Ugh…It’s pretty safe to say at this point that no matter where or who you are, COVID-19 is affecting your life in some form or manner. Whether you are a frontline worker in our health care system (THANK YOU!), an owner or employee of a grocery store or pharmacy (THANK YOU!), a business owner who has creatively and safely pivoted to meet the needs of their consumers (THANK YOU!), a teacher or a parent/caregiver who is trying their best to provide virtual learning opportunities to our children while trying to stay relatively sane (THANK YOU!), teams and leaders embracing virtual technology to host online meetings – risking Zoom-Bombers and co-workers who forget to mute while taking a confidential phone call or that their camera is on as they walk around the room in their underwear (or butt-naked!), a tradesperson who is having to do the same job with fewer people on site (THANK YOU!), a government or health care leader trying to make the best decisions for public health and safety (THANK YOU!), a service provider with the ability to work from home or to maintain a safe environment for clients (THANK YOU!), someone who has been laid off from their job and is struggling to put food on the table and pay bills, or someone who has become ill themselves or lost a friend or family member (my heart is with you) – we have all been impacted by this virus and its global pandemic status.
How did it all start though? And when? There’s so much information out there to cipher through – how do you know what is real and what is not? If you’re like me, you have a healthy amount of skepticism around any information that comes from social media – unless the source is clearly stated and has some credentials behind them (and isn’t spewing some “new-age” hocus-pocus cure), or has an official public health and/or government association attached to it. So, I thought it would be helpful to simplify some pertinent information about COVID-19, as well as offer some practical questions in key life areas to help you focus on your current well-being status.
First of all, some COVID-19 Quick Facts:
- COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus (these viruses can cause anything from the common cold to SARS, as well as cause disease in animals).1
- On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) China Country was informed about cases of pneumonia with unknown cause in Wuhan City. The outbreak began in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan City (population: 11 million).1 This was most likely from an animal source.2
- On March 11, 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.1
- Animals (including pets such as dogs and cats) can test positive for COVID-19, but there is no current evidence at this time to suggest they become sick from it or that they can pass it on to humans.2
- The virus is passed through human-to-human direct contact (droplets from coughing and sneezing, or on hands or surfaces).2
- COVID-19 can make anyone sick, however, there are higher-risk and vulnerable categories:
- People who 65 years of age or older
- People with compromised immune systems
- People with underlying medical conditions
- Anyone who has social and/or economic barriers (vulnerable)3
- Those infected with COVID-19 can have little to no symptoms, but symptoms have included:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pneumonia in both lungs
- In severe cases, symptoms have caused death3
- At the time of this writing, 2,261,631 confirmed cases have tested positive for COVID-19 and 154,789 deaths have resulted from the virus world-wide4
So, how can you proactively avoid contact with COVID-19?
First and foremost – unless it is absolutely essential – STAY THE BLAZES HOME!5
Secondly, practice proper hygiene techniques such as handwashing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds6 (just for the record, I just sang Happy Birthday to myself three times and it took me 34 seconds), and using proper coughing and sneezing etiquette (i.e. into a disposable tissue, into your arm, covering your mouth and then washing your hands properly afterwards). Also, try to keep your hands off your face (hard to do – the struggle is real), and be sure to clean surfaces and doorknobs often.
Additionally, if you are out and about in public places (for essential things), please practice physical distancing by staying a minimum of 6 feet apart from others. As an example, that means when you’re at the grocery store, you wait for people to move along in an aisle rather than passing them because you’re feeling impatient!
But stealthily avoiding the virus is not the only way to stay healthy during this stay-at-home pandemic; it’s also REALLY important to be practicing self-care for your mental and physical well-being. Let’s answer the following questions to see where you’re at right now:
- What strategies am I using to manage my emotions? How helpful have they been? What else could I do?
- How much exercise am I getting? How has this changed (for better or worse) since the pandemic started?
- What structure and routine do I have in my day?
- How often am I taking needed breaks?
- What am I doing to stay motivated?
- What habits (healthy or unhealthy) am I using as coping mechanisms?
- What hobbies and interests am I making time for?
- How often am I staying connected with people I care about?
- How much sleep am I getting each night? How has this changed (for better or worse) since the pandemic started?
So, how are you doing today?
It’s important to ask that specific question because we’re on a roller coaster together right now. We have to take it day by day, one step, or one crest and fall at a time. Our emotions, habits, sleep patterns, and routines are going to fluctuate depending on how we’re able to manage (or not) at any given time. And that’s okay. You (and we) will get through this. No matter what it entails, or what the “new world” looks like when things have simmered down.
Why? Because we’re survivors. We adapt. We grow. We change. We move. We do what we gotta do.
It’s who we are.
Until next time…
Take care of yourself and each other. Be kind always. Stay home.
Lots of love,
Michelle Hurlburt is a Life & Executive Coach, as well as a Social and Emotional Learning Coach & Trainer. She holds B.Ed. and M.Ed. in Leadership degrees and has been certified by the Certified Coaches Federation as a Coach Practitioner, Group Coach Practitioner, and Certified Master Coach Practitioner. Michelle has been a tenant with Ignite Labs (Southern) since November 2019.
5. Many thanks to the Premier of Nova Scotia for this catchy phrase – a wide range of
products have become instantly available as the result of this statement being
made at the end of a provincial COVID-19 daily update. Check out the following (purchase proceeds are being donated to various charities – FYI – I’m not affiliated with
or benefit in any way from sharing these links with you…just being supportive):
CBC/Radio-Canada Coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ONjkkv2tX
The Stanfields’ (full-version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK6UnPoQhhA
My Home Apparel T-Shirts: https://www.myhomeapparel.com/collections/stay-the-blazes-home-collection
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