On COVID-19: 5 Suggestions for Self-Care
By GaBrilla Ballard
I came on to offer words of support and love to you my growing community, as I’m sure you have been inundated with more news than you probably want. Some of you are very worried, as am I and some of you are holding together pretty, well. But it wouldn’t be me not come on and share some words with you hoping that they may help you during this stressful time.
The swiftness by which this virus has moved is mind boggling. It feels surreal and at time one’s mind can’t catch up to its speed. I’ve been charting this virus since China and starting “stocking” up when it hit Europe. Why you might ask? It is because I am one of the “vulnerable ones among us” who has a chronic illness, who is immunocompromised due to medication I take for Lupus. If you’re like me, any news of impending viruses is cause to pause and prepare. Washing hands, staying away from sick people, asking if anyone is sick before I go over or they come to visit has become a regular practice for me since my diagnosis. So has learning not to be driven by fear. To be informed. To be careful and to be self-advocating. I am afraid enough to do everything I can and leave the rest to the most high, because as I’ve learned years ago when I was very sick , that there are simply some things you can’t control.
Worrying won’t make things better nor will it change the outcome. That said, I want to offer you seven suggestions that might help you whether you live with a chronic illness or not. Stress is not good for anyone’s immune system.
For those of you who are do not live with a chronic illness or have a compromised immune system, keeping yourself healthy is the best way to keep everyone else healthy.
1- Wash you hands.
Been hearing all week. 20 seconds. I will also add use lotion too. I have washed my hands so much, they’re beginning to crack a little and bleed. No need for secondary infections.
2- Focus on what you can control
This has been by far my greatest life practice. An anxious mind has a tendency to focus on worse case scenarios that almost never happen. If that happens to you—as it might a lot right now, give your mind something to focus on—clean the dishes, sort some papers, organize that junk drawer, bringing order to something small can help to calm your mind and release some dopamine associated with feeling as a sense of accomplishment from all that organizing.
3- Breath deeply
Breath in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Release for a count of 4 and hold again for a count of four. Do as many rounds as you need to relax
4- Have fun and center joy in your life
A lot of us, myself included are going to be home with our kids. One of the things I promised myself was that I wasn’t going to panic and that I was going to have as much fun as I can with my kids. They said to socially distance yourself not to stay stuck inside. We have a basketball hoop outside our front door and lots of woods nearby. We will be getting outside, while staying away from crowds.
5- Get good sleep
When you struggle with anxiety, getting quality sleep can be one of the hardest things to get. I already struggle with insomnia, so times like these can make it harder to get my zz’s, but good quality sleep is vital whether you live with a chronic illness or not.
Before I go, I want to encourage you to stay calm as much as possible and to stay focused on what’s important to you. I find that worry doesn’t make me feel safer. It morphs into panic, which can be blinding, irrational and sometimes destructive. I have known deeply what fear does to my body. So, I move forward with the presence of mind that my body needs me to stay calm so that it can do everything in its power to keep me safe from all things that could harm me. I hope that you give your bodies the rest and care they need to do the same.
May this find you well. Peace.