We are going to get through this together.
By Ava Marshall
As of Monday, March 30, 2020, the United States has nearly 141,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 2,405 deaths. This new infection has shaken the world, commanding us to stop our normal day-to-day and practice social distancing — “deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
With more and more cases being confirmed daily, it can be easy to get lost in layers of anxiety, fear, hysteria, and conspiracy theories — such as the one about Black people not being able to get the coronavirus or the other one about young people having a certain immunity. (Insert all the side-eyes here.) Like any other human being, Black folks can most definitely contract COVID-19; in fact, our community may be particularly vulnerable, as doctors are concerned Black communities might not be getting access to testing on top of the already-known biases Black people face when seeking medical care. As for young people? According to the New York Times, a CDC report states “20 percent of the hospitalized patients and 12 percent of the intensive care patients [are] between the ages of 20 and 44.” There are also reports of teens dying of the disease.
We know these numbers are scary, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world, and you have questions: “What can I do to help?” “How do I stay sane during the chaos?” “What can I do to keep busy?” “How do I stay connected to my friends and fam?” “What am I going to do when I run out of All American seasons to bingewatch?” We feel you. Here are some tips on surviving social distancing, and in turn, this pandemic:
1. Do What You Can From Where You Are
With all that’s going on in the world, it can be easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough. But know this: Staying at home is doing something. You are helping contain the spread of the virus, and that is what helps save lives. If you want to do more, consider donating to an organization or spreading awareness of organizations and trustworthy news surrounding updates.
2. Stay Informed, But Don’t Let It Consume You
It’s essential that you are up to date on what’s going on around the world, but make sure the information you’re reading is from reliable sources, such as local health authorities, reputable news outlets (not Fox News and definitely not Trump, obvi), and the CDC. The news can be quite overwhelming, too, so it’s important to limit the amount you take in and know that if you’re feeling anxious, it’s time to take a step back.
3. Connect With Your Squad From A Distance
Even though you can’t chill with your crew IRL, there are still so many ways to keep in touch with them — because technology. Schedule FaceTime calls with your girls, see what’s good on Twitter, and play games and watch movies with your friends and fam virtually. You may be physically apart for the time being, but you can still share stories, have conversations, and show love.
4. Take Control Of The Things You Can
These days, there are a lot of things out of your control. This can cause tons of fear and anxiety, so it can be helpful to focus on the things you do have a handle on. For example, washing your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding touching you face, and staying at home. You may not have power over the large outbreaks around the nation and the world, but you are not powerless.
5. Fight The Boredom
Tbh, there’s blessings in the boredom. While thousands of nurses, doctors, microbiologists, food service workers, grocery store clerks, and others are risking their lives to fight on the front lines every day, many of us do our part by staying home. But, there are only so many TV shows and movies we can watch. When the bingeing gets old or you just run out of stuff you haven’t seen yet, pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read, try a new makeup look or recipe, take a nap, do some spring cleaning, start a new hobby like painting or drawing, or learn a new language.
6. Move Your Body, Girl
Keep your blood circulating by getting up and moving around — whether it’s dancing around your room to your fave playlist, working out with a new app or streaming service, or going for a run around the block (far away from others as you do so), staying active can boost your physical health and overall #mood.
7. Remember, You Don’t Have To Be Super Productive
Except when it comes to your online classwork, it’s OK to not be super creative and super busy. Yes, we know Shakespeare was living in isolation during the bubonic plague and may have written King Lear in this time, but you are not Shakespeare. And you don’t have to be. It’s fine to stay in bed and watch Moesha reruns or play video games sometimes. If you do choose to create, that’s great, too.
8. Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is the best care, so take this time to practice it. Relax with a face mask, give yourself a pedicure, or practice meditation or breathing exercises as a stress reliever. Try to maintain some sort of routine if you can, and if possible, go outside when no one else is around — the sun can feel healing. Maintaining your mental health is a must in these trying times.