We all know by now that COVID19 is spreading throughout the world. At this stage many governments are taking containment measures or mitigation measures, depending on their risk strategy. The mainstream media, social media and discussion boards are rife with stories true and untrue, all of them instilling fear and sometimes panic in readers. Panic buying and hoarding has taken on a life of its own as images of long shopping lineups and bare shelves circle the internet. What’s important during this crisis, as in any crisis, is to manage our emotions effectively.
Current results from a recent survey on this site shows that although 21.5% of respondents feel safe and 12.7% feel confident, 26.6% are unclear about how they feel, 22.8% are scared, and 6.3% are confused. So, more people are feeling a variety of difficult emotions than hopeful emotions. I provided an opportunity for respondents to use their own adjectives, and they range from Reasonably Confident, to Worried, to Apathetic. There is a whole gamut of emotions running through people, so maintaining common sense and equilibrium during a crisis is critical to navigating it effectively.
What you can do
Know the facts. Although facts on the virus are still being uncovered by scientists, following the guidance of health organizations and experts such as doctors, epidemiologists, virologists etc. will ensure you are receiving the correct information. The World Health Organization’s Situation Reports are a good source of reliable information. Using evidence-based information in your fight to stay informed and prepare is critical to managing your own personal risk and risk to others. Know your facts and know the sources.
Know yourself. If you are prone to anxiety or are afraid of uncertainty, then keeping a 24/7 eye on the news and social media will not help you. Give yourself a break to do something you enjoy, listen to music, cook a great meal, engage in your hobby. Give yourself time to have fun and clear your mind.
Be Prepared. Knowing you’ve done what you can to be prepared is the best you can do. Ensure you have some canned foods, medications, and any other supplies you think you might need if you had to stay home for a month. Being prepared will help to relieve anxiety about the future.
Based on survey respondents only 17.7% of people feel they are extremely prepared (position 5). While most respondents fall in between being Not at all Prepared (1) to being Mostly Prepared (4). Being prepared will give you confidence to know that you can ride out this wave.
Remain cautious, but not paranoid. Use common sense, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, don’t touch your face, stay home if you are sick, avoid standing too close to people even if they don’t show signs and symptoms.
Be Kind. We are all in this together. When you are stocking up, buy a little extra for your local food bank and drop it off. Call your elderly neighbour to check on them. Provide accurate information when you hear misinformation spreading. Be calm towards those who are exceptionally anxious. Don’t label people who don’t agree with you and avoid playing the blame game. Try to think globally, not individually.
Be Kind. Together we can fight #COVID19Tweet
Know that this will pass. We will get through this. Use common sense and know that you cannot control all outcomes, you can only do your best individually. Much of the outcome depends on how the crisis is managed by your country’s government and each seems to manage it based on their own desired outcome. There is always hope that leaders will have learned some lessons from past crises and other countries’ handling of the current crisis.
Hope is all you have left once you’ve used common sense, prepared for the worst, and been cautious and kind. Hang on to that hope as you navigate this crisis. Hope is what humankind holds on to in the most dire of circumstances. As one survey respondent said, “I hope mankind will be able to stay strong and compassionate together.” I hope so too.