As a country (or perhaps as a world), it’s safe to say we’re all united against one enemy— the COVID-19 coronavirus. We want to avoid getting it ourselves, and we want to protect others. And while you might feel okay now, you should keep in mind that it can take weeks for symptoms of the coronavirus to show up.
Whether you're in quarantine, doing some serious social distancing, or have a job that requires you to interact with the public, here are some steps you can take to coronavirus-proof yourself.
Wash Your Hands
The CDC recommends washing your hands to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But don’t just use water and go. Use clean, running water and then seriously lather your hands. Get in there! Scrub for least 20 seconds. Tell Siri to set a timer or sing Happy Birthday twice. Don’t forget to dry your hands with a clean towel.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (if you can find some).
Stop Touching Your Face and Mouth
It’s hard, but you need to get out of the habit of touching your face. According to the APIC, most of us touch our faces approximately 23 times an hour. Touching the mucus membranes on our face (eyes, nose, mouth) allows germs to enter the body. It can also contribute to acne. So, if you need some extra motivation to stop touching, think about how clear your skin will get.
Most of us touch our faces approximately 23 times an hour.
Practice Social Distancing
Depending on how you look at this, it can be easy or hard. Restaurants and bars are closed in many major cities anyway. All major events have been canceled. So, if you’re thinking of inviting your closest friends over, make sure it’s a small group of people. Remember, you just aren’t protecting yourself. You’re also trying to protect other people who may have medical issues and vulnerable immune systems.
Maintain Your Health Even in Isolation
In Los Angeles (the city where I live), gyms and fitness studios have been ordered to close. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Now is a great time to try a streaming platform, like Beachbody On Demand, which offers everything from weight training and cardio workouts to dance and yoga. It has something for everyone with little or no equipment required.
“Exercise can also help improve sleep quality which in turn can improve stress. It also improves your overall sense of well-being,” says Autumn Calabrese who is a top trainer with Beachbody On Demand. “It also improves your overall health including muscle strength and cardiovascular strength. Exercise makes us both physically and mentally strong, which helps with stress and anxiety. Exercising during these times can also give us a sense of control. We are in control of our health and our bodies.”
Exercising during these times can also give us a sense of control.
Another streaming option that’s entirely free is Ridge Davis’ daily IG Live Quarantine Workouts. “I will be covering 30 minute home workouts for all fitness levels,” the trainer tells me. “All workouts are either bodyweight or use mini loop resistance bands and light dumbbells. My workouts are all taught to the rhythm and help establish a fun element of connecting with my audience through fitness, music, and smiles!”
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Don’t Forget the Connection between Physical and Mental Health
Many mental health providers like psychologists and psychiatrists are offering telemedicine and streaming options during this time. But even those who are aren’t currently diagnosed with a mental health issue may find themselves feeling the effects of panic and isolation.
Mental health impacts physical health, lowering your immunity. It’s easy to isolate and give into depression, but mental health expert Asher Gottesman (full disclose: I produce his podcast Showing Up With Asher Gottesman), says we shouldn’t become stagnant. “Stagnation leads to depression and a higher level of anxiety. It’s been proven in studies that positive thinking is a crucial piece of mental health. Therefore meditation, gratitude, and positive affirmations directly impact your mental health.”
And, if all else fails, he says, “Sometimes just believing things will be okay, makes things okay.”
Positive thinking is a crucial piece of mental health. Therefore meditation, gratitude, and positive affirmations directly impact your mental health.
So, take this time to integrate actions that support your mental health into your daily routine. If you’re trying to learn how to meditate, try an app like Calm or 10% Percent Happier. If you want daily affirmations, I highly recommend subscribing to Ava Johanna’s daily emails. They’re short, insightful and truly relevant.
This should go without saying, but if you aren’t feeling well or are displaying symptoms of coronavirus, call your doctor and avoid other people immediately.