Fear. That’s probably something that a lot of us are feeling right now. We are living in a world full of unknowns since the recent outbreak of the COVID-19/Coronavirus. While there is reason to be concerned, we should not let fear overtake and overwhelm us. There are many ways to be prepared and to help prevent the spread of this virus. For the elderly, it is a very good idea to be extra cautious. Elderly are reported to be more at risk to complications from this virus then those who are younger than them.
Take the steps that the CDC has put into the place to keep yourself safe. Some of these steps are:
- Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer when water isn’t available
- Avoid going to crowded places, where it is easier for to be exposed to the virus
- Avoid traveling
- Avoid touching your face
- Make sure you have any necessary medications that you need on hand
While it is good to follow the steps above, we need to make sure that we do not go into panic mode. That panic mode comes from a place of fear. It has been proven that living in fear can have significant impacts on your mental and physical health. Some ways that it can affect you are:
-changes in eating or sleeping patterns
-difficulty sleeping or concentrating
-worsening of chronic conditions or diseases
-increased use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol
There are many more ways that fear can affect your body. But I think one of the main things we need to focus on are ways to work through that fear and not to dwell on it. If you are living in an assisted living home, you are probably already being quarantined for your safety. Here are some ideas of how to not focus on the fear and to help with any boredom that you might be experiencing:
- Shut off the news, media or even Facebook for periods of time throughout the day. Constantly having your mind bombarded with all the chaos can really cause anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Relax, remember to eat healthy, stretch, take a nap, meditate, pray or read your bible. Whatever it is for you that helps you feel peaceful.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people about your feelings of anxiety. Verbally processing things can help sort out all the chaos going on in your brain. If you already struggle with issues of mental health, this is all the more important!
- Try to find activities that you enjoy to take your mind off of the current situation. Reading, doing puzzles, making crafts, sewing, playing games, etc.
- If you are living in an assisted living home or nursing home and are experiencing a time where you aren’t allowed visitors for quarantine reasons, this is a great opportunity to call people on the phone or even write them letters the old-fashioned way!
- Try to find things that you are thankful for in this season. Even if it’s small, try to find one thing per day. This really helps in changing our mindsets from negative to positive!
Above all else, try to reflect on this acronym for the word F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. So many times, when we are afraid, it’s because we are constantly going over the what if’s in our minds. Try not to write the script before it happens. Most of the time, the what if’s that we spend so much time worrying about never happen anyway.