With recent school closures, event cancellations, travel restrictions and other governmental mandates resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), there’s a lot to be stressed about. It can be hard to avoid rumors, exaggerations and misinformation and to ward off feelings of panic and hysteria that seem to be spreading faster than the virus itself.
While there are a lot of aspects to this unprecedented time that are uncontrollable, here are five actions you can take to help ensure your own well-being and the well-being of your community — many without even leaving your house.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensive information and resources available regarding nearly everything you could possibly need or want to know about the virus.
Practicing basic hygiene (washing your hands, covering your coughs, disinfecting surfaces, etc.) and social distancing are the greatest things you can do right now to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.
It’s also more important than ever to tune into local news so you can be aware of actions being taken in your immediate surroundings and how they might affect you and others in your area.
And make sure your information is coming from reliable sources, like the CDC, the World Health Organization or certified local and national news outlets. Social media can be a great way to share these resources, but it can also be a place where misinformation is spread and hysteria grows deeper. Know your facts and know your sources.
Take care of yourself.
Drink water, get enough sleep, stay active and nourish your body with nutritious foods. Spend time outdoors (or just open some windows), check in on friends and family and practice your favorite relaxation techniques. It’s so easy to forget about these things when there’s so much going on, but it’s as important as ever to take care of yourself both physically and mentally.
Support local businesses as much as you can.
Small businesses rely heavily on community support and patronage, and times like these can be especially devastating for them. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can show these community builders support.
Remember that social distancing doesn’t necessarily mean total isolation. So if you’re looking to get out of the house for a little while, swing by a local coffee shop and get a latte to go, or visit a local restaurant to get some take-out. Call ahead to local bookstores, florists, boutiques or markets to see if you can arrange a pre-order pick-up to limit contact.
If you’d rather stay in, shop your favorite local businesses online — many are even offering free or discounted shipping or delivery to encourage both sales and social distancing. You can also buy gift cards to benefit businesses now and yourself later!
For all the book lovers out there (or anyone who suddenly has lots of time on their hands!), Libro.fm allows you to choose from a collection of audiobooks from over 900 independent bookstores nationwide, and all the money you spend goes directly to the bookstore of your choice. They can also connect you to local bookstores for online print book purchases.
Social media engagement is also important to many small businesses and an easy way to show your support. Like, share and comment on their posts to let them know you appreciate them, even if you can’t financially support them right now.
Ship imperfect produce.
Grocery stores nationwide are facing shortages due to shoppers stocking up on essential (and non-essential) items. Avoid the lines, craziness and exposure by ordering imperfect produce through companies like Imperfect Foods (first see if you have any local options!), that ship perfectly usable produce that’s denied by grocers right to your door.
Many companies will also use produce and portions of their profits to benefit food pantries and other organizations for those in need. So you can reduce waste, support local farmers and donate to those in need, all without ever leaving your house!
Celebrate and spread good news.
While school closures, athletic season terminations, event cancellations and other actions are necessary precautions, it doesn’t make them any less upsetting. It’s important in a time of such widespread disappointment and frustration to celebrate and share positive news.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the state of Utah is preparing to continue to provide elementary students with free meals despite school closures. Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love donated $100,000 to arena employees whose hours and wages will be negatively impacted by the NBA’s decision to cancel the remainder of the season, and other players and organizations are following suit.
Share stories like these on social media, bring them up in discussions gravitating toward fear and frustration. Remind the world that good news and good deeds are still possible and worth celebrating, even amid what can often feel like an ever-present cloud of negativity.
With how quickly and constantly situations across the country are changing, there are many things we as citizens can’t control, so it’s important to focus on the things we can. Stay strong, stay positive and practice civic responsibility not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones and your local and global communities.