In This Together: How to Maintain Personal & Communal Wellness in the Face of the Coronavirus
This morning as I scrolled through a news website, seeing an endless wall of coronavirus stories, I felt my chest constrict. I’m sure that many people can commiserate right now, not only pining after a yoga class or weekly dinner with friends, but worrying about that loved one with a respiratory disease, or your next paycheck. And experiencing all of that in isolation.
We Are Social Creatures
Humans are intensely social creatures; we’ve literally structured our survival around that fulcrum of interconnectedness. Which makes the intervention of social distancing for this coronavirus all the more painful. But another hallmark of our species is ingenuity. The thing that sets us apart from other mammals—who are also extremely social—is our brain capacity. So let’s put it to use in this taxing time and get creative with how we stay healthy and stay connected.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis spoke lucidly about how the state is actively counteracting the spread of this virus, and what each person can do do ease the burden on society, protect themselves, and protect others. He reassured people that it was unnecessary to stock up on toilet paper and food, because there is no shortage in the supply chain, but depleting grocery stores could create one. However, you could consider getting groceries for an elderly neighbor instead of making another unnecessary run for yourself.
Making sacrifices is difficult, but hoarding an excess of resources puts an even greater burden on the community, a community that you benefit from every day. Polis encourages people to be “a part of a virtual community together” by sharing the steps you are taking to reduce anxiety, minimize the spread of the virus, and support each other through #DoingMyPartCO. After all, we are in this together.
He goes on to suggest that people take a break from reading alarming news stories because “although it may be [his] job to manage, it doesn’t have to be yours. Enjoy those other things in life.” It’s important not to lose sight of everything else in life, but rather find ways to bring out the richness of life together in the midst of this difficulty. Hiking, biking, or simply walking in the park are still healthy, viable options for exercise and mental wellness.
Get Connected Online
Ever heard of this crazy thing called the internet? Well, it may be overused to dichotomize and polarize, but it can also be used to gather and uplift. Many yoga and meditation instructors are offering online classes; book clubs can gather via Facetime; friends can do a virtual dinner party. And if you feel especially “old-school,” dial up a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in awhile.
We Are In This Together
Although the current state of affairs can seem grim, we can pair our ingenuity and social drive in surprising ways. Take care of your mind and body with exercise, whole foods, and deep belly breathing; take care of your friends and neighbors with proper hand washing and social distancing; take care of your community by grocery shopping for the elderly or infirm. Keep updated on the CDC’s instructions for proper hygiene. And remember, we’re in this together—that’s how we have always survived and thrived.
Written by: Emily Arnold, LMT
Photo Credit: Canva
 Miller, Blair. “‘Chasing a Ghost’: Colorado Governor Says Testing for Coronavirus Days behind Spread, Announces New Restrictions.” KMGH, 17 Mar. 2020, www.thedenverchannel.com/news/coronavirus/chasing-a-ghost-colorado-governor-says-testing-for-coronavirus-days-behind-spread-announces-new-restrictions.
 “Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.