Never in a million years did I ever think we would be going through a pandemic in 2020. I can’t seem to be able to wrap my mind around how many people, young and old have died because of something that was so incredibly unforeseen. How does something this deadly even come into existence? Was this manmade and created in a laboratory? And if so, was it released purposefully or accidentally? Was this meant to kill people all around the world? There are so many unanswered questions in the minds of many around the world and I believe it is during these tragic times we all need to work together through these terrifying days.
The last time there was a deadly global pandemic was the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 H1N1 virus and was between 1918 and 1920. The Spanish flu was first identified in the United State in the spring of 1918 in military personnel. It was estimated that approximately 500 million people and accounts for one-third of the world’s population had been infected. The CDC estimated that 50 million people died from this virus worldwide with 675,000 occurring in the United States.
With the Spanish flu, the mortality rate was higher in people younger than 5 years old, between 20 and 40 years old, and those 65 years and older. High mortality among healthy people, between 20 and 40 years old was a distinctive feature of this pandemic. This virus was synthesized and evaluated; the properties it was made up with were very devastating and not well understood. Unfortunately, there was not a vaccine to protect people from the virus and no antibodies to treat secondary bacterial infections associated with influenza infection. There were limited ways to control this virus, such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, utilizing disinfectants, and limiting public gatherings.
It is mind-blowing, 102 years after the Spanish flu pandemic that killed 50 million people globally that we are facing another lethal pandemic. According to the Worldometer, as of today, there have been 2,906,751 confirmed cases worldwide and 206,669 deaths in 210 countries and territories due to COVID-19. We have only been aware of how detrimental this virus is before about 3 months, but truthfully it started in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.
The stresses and rational concerns we are all coping with can be overwhelming. The stresses can include, but isn’t limited to:
- Uneasiness and distress of your health and the health of loved ones
- Sleep disturbances or eating patterns
- Complications concentrating
- Declining of chronic and mental health conditions
- Escalated use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
The good news is there are numerous ways we can control the amount of stress we are feeling. Of course, everyone responds, feels, and copes with stress in different ways, but I do hope the ways to cope with the stress I am going to share will be beneficial for you:
- Constantly watching or reading about the pandemic can be very disturbing, so the mind should take breaks from all of it. The continuous devastatingly heartbreaking information we are hearing and reading can take a massive toll on us, but we do have the ability to control this.
- Don’t forget to take care of your body. A few examples to care for your body are:
- Stretch daily, do deep breathing exercises or meditate
- Get plenty of sleep
- Develop a regular exercise regimen
- Avoid alcohol and drugs, they will only create more issues causing stress
- Remember to take time to unwind. Attempt doing other activities you find enjoyable.
- Find alternate ways to connect with others, while we are still maintaining social distancing. Discuss the concerns you have with people you are comfortable confiding in.
Many people around the world are feeling extreme levels of stress and uncertainty at this moment. As we try to maintain some sense of normalcy in our lives, we also need to understand how staying optimistic will help our mental health and immune system stay as strong as it can. Even if where you live ends restrictions staying home if you feel unwell and continuing social distancing should remain in effect until there are far fewer cases and fatalities.
Over the years, many studies have provided an interconnection between good overall health and optimism. Of course, some skeptics that would prefer to argue that it is more an individual’s good health that makes them positive instead of vice versa. Regardless if the studies are correct or not, it is not a far-fetched thought to say optimistic people are generally happier than pessimistic people.
Whether you are an optimistic person or a pessimistic person, I am going to share a few simple ideas that may help improves your positive outlooks!
- Implement gratefulness. During times when life seems desolated, there are still many things we should be grateful for. Trying starting a gratefulness journal. Acknowledge both notable and small items you are thankful for. Include as much detail into this practice as you can. Important things could be your home, family, and friends, the ability to provide food for yourself and family, and any other things that are necessities. The smaller things might be simple short-lived pleasures such as a good book, a calming warm bath, or a hot cup of coffee or tea.
- Create a positive routine that you begin your day with. Even once we make it through this crisis that has plagued our lives for months now, morning routines are vital! It is best to not immediately check the news when you wake up; the news isn’t going anywhere and will still be available to view once you have had time to center yourself. It is astonishing how much a simple morning smile can begin your day off on a positive note.
- Slow down. Many of us are always in a huge rush to do things, which includes jumping to conclusions with information we heard on the news. There are some positive aspects of being isolated in our homes, it does allow us the ability to pace ourselves and not dwell on our anxieties caused by the pandemic. Focusing on things that are surrounding us in the present moment can be beneficial. Turn down the volume of our thoughts relating to stress and pay closer attention to our inner voices.
- Relax your entire body. Pay very close attention to your muscles, if you begin feeling your shoulders and or jaw tensing, take slow deep breaths and relax. Be aware of your muscles from head to toe and your breathing during the day, which will also assist with your mindfulness.
- Ensure that exercise is a part of your daily routine. If you are already an active person, you have probably already made adjustments to your workouts being at home instead of a gym. If however, you are not very active, try to incorporate some form of exercise into your life. Exercising can be beneficial both physically and mentally because it releases endorphins that target the feelings of positivity.
- Initiate and encourage a digital community. We all should be continuing to practice social distancing, but that does not mean we are not able to stay in touch with family and friends. Modern technology has given ways for video calls; group chats, and even allows us access to virtual parties and concerts, which are all amazing options. I had my first ever virtual call on Wednesday with my doctor’s office, which I could to be a fabulous way to communicate with the Nurse Practitioner without subjecting myself to possibly being exposed to COVID-19. During these times of massive uncertainty, it is crucial to know some of our friends and family members are dealing with the same stresses we are and maybe we could offer one another some positivity.
- Utilize diaphragmatic breathing, which will assist in strengthening an important muscle that helps us breathe, our diaphragm. You can also begin to include meditation into your life and doing multiple short mindfulness exercises throughout the day. A useful pattern to begin your day with is gratefulness meditation, and then incorporates a breathing exercise halfway through your day, and sleep meditation at bedtime. If you would like to read some great meditation examples, I encourage you to visit Bella’s website https://thoughtsnlifeblog.com/, she gives some fabulous and extremely helpful advice. Diaphragmatic breathing also has other benefits including lowering stress hormones and your heart rate and helps you to relax.
- Embrace humor and laughter in your life daily. We have all probably heard that laughter can be the best medicine, so it would make perfect sense why this is extremely important. The ability to find humor daily can improve your positiveness and benefit from a more optimistic nature. There have been several studies confirming the short-term and long-term benefits of laughter on the mind and body. The benefits include stimulating our organs, lessening stress levels, enhancing blood circulation, building up our immune system, and alleviating physical pains we may have.
- Avoid or at least walk away from distressing discussions and situations. Due to the fears involved with the pandemic, everyone is very well aware of; massive amounts of stress are also a strong possibility. During these times it can be easy to be pulled into pessimistic interactions which can intensify how we were already feeling. We can also become obsessed with the news, which alone can create overwhelming levels of panic. It is important to be aware and knowledgeable about what is happening in the world, it is also crucial to have a healthy balance between the amount of news we are taking in and a daily routine in efforts to maintain our mental health.
- Hold onto faith. This does not necessarily have anything to do with religion, but if you are religious you might be able to gain strength and optimism from your beliefs. When I stated hold onto faith, I am suggesting your faith in humanity, science, medical professionals, and the good in mankind. It’s about maintaining faith in our resilience, kindness, empathy, commitment, and the desire for a good healthy life for all.
We were all leading the life we yearned for before the pandemic and there is no reason we can’t get back to that point in time. It is going to require patience, persistence, and a great deal of resilience. I do think it is also best, regardless of what the governor of your state or president says, to avoid gatherings of too many people, practice good hand-washing, and definitely social distancing.
Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope the information provided was helpful to you and your family. I would love to read your thoughts on all of this and promise to respond as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love , comfort, and many positive vibes!