It’s hard not to feel panic over Coronavirus.
It’s a freaky, anxiety-inducing time for sure.
We are all social distancing, with many of us on our devices more than we usually are – which also means that we are flooding ourselves with more scary stories, only with different twists or slight plot changes.
But I knew I needed to switch gears when I started watching the Handmaid’s Tale again just to take my mind off of Coronavirus. I mean, if the Handmaid’s Tale is what is distracting me here, something is REALLY MESSED UP.
So, I pivoted to think about ways that I could authentically care for myself during Coronavirus.
That is, there are things that I can control here, plans that I can put in place and check. There are ways to connect with others, ways to keep the content and flow of information to me in check and sensible. There are ways that I can soothe myself (and set an example to my kids).
There are distractions that I can engage in that can be joyful, connective and empowering.
This is what I am doing
Using this time to do what we can control adds some relief to the situation. There is a lot in this: both what we can do RIGHT NOW, and what we can do now that is looking into the future.
An Advanced Directive is a plan for future medical care, so that whomever might be stepping in if I got sorely sick would be able to make those hard calls according to my wishes.
I had started my Advanced Directive before, but I hadn’t finished it.
Here’s a link to AARP’s list of free printable directives, by state: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/free-printable-advance-directives/
Will & Testament
My mom gifted me with a LegalZoom (linked here: https://www.legalzoom.com) account last year, and I really love it.
I feel a lot more secure knowing that it’s done.
If I kick the bucket over this, I can go a lot more peacefully knowing that a great plan is in place and my kids are secure.
I’ve been going to Farm School and learning how to farm.
But I haven’t started my own backyard garden, largely because of how expensive it has been to set everything up, and a shortage of time to actually DO IT ALL.
I’m chomping on my annoyance at myself for not already having it ready, but I take comfort in that at least I got most of the fire ants out, and the garden is planned and I know how to do it. Plus, I know which slug killers to buy (my instagram for gardening is @sohappyinhilo, in case you want to follow any of this!)
I took the kids over to get seeds yesterday, here’s a video with my kids:
“Apocalypse” – yeah, thanks
It was cathartic and definitely easing my anxiety over coronavirus to be doing something with my kids that felt so gorgeously, soothingly productive.
Excessive, continuous exposure to the media and news hurts more than helps at this point.
I took a big step back and set up breaks and boundaries for myself: no continuous play on Facebook or wherever, and be better about checking ALL SOURCES for news.
Panic is part of the problem right now, and social media in particular just exacerbates it.
I signed up for Hawaii County text alerts, and that has been great. I know I’ll get alerted with the most important news, and I can set away from social media and the onslaught of TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
Exercise, Yoga & Meditation
I do a BeachBody workout every morning through the BeachBody direct app on Roku. Exercise – even a little bit of it – really helps me stay less anxious. I also do a super short (15 minutes) Yoga session with Yoga Everyday on Gaia.
I have the “breathe” app on my Apple Watch. It helps because it sets up times to remind me to focus on my breathing.
I’m also meditating daily (- my post on how to meditate is linked here).
Since I have Phonak hearing aids now that connect with a bluetooth-enabled compilot, I can listen to meditative podcasts that stream directly through my hearing aids. It’s kind of awesome. I listen to things through Spotify, iTunes and Audible to help with the COVID-19 anxiety, but I also just go outside and sit in silence and breathe.
I like silence a lot.
Which is a good thing, because, you know, I get a lot of it when I take my hearing aids out.
I guess it’s great that I lived in a yurt off the grid that was 2 hours from a major store: I am pretty darn set.
I know how to make almost everything from scratch, and I am in the habit of keeping a stocked kitchen and house. Added to that, I live in Hawai’i, which is not exactly a place that lacks abundance.
I did not, however, have much in the way of vitamin supplements or in cleaning supplies. I stocked up on Vitamin C, Zinc and multi-vitamins focusing on boosting immunity, and my mom sent me an arsenal of essential oils.
I also bought every kind of bleach-based and pure-bleach product I could get my hands on and have been sanitizing the house.
Watching Happy Shows, Keeping Positive
I put a lot of energy into keeping my panic and anxiety over Corona virus at bay.
I don’t want this to flip me out – I realize that I have a ton of triggers around this, what with my brother dying and my mom living in California still, and not a lot of support around me in case I get sick and my kids need help.
Whatever the trigger though, flipping out won’t help, it’s just going to make it worse.
So I’m watching funny movies – laughter is great medicine, and keeps us strong (a link to my list of Funniest Family Movies: https://www.meriahnichols.com/funniest-family-friendly-movies-of-all-time). I’m going back to Star Trek: Next Generation with my kids and enjoying that world.
I’m making art, I’m outside, I’m turning the pages of my book of positive aspects and taking my own advice with self care (- my post on Self Care When You have a Disability is one that I am re-reading, because I forget this stuff too).
“Keep Calm and Carry On”
It’s not to mitigate how scary this is – because this IS scary – but to remember that we are far more effective as calm, sensible-shoes-wearing People with Plans than we are in freak-out Contagion-watching mode.
Stay well, friends. We’re going to get through this.
And I’m going to get going with that garden.
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.