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Things are changing quickly, aren’t they, in the world at large and in our own personal worlds. In the last 48 hours, I’ve witnessed shortages of paper products, cleaning supplies, hand soap, hand sanitizer and even toothpaste in my hometown of Joplin.
This afternoon I watched people purchase “alternatives” to toilet paper such as boxes of tissues and large packages of paper dinner napkins. Why? Because empty shelves underscored the current scarcity of toilet paper.
Members of my family had their spring vacation canceled due to park closures. I received the saddest little message from my great-nephew, who intended to share his adventures with me via photos from his phone: “No photos. No Disney World.”
Events continue to shift and unfold, on an international level that then trickles down to our communities. No one will be untouched by COVID-19, even if they escape the virus itself.
I’ve thought today about what I can offer, as a blogger and as one who cares deeply about people. This is a message from my heart.
A Shift in Energy
As the virus spreads toward the midwest, I can see and feel the shift in energy. People are buying up supplies, food and medication, in case self quarantine is a necessity. Or they are stocking up to avoid the possibility of contagion by remaining at home. Our local university closed down today. Sporting events cancelled. More cancellations of all kinds are expected. Schools just let out for spring break. We will see whether they choose to remain closed afterward.
I can feel the heightened sense of fear and panic as shelves at the grocery store empty. The abundance of emotions creates a swirl of uneasiness around me that I’ve had to deal with today.
Here are some tips I’ve found helpful. I hope they are helpful to you as well.
Practice High Level Self Care
It starts with you and me as individuals. We are responsible for our own level of health and emotions and how we respond to situations.
Take extremely good care of yourself.
Practice meditation or yoga or breathing exercises to ease anxiety and reduce stress. Stress taxes the body by keeping it in “fight or flight” mode and that can adversely affect the immune system.
Up your level of nutrition. Eat more fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, supplying the body with the best quality fuel so that it can perform at its highest level. Drink lots of water. Have a cup of hot herbal tea in the afternoon and take a break, breathing slowly and deeply.
Include these foods that support the immune system: citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach and other dark leafy greens, almonds, turmeric, green tea, lemon balm, papaya, kiwi, berries and shiitake mushrooms.
Get plenty of sleep, as that boosts the immune system as well. Avoid tobacco smoke and reduce alcohol consumption. And catch some rays of sunshine, for up to 15 minutes a day. Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D, which helps to lower the risk of respiratory infections.
The CDC offers suggestions to better protect yourself from catching COVID-19, also called coronavirus. Remember that most who contract the virus experience mild symptoms and recover. For some older adults, or those with underlying health issues, the illness may be much more severe.
Regularly wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer. If soap isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
Maintain a minimum six feet distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Don’t shake hands, hug or kiss others, except loved ones, and even then use caution if you’ve been in large groups or areas affected by the virus.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, especially while out in public after your hands come in contact with surfaces that others touch.
Cover your mouth and nose, with your bent elbow or a tissue, when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash hands.
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
Wear a facemask IF you are sick, when around other people. If you do not have the virus, you do not need to wear a facemask, unless you are caring for someone who is sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
Show compassion to others. Be kind with your words and deeds, without touching and hugging others.
Check on older adults in your family and community. They are in the highest risk category if they catch the virus. Offer to shop for them, delivering groceries and supplies to their doors. Call them frequently. People may feel isolated, staying at home more during this time. Connect with them and encourage them.
Reach out to others via social media. Some have a love/hate relationship with social media. This is a time, when used properly, that it can keep people updated, informed and connected. Post news and also post funny stories and photos, encouraging quotes and inspirational memes. I’m grateful for a means of communicating with others, that is already in place.
This isn’t a time for judgment, casting blame or feeding fear. Send healing energy and good vibes into the world. Think good thoughts. Keep your heart open and full of love and joy. Sing. Laugh. Play music. Dance.
A Message From My Heart
Chopping veggies this morning, for a big healthy salad, I listened to inspirational music on my iPhone and carried on a conversation with the Divine. One line in a song, “You are more than what is hurting you tonight…”, reminded me that I am more than all of this that is going on. I am more than someone who succumbs to fear or resignation.
I asked aloud, “What can I do to help, during this troubling time of uncertainty? What can I offer?”
The answer that came, formed this post. Take care of myself. Manage stress and DO NOT give fear a foothold. Do what I can, for others. Offer sincerely from my heart. Send healing energy into the world. Trust.
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week. I don’t know how bad it’s going to get, or how long all of this is going to last with COVID-19. However, I don’t need to give in to hopelessness or despair or fear. I am journeying onward, even if it’s from my house, well stocked with toilet paper, fruits and veggies and cat food.
Living life beyond the edges sometimes means expanding perspectives and going beyond comfort zones by shifting thoughts and beliefs. That’s an inner journey that then manifests changes in the outer world.
We are blessed that we can connect virtually. Reach out to me if you need someone to chat with or to help you slay your fears. Linking arms, figuratively, is what we do. Journey with me.
Check out this app, for a daily dose of encouragement and helpful articles and meditations. And have a listen to “Beautiful” by MercyMe
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