Today’s episode is a special one all about the coronavirus. We’re not going to spend too much time talking about facts, figures, and statistics, but we’re going to focus on specific strategies you can use to stay healthy and sane during these tough times.
There is so much out there in the media, but this is a time where you don’t need to be constantly watching the news — it will drive you crazy. If you need to check the news, check it once a day, but there are not going to be minute-by-minute as it relates to this virus and all it will do is keep you in a perpetual state of anxiety. Social media is going to be the same, reinforcing everything that you hear on the news.
During this time, many of us are going to be indoors and mostly sedentary. You have to stay active. Do some push-ups, look up fitness videos on YouTube, do some yoga. Make sure you are staying hydrated and getting good sleep. These are the things you can do to lower your stress, keep your immune system up, and stay healthy.
There are other things to consider as well: Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face. We all touch our faces 15-20 times an hour without noticing it, so we have to start training ourselves to stop touching them. One tip: Set up a reminder on your smartphone to tell you not to touch your face as often as you can tolerate the messages.
In addition to staying healthy, staying calm is incredibly important. To do this, there’s a psychological technique known as cognitive reframing that can be used to reshape the way you focus information. In the case of the coronavirus, reframe the word to think of it more as the flu. While there are differences, for most of us the risks would be similar, and thinking of it that way could lower your anxiety around it.
We also need to recognize our locus of control: realizing that we have the ability to control how we think, how we act, how we feel, and how we react. When we realize we have control over these things it makes us feel calmer and lowers our heart rates. One way to help your locus of control is through meditation.
Set healthy boundaries with those who are acting irrational or negative. For many of us, those are friends and family, so don’t cut them out forever, but take a break for a few days or even hours.
This is a finite situation and everything is going to get back to normal. These are unprecedented times and we are all in this together. There are opportunities to collaborate, opportunities to feel like we are in control, and opportunities to take control of our health. Stay safe and be well.
Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.
The Daily Helping is produced by Crate Media