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How To NOT Freak Out When We're All Freaking Out

The world always seems like it's in shambles. Particularly, now, when every news article seems to be about the Coronavirus, it's hard for us to not feel panicked or scared. Our minds can jump to the worst conclusions (e.g., "ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE WILL GET SICK AND DIE," "THIS IS THE END").

How do we manage this stress?

I think the number 1 thing we can do is: if we're prone to ruminating on worst case scenarios, having lots of thoughts of "what ifs" or having worried thoughts, we need to practice noticing these thoughts and letting these thoughts go. When we find ourselves worrying, we need to ask ourselves "is this worrying useful or helpful" and we also need to tell ourselves "OK. I'm having worried thoughts. What can I do about this? What are some actions I can take?"

Number 2-- focus on what you can do. There are so many resources out there that talk about how we can stay safer and healthier (this particular resource has some info for caregivers as well as ways that we can prepare and plan ahead). And, guess what! A lot of these precautions -- you know them already! (e.g., wash your hands for 20+ seconds or to the tune of the ABCs; don't shake others' hands; don't touch your nose and mouth).

This is a really cute comic geared for kids. You can print it and hand it out to folks.

So, we try our best to stay calm (e.g., practicing meditation, mindfulness, and yoga). We also try our best to let worried thoughts go and focus on actionable steps we can take to help ourselves, our family, and our fellow neighbors -- consulting with physicians, praying for others if you believe in prayer, practicing lovingkindness meditation, making sure you're taking care of yourself (getting good sleep, eating nutritious foods, challenging unhelpful thoughts, building up your psychological and physical immune system), helping others stay positive, calm, and confident so that they, too, can take steps to prevent the infection from spreading or learn ways to heal if they do start to feel sick.

I will see you in the bathroom while washing my hands :D

Take good care of yourself.

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At times, in the grips of fear, stress, loneliness, we forget that we belong, that there's magic. May this poem remind you of your magic.


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