Navigating your mental health through COVID-19

A worldwide pandemic sure catches your attention! Everything is new, strange. Even the vernacular is weird — social distancing, pandemic, shelter in place. People hoarding toilet paper. Toilet paper? That’s going to protect you from a virus? Panic in the streets.

Here’s the best image I can come up with:

“Everyone stay calm! Don’t panic!!”

Actually, the thing to do now is to stay calm and panic. And for cryin’ out loud, can you please leave some of the toilet paper and hand sanitizer?!! 9-1-1 came….and went. This, too, shall pass. Guess what? There are other crises in the future.

The key to your station in life, to your overall happiness, is not what you do during the best of times, but how you react during the worst of times. We all have them. This one is not nearly as bad as some.

Do not let fear of the unknown control you. Recognize that fear; but don’t let it control you. I have swum a lot in the ocean. Everytime I went out there I was totally aware I was putting my life at risk. That was good — made me aware of staying safe. But the fear of the power of the ocean did not keep me from swimming in it.

Stay positive. First off, turn off the news! 10 hours/day of that would make me depressed, too! Get one hour/day — two max (one in the morning and one in the evening as things evolve quickly right now). Remind yourself of other crises — 9-1-1, mortgage collapse of 2008, etc.. They seemed big at the time. But you survived them. Bring a little levity, a little humor, into the equation. Laughter is healthy for body and soul.

Get outdoors. OK, so ‘stay at home’ isn’t completely literal. Get out. Take a walk. Breath in the air. A little exercise will do you good, too. Matter of fact, think I’ll go for a walk!