We’re all worried right now. We have the right to be. COVID-19 is the disease caused by a novel coronavirus tearing across the globe. Our government is designed to weather a storm such as this, but authorities have been slow to activate measures already in place. Some Americans aren’t taking the outbreak seriously, which will result in even more cases and eventual fatalities. The outlook to the economy is grim.
And what makes it even worse?
If you are listening to CDC advice, then you’re stuck inside with your best friend and the kids. There’s no rest or respite when you have so few opportunities to escape outside. The situation we’re in will inevitably lead to a huge spike in relationship conflicts. That could mean an increase in divorce cases in the coming months. How can you avoid these conflicts and the possibility that your most important relationships spiral out of control later?
First, you will want to stay informed about the extent of the outbreak — but limit how much news you consume each day. There’s no need to spend your life in front of FOX News or CNN. You don’t need to hear about every new case and every new fatality in your community. Turn on the news once after dinner, and leave it at that. More won’t make you feel better. In fact, it’s more likely to increase stress.
And since your stress will likely be at an all-time high, you’ll want to take measures to reduce it. Although many states have imposed a “shelter in place” policy instead of outright lockdown, most people don’t realize that they can still go outside. And not just for gas or groceries. You can also take a walk around the block, play catch with Fido in the backyard, or go for a day hike at a state or national park. But beware of changing rules and regulations. Those parks might close soon because people are continuing to congregate in large numbers.
Limit time in front of screens. That means TV, phones, computers, and tablets. While it can be easy to fall into a routine of waking up only to jump on the couch and invest the rest of your day’s hours in a vegetative state, you’ll notice both your energy and your sense of worth rapidly start to decline if you do. These can be great activities for mental health, but only in moderation. Keep an eye on your kids, too.
Don’t let yourself consume microwave dinners or frozen food all the time. Diet is important. Frozen fruits and veggies retain most of their nutritional value, but stay away from fish sticks and fries if you want to live through this. It’s not just about reducing stress — it’s about keeping your immune system strong just in case you do come down with the coronavirus.