Like just about everyone else on planet earth, I’m real tired of hearing about Coronavirus. But it can’t be ignored. We’ve learned how to reduce our risk for contracting the virus, but now it is time to learn how to deal with the mental cost of fear and social distancing.
The Center for Disease Control has some specific tips to cope with COVID stress. The first is, PAUSE. Take a deep breath. Meditate, or take a relaxation exercise.
Second, TAKE BREAKS from COVID-19 content. You don’t need a constant stream of medical news. Change the channel. Go work on a hobby, or start a project – there’s always a piece of equipment that needs fixing, on every farm in the world.
Third, MAKE TIME to sleep and exercise. Try to keep to a routine that is healthy.
Fourth, REACH OUT to stay connected to other people. Don’t be a hermit. It’s pretty easy to get stuck in a rut at home, not going anywhere or seeing anyone, but that can be a formula for depression. Call someone. Use video chat if you’re able. Face-to-face contact, even on the computer or via FaceTime on your phone, is like a “vitamin” for your mental health. It reduces your risk of depression and helps to ease stress and anxiety.
Social media helps you connect with friends and family. But be careful. Social media is also a dumping ground for angry people and a big fishing pond for scam artists. Don’t believe everything you read there – for some reason, some people seem to enjoy spreading lies that cause hate and discontent.
Don’t hesitate to block anyone you would not let into your home. If a friend is getting carried away with his frustration and anger, you can mute them for a while so you keep your peace but stay friends.
Last, the CDC says to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or unsafe. Call your doctor or a crisis hotline.
Stay safe and go watch the sun set. It will be back tomorrow, just as one day, so will our normal lives.
About the Author
Len Wilcox is a retired scientist who also ran a newspaper and has written for agricultural publications since the 1980s. He was a regular contributor to California Farmer Magazine. His commentary “The Western View” is a regular feature on Farm City Newsday and AgNet West.