How to look after the community and yourself while the coronavirus pandemic is happening
It is difficult to stay healthy throughout the transition that COVID-19 has caused, but that does not minimize how important it is to take care of your physical and mental health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the coronavirus outbreak can be a stressful time for people of all ages, and advised taking precautions.
“It is important for people to understand why restrictions are put into place. It’s all about flattening the curve, it is about preserving the resources for people who are ill enough to need them,” said Chris Carson, a registered nurse.
Flattening the curve refers to the reason social distancing measures have been put in place, which are the most effective method to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the Washington Post.
“You want to limit yourself interacting with other people because whoever you interact with you are also interacting with whoever they have seen. Wash your hands, exercise, keep your hands off of your face, eyes, nose, stay in connection socially but keep a physical distance,” Carson said.
Christa Mariano-Duyanen, a school nurse and OB/GYN, encourages others to look at circumstances positively and focus on the health of loved ones.
“I kind of think of stress as a cup that you are filling with water. It can only get so full before you start to see effects that can be anxiety, depression or sleep disruptions,” said Nathan Stuckey, a licensed clinical social worker.
Stuckey stressed the importance of accepting that the pandemic is happening rather than denying it or struggling with thoughts and feelings towards it. He said it is important to embrace the change while honoring the thoughts and emotions that may arise in the process.
Mariano-Duyanen suggests sticking to a schedule as work and school transitions online.
“Go on walks every day to get some Vitamin D and prevent getting antsy and feeling cooped up and keep that activity going,” she said.
Other on-campus resources will remain available for Azusa Pacific students, including the Counseling Center which will remain open for teletherapy via Zoom.
The Counseling Center suggests taking care of yourself by minimizing exposure to news, exercising, practicing mindful breathing, journaling, having a routine, reaching out to loved ones, eating well and getting eight hours of sleep.
“It all comes down to what one values,” Stuckey said. “Do you value living life in fear or does one acknowledge one’s feelings and try to live as fulfilling as they can be given the circumstances?”
Stuckey said a fight or flight response is normal since it is a natural instinct that is there to help keep us safe. The trick is to not overdo it by hoarding toilet paper or over-utilizing hand sanitizer as your distress can affect others negatively.
“Faith challenges me in my belief system. Do I really believe God is sovereign? If my future for me and my family looks different than the reality that I continue to trust in God despite that,” Carson said.
Part of it is knowing that this will eventually end and that this reality is only temporary.