Flatten the Curve
Mar 16, 2020
And now, a good read from OS Instructor Sarah Young:
Fear. It’s normal. It’s something we all feel at times. Sometimes more than others. And currently, as we face the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems as though fear itself is potentially becoming an even bigger and more dangerous virus than covid-19.
And it’s not surprising. We humans like to feel in control. We feel safe when we’re in control. But right now so much feels out of our control. It can feel at times as though life as we knew it has just turned to dust.
People are waiting in long lines to buy skids of toilet paper while some people are trying to price gouge others out of things like hand sanitizer and face masks. Major events and travel are being canceled and the stock market is all over the place. People are not only afraid of potentially becoming infected with covid-19 they’re also afraid for their economic future. People are afraid that things may never get back to normal. And it makes sense to be afraid. The collective stress is at an intense level right now.
And given what’s going on in the world, all of us are affected by the stress, whether or not we are exposed to the coronavirus itself. And as we all know stress can do a number on the immune system. So it benefits each of us to band together to put the brakes on covid-19 and “” of its infection rate. It also benefits each and every one of us to keep fear in check. Recognize that fear is a normal response and don’t deny it. But find a way to channel the energy towards a positive end.
So how do we keep the virus of fear from taking over our minds, our hearts, our communities, and our world? I believe we do it by substituting the usual stress response to fear with another stress response. The usual stress response to fear is fight/flee/freeze. That response, left unchecked, can wreak havoc on a person’s health. It also leads to the spread of the fear virus in the collective. But there is another way.
If we tap into another stress response, one that is wired into us for survival, we can strengthen our individual immune systems as well as the collective immune system. That stress response is tend and befriend.
Tend and befriend, by a series of biochemical changes, can make you more courageous and create space for your immune system to grow more resilient while under pressure. Tend and befriend also creates and holds a space that makes room for hope as well as fear. And with hope comes possibilities and options.
To tend and befriend all you need to do is lend a helping hand. Allow your heart to open to others and understand that they may be struggling. Check in on your neighbors, especially older ones. If you know someone who has a suppressed immune system check in on them. The coronavirus puts both at a great risk for getting very sick. Other at-risk groups are those with heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. So if you’re healthy (no ) maybe offer to run some errands for someone who is sick or is at risk.
And with all the travel cancellations and big and small event cancellations people are going through disappointment. People are bummed. Some are grieving. Be a listening ear. Call or text friends. Let folks know they’re not alone.
And please remember that small businesses, and the people who work there, are going to be hit hard. So if you’re healthy, patronize local businesses and restaurants as much as you can.
Tip your server well. If you belong to a gym that isn’t part of a big box chain ask what you can do to support your gym. Maybe suggest training outdoors. Talk to friends about how you can support your community.
And I believe we can do all the aforementioned while having a healthy respect for covid-19. And by ‘healthy respect’ I mean do what the health experts are telling us all to do () along with taking extra good care of ourselves.
- Eat good nutritious food.
- Stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your face.
- If you have to cough or sneeze do so into the crook of your elbow.
- And if you‘re feeling overwhelmed please reach out to someone.
And a couple of more ideas. Be sure you move your body. are a great way to do just that especially if, God forbid, you end up having to self-isolate.
And as handshakes and hugs are out, try practicing creative ways to greet others. There’s the elbow bump and the foot tap. There’s also a smile and a nod (and hey, both of those are Original Strength Resets :)). There’s also hands together while bowing to another person. And offering a blessing to the other person goes nicely with a bow.
So let’s have a healthy respect for covid-19. And let’s band together to “flatten the curve” by tending and befriending.
Let’s create and hold space for hope and positivity and not allow fear to take up all the real estate in our hearts, minds, communities, and world. Now go wash your hands!