I know you guys have read a lot about this. Too much.
No, don’t panic.
No, wash your hands. And panic. And social distancing.
And panicking. And hoarding. And freaking out.
And none of that is from the chronic illness community. That is from healthy people.
So… we should be panicking MORE. No. But we should be prepared more for sure.
I only want to talk about it because it is everywhere and on all our minds. And we are concerns about our own health and those we know in the health community, and people we know over 60, who are also higher risk. And it is reasonable to worry. I am worried about us all. And I am also worried over what we will do being isolated for a long period of time out of necessity due to our higher risk. Or Not because of necessity (due to having to work).
Yeah. A LOT going on out there. And we have this virus looming over us, and in some areas a lot more, and with a lot of chronic illnesses we feel like we have a big old target on our backs.
Of course, it makes sense to:
- Vigorously wash our hands for 20-30 seconds… but not to the flesh comes off… that is Too much. But this is an extremely important step for everyone. The fact we have to say that is weird but let’s just hope that Everyone Does it.
- Engage in social distancing. No Crowds. No Hugging strangers. Stand 20 feet away from everyone and text conversate- maybe that is excessive. But Social Distancing is Vital to Slowing the Pace of the virus so that the healthcare system can keep up. It doesn’t prevent it. But it does slow it down.
Here where I live in Alberta we are social distancing. And we only had travel-related infections. Then 17 more today with 2 Community transmitted. That means 2 they had no idea where they came from and that means there are people in the community who are sick and do not know it. That means it will spread fast from here. So now schools and universities are closed. Daycare options are closed. All social activities centers you can think of are closed. And yes, we are still social distancing.
Some links to check out for the chronically ill regarding the coronavirus
- 5 Things People With Chronic Illness Need to Know About the New Coronavirus
- People With Chronic Pain Must Prepare for Coronavirus
- ‘Real people won’t die’: Rhetoric around who is at risk of coronavirus infection sparks debate over ageism, ableism
- 5 Things To Know About Coronavirus And People With Disabilities
But the fact is many of us are not going to be social distancing so much as social isolating. More so than usual.
I like to socialize once in a while:
- For my emotional wellbeing
- Because I like to feel connected
- Because I want to see my friends
- It helps me feel better
Isolating too much is not good for my depression. However, lately, since I have been so ill I have been self-isolating more. It is not fun. And I know it will be necessary when my area gets more in the high risk of this coronavirus due to being higher risk myself.
Isolation comes with its faults that way. However, we have to be safe as well. We do not want to panic but we do want to take reasonable precautions based on our particular health situation, which varies for us all.
As an introvert, I find it exceptionally easy to do. However, because it is exceptionally easy to do it slowly affects my depression and I do not always realize it right away so it is very important in situations where We Must Isolate… to monitor and manage our mental health and wellbeing. I cannot stress that enough.
The thing to remember are Your Self-Care methods. What works for you to manage your health and wellbeing from day to day.
It is important we have some connection when we are self-isolating because we are High Risk. There are Facebook groups opening up in communities to help with mental health and supplies for those who are high risk who have to self-isolate so I would definitely take advantage of those if you need help. I am glad people have set these up and I would utilize them if you need someone to connect with or supplies of any sort.
Take advantage of any support network you have for any needs you have. And contact people via the computer or cell to stay connected. It is important we limit isolation in any way we can. Have a chat with friends or family when we can. Face-time them even. Text. Whatever works.
Go out for a short walk if you can or sit outside and get some sun- if you live in a better climate than here. But even a short walk here boosts the mood. It can be a short one but a little sunshine really helps with isolation. And if we are locked inside for a long period boosting our Vitamin D might also be a very good plan.
Engage in your hobbies to distract yourself and keep yourself engaged. We need to keep our minds occupied. We already know this from self-care as a distraction technique to cope with pain and symptoms… but also to fill time and for life satisfaction. But there is extra anxiety and overthinking with this virus to think about. So distraction is a very good idea.
Engage in social media health groups or hobby groups or groups with similar interests or community groups to just engage with others. Just some social contact. Chatting about anything and everything.
Maybe a good time for some movie marathons! Lord of the Rings? Star Wars? Both? Netflix Binge? Ace that video game? Why not, eh? More distractions.
Read that interesting non-fiction you had your eye on. Or that new series. Or take that online course you thought about.
All in all, be mindful of your mood. Be mindful of your health. Do your self-care. Be well.
We can only take the precautions we can. We can’t control every factor of life.
And hey you can check out my Chronic pain humour book ‘The Chronic Pain Manual: The really, real manual on pain‘ while you are self-isolating for some laughter treatment.