As COVID-19, also called the coronavirus, continues to spread, our nation is in a unique and highly unusual situation – a situation where there aren’t answers, there’s little way to know when the pandemic will end or get better, and limited opportunities for people to engage in positive social activities to help them cope. Everyone is affected. This virus does not target specific people or populations – it simply impacts everyone regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status and that is precisely what makes it so scary.  

There is so much information being released by the media regarding the importance of social distancing and encouraging people to distance themselves from social gatherings and social interactionswant to suggest we practice “physical distancing” while adopting a new terminology: social embracing. We are embracing the importance of social interaction and the need and desire to connect; right now, we should demonstrate alternate methods of social interaction through physical distancing. Being socially wise while using physical distancing is really what our country needs – not social isolation and increased loneliness and depression.  

Many people are already working hard just to have the basic life necessitiesWhen individuals are tackling the basics of housing, food, and safety, the brain works harder. That’s when fear and anxiety can rush into the brain. While this can be a normal response to a crisis or threat, it doesn’t have to be. This is why everyone is stocking up on food and buying copious amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer: it’s normal, but not necessary! There are tools and resources available to help people manage their fear and anxiety. While no solution is a fixall, many of these resources, if used, can help regulate mood and improve an individual’s ability to cope. Below I list several resources for business and individual use – I hope that you will find them helpful.  

Individual and workplace mental and emotional wellbeing  

    •  – The World Health Organization recently released mental health tips to support people impacted by the Coronavirus. These tips include recommendations on how to positively cope in these troubling times and specific advice was given for health-care workers, caretakers, and people in isolation.   
    • – The World Health Organization released the coping with stress document that breaks down the things you can do daily to support your overall emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.  
    • – The CDC’s managing anxiety and stress web page provides tips and resources specific to stress and coping.  
    • – The American Psychological Association and the social distancing to keep you safe webpage provides insight into social distancing and how it can help reduce fear and how to stay connected without becoming socially isolated.  
    • – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During and Infectious Disease Outbreak document provides excellent advice on how pandemic situations impact human behavior and mental health.  
    • – Employee Assistance Programs or (EAP) are often available from your employer. Look for signs on a bulletin board, promotions on your internal website, or contact an HR representative to help you connect.  
    • – Telehealth or Digital Health Care services may be provided by your employer through your employee health benefits program. If so, now is a good time to download the app and get the information you need to help you stay healthy and well.  
    • Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness app that has been validated by several scientific studies. The app can be added to any phone, tablet, or computer and has a free trial option. Perfect for the next few weeks of social distancing. 
    • Calm is a free meditation, relaxation, and sleep app that can be downloaded onto any phone, tablet, and computer. This app offers an enhanced free option for teachers and educators. 
    • Breethe App has a free trial option and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or from Google Play very easily. This app is very popular in the medical community.  
    • Down Dog is a yoga/exercise app who is currently providing a free membership for anyone through March 30 (at least) 

My hope is that you will use and share these resources to help with the fear, anxiety, and isolation that you and/or others might be feeling during this time. We are all in this together. We all have our own worries, anxieties, and concerns about how this situation will impact us. Right now, the best thing you can do is take care of your overall wellbeing. Each day you wake up know that you’ve got this, you have choices even if they are altered. You have resources to help you, and NO ONE is in this alone.  

Take this situation day by day, reach out and call a friend or family member, enjoy some fresh air, read a good book, watch a great movie or series, get creative and cook, color, paint, use your new apps, or play fun games. All the things you wish you had more time for before, you have time for now. Be present and know this too shall pass.   

Sending you light and healing energy,