March Madness is here, but this year, those words take on a whole new meaning. There will be no sounds of athletic shoes screetching against a beautiful hardwood floor, the swoosh of the ball as it glides oh-so-perfectly into the net, or cheers from adoring fans as they root for their favorite teams wearing colors so proud. No, this is a March Madness of a different variety; a sad spectacle of sorts. Millions of people mindlessly sit devouring what the media is dishing up—A favorite five-course meal of theirs which consists of misinformation, amplification, fear, and panic, topped with a little pandemonium for dessert.
Please don’t buy into this madness. Be responsible. Educate yourself. Prepare, but don’t panic. I understand that a pandemic is here, but we have to pull ourselves together. This is a time to learn, listen, and do the right thing—hoarding toilet paper is not the answer. Actually, come to think of it, hoarding anything is not the answer. If we all do our part, it will make the next 12-18 months a lot more manageable for everyone.
Staying informed is one thing, drowning in a sea of media coverage is another. Here are 3 reasons to limit your consumption of news media coverage during this time.
- Media propagates panic, fear, and xenophobia with phrases like, “Killer Virus“, “Zombieland” and “Yellow Alert”. It’s not helpful, but fear sells. Don’t buy into it.
- Excess news intake will make you lose faith in humanity. Headlines like this are everywhere. “Coronavirus: Teens held for ‘coughing in face’ of Elderly Couple” and “Women fight over toilet paper during coronavirus panic in Australia”. The media reports on the worst human behavior imaginable and leads us to believe this is the majority versus the minority.
- Limit the negativity as it will spike your stress levels which in turn suppresses your immune system. You need to be able to fight off any illness that comes your way so do yourself a favor and shut out the nonsense.
Come on people. You have more of a risk of getting sick standing in this line than just staying at home! Common sense is feeling less and less common these days. Quit feeding into the media and please, for the love of something greater than yourself, stop hoarding!
It is more important than ever to practice good strategies to help maintain both your physical and mental well being. Here are a few tips to help you manage your health by eating a balanced diet, managing your stress, and getting some physical activity.
That can be a little tricky right now because I realize that people are hoarding food and supplies. Don’t stress out too much, things will start to return to normal as panic levels out. When you do go to the store, try to focus on getting calorie dense foods so that you can eat less and stay full longer. Beans, meat, nuts, vegetables and cheese are all good choices. I’m not saying that’s all you should eat, but stocking up on chips and candy will only make you feel hungrier, less satisfied, and are not going to boost your immune system.
This may also be a good time to try out intermittent fasting. I have an excellent blog post from February that discusses the benefits of fasting. Click here to read. Conserving and making your food last may be important in these times as various areas are getting hit harder than others. Plus, fasting is a great way to practice social distancing and limiting trips to the grocery store!
Below are some ideas to help with stress management. I’ve also included links to resources and handouts that can help with managing stress during these difficult times. Mental health is important not just to support good immune function but for maintaining our sanity as well!
Let your stress melt away with soft healing sounds of music. In the links below, I put my two favorite (release negative energy and the happiness frequency).
Read something lighthearted, funny, or just plain ole silly.
Exercise (more on that later)
Pour yourself into a hobby or area of interest. Yeah, why let your mind wander or spend countless hours zoning out in front of the TV. This is the perfect time to learn something new or spend time on a hobby that you’ve either neglected or never had time to pursue. Get creative!
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Relaxing Soundscapes: Release Negative Energy and Happiness Frequency
I don’t know about you, but people in my area are not respecting my space or their own. I constantly feel like I’m running away from others while at work or the grocery store, the only 2 places I’ve been going lately besides lone bike rides dispersed from the crowds.
While exercise is important, I wouldn’t recommend going to the gym or gathering outdoors near people. Beaches, trails, and outdoor recreation areas are getting slammed—This is NOT good. Exercise at home or in areas that are away from others. Social distancing is extremely important right now. Do the right thing!
I get it. If I told you NOT to think of a pink elephant, of course, you would think about a pink elephant. The world says, “stay home” so everyone wants to be outdoors. Perhaps it’s human nature? None of us like to be told what to do, but it is so incredibly important to stay away from others right now. To put it bluntly, I find the photo above a disgusting display of human ignorance and selfishness.
Why? If everyone gets sick at the same time…like sick-sick…like as in “I need life saving medical interventions”, how do you think hospitals will be able to properly respond and treat hundreds of thousands of people that need critical care? It’s simple, THEY CAN’T. So, think about your parents, your little brother or sister, and especially your grandparents. Or if you are just that selfish and can’t think beyond yourself, think of YOU. Whatever it takes to get you to stay home instead of congregating with others, think of THAT because while you may be strong enough to pull through this, many others will not.
People are dying; not just the old and frail. So, I urge you to consider your community and loved ones while putting your selfish wants and desires aside. Delaying your instant gratification will NOT kill you, but Covid-19 can.
Be proactive NOT reactive. In this case, as you can see from the rapid spread above, reactive is too late!
Here are some excellent resources to help educate you, your family and even your friends. Pass it along!
Coronavirus Myth Busters: Click here.
WHEN and HOW to use a mask. Masks should absolutely NOT be used unless you are sick or caring for the sick. If you are using them under any other circumstance, you are PART OF THE PROBLEM! Learn more here.
Learn how to “Do your part”. This is an excellent, 7 minute video about the reality of what is happening and how we can help by following something as simple as social distancing and staying home! Click here for more.
The following is a nice list of prevention strategies from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Learn more here.