, deep clean of your house. Not only will that give you a productive little project to embark on, but it'll squash any lingering germs you're afraid are hiding out. It's just a good idea.
3. Bake a new treat
Yes, you could re-start "Gilmore Girls" from the comfort of your bed (again), or you could bake a new treat as you watch Rory apply for Harvard! There's no better time to hone in on your chocolate chip cookie skills than when you're stuck at home eating chicken soup for the hundredth time.
4. Call your mom
Yes, call Momma and tell her hello. She'll love to hear your voice and chatting with the woman who raised you may calm your nerves as well. Or hey, if mom isn't that person for you, call someone who is. Chatting with the people you love most has the ability to bring you back to reality and ground you from those anxious tendencies.
5. Order a new book
Thank goodness, Amazon prime is still alive and well. This means you don't even have to trek to the library (though in times we aren't quarantined, we fully support public libraries) and you can get a new read delivered right to your door. Our editors recommend "The Woman in the Window," "The Silent Patient," "Sapiens," "Small Great Things," and "Small Fires Everywhere."
6. Take up meditation
You don't need a meditation studio to bring that calming into your day. There are plenty of apps and opportunities to practice meditation in your own home! Set aside a little corner of your room (with a pillow and a candle, if you're into the ambiance) and take some time to sit through it, "it" being whatever anxious thoughts this virus is bringing to you.
7. Practice healthy travel habits
While yes, there are travel bans and flight cancelations, there is no need for you to completely cancel all your planes unless you are directly told to do so. If you're traveling from a U.S. city to another U.S. city, you are in the clear unless the airline makes the call to cancel. Most airlines have provided COVID-19 alerts and more flexibility to cancel/reschedule your flight if you are not comfortable keeping your travel plane.
All in all, wash your hands, bring Clorox wipes with you for the plane, and make sure you're practicing good hygiene. Your trip doesn't need to be canceled just yet!
8. Get OFF social media
Social media is full of coronavirus rumors, memes, and general hysteria. If you are easily triggered by the anxieties of others, staying off social media is the best plan for you to stay focused on reality (and avoid spiraling into worse-case-scenarios). Pick up that book, sit on your meditation pillow, or press play on that next episode — Twitter will still be here when this whole thing is over.
9. Support your local businesses
As many of us have noticed, large grocery stores are doing just fine (and running out of toilet paper) but small businesses are suffering. Chinatowns across the world are seeing huge hits in sales, and small businesses as a whole are struggling as people are scared to leave their homes. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Hit up your local bakery, wine store, and bodega — keeping a community feel is crucial in times of fear.
10. Wash your hands
Come on, y'all. Pick your favorite 20-second tune and start washing, it's time to practice the hygiene we should have practiced all along.
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