COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) has impacted our communities, changing our lifestyles in ways many of us have never seen before. Between school and work closures, social distancing, and the uncertainty of living in a pandemic, we can all end up feeling vulnerable, stressed, or overwhelmed. 

In times such as these, it’s important we try and maintain our physical safety as well as our mental health. Fortunately, experts worldwide are doing what they can to help us through this crisis, and have provided resources we can use to help sustain us in our new day-to-day.

Avoiding Misinformation

According to the CDC, this strain of coronavirus is relatively new, and is related to SARS and other respiratory illnesses. 

Despite common claims, this virus is deadlier than the normal flu. While this is not a cause to panic, it does mean that the disease should be taken more seriously than the usual sniffles and coughs we suffer through every winter. 

Also, no cure yet exists for COVID-19, despite social media claims that gargling salt water, breathing from a hair dryer, or, even worse, drinking bleach and snorting cocaine, will cure the disease. If you are in doubt on whether a treatment will help against the virus, you should contact your certified health professional to determine its safety and efficacy. 

All of this, combined with the contagious nature of COVID-19 (a person can infect others for days before showing symptoms, and remains infectious throughout the course of the disease) means that one of the most effective tools we have for slowing the virus is social distancing.

Handling Social Distance

To practice good social distancing, it is recommended that we avoid contact with others outside of our household as much as we can, whether on the street or in the store, and especially steer clear of any large gatherings. Such isolation can, however, poorly affect our mental health. Fortunately, there is much we can do to help mitigate the effects.

Recommended practices include maintaining a normal routine, using technology to connect with friends and loved ones, and limiting the amount of exposure we have to the news. While it is useful to stay informed, obsessing over the news can be counterproductive and harmful to our health. 

We can also continue to practice normal, healthy behaviors such as exercise, regular sleep, meditation, as well as personal activities such as reading and indoor hobbies. 

Though there is much that is changing in our world right now, it is still possible for us to stay safe, stay healthy, and maintain control over the shape of our lives.