Getting the facts helps you remain calm.
Remaining calm in the face of what feels like the unknown can be difficult, and catastrophizing (assuming the worst) can be a hard habit to break, especially when you are constantly bombarded by news relating to the increasing infection rates associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).
One of the keys to remaining calm, as Linda Blair, clinical psychologist, suggests, is making the unknown known, in other words getting the facts…from a credible source…and working hard to train yourself to think logically about the situation.
Habits are stubborn, and in many cases, people have behaved the same way for years, perhaps decades, because they’ve had a bad experience that they didn’t see coming, or because it’s what their parents did and they copy the patterns of behavior they saw growing up. Blair says a bad habit is always ready to jump back into your life, especially when you get highly emotional, but a solution is to learn to be rational and calm. In addition to getting factual information from credible sources, of the several methods to regaining control of a catastrophizing mind, Blair recommends something simple: make a list of your most calm and sensible friends, and let them know that you may phone them once in a while, as you sometimes feel out of control. "The best way to gain perspective [on your worries] is to talk with someone else and put it outside you," Blair said. "You don't have to rush to a therapist...but it's hard work. It takes a good season, a good three months, sometimes six months, to start to change a habit," so we encourage you to talk with one another, to listen to one another, and help each other get the facts about what’s going on.
For more about learning to be rational and calm, we turned to an expert on the subject, Dr. Luana Marques, at Harvard Medical School, who has put out a series of excellent on-line presentations that are helpful in “cooling off our brains,” as she mentions, and coping with coronavirus anxiety. Click here: Harvard Medical School Videos …she’s delightful and really gets it!
Friends, like the ones you’ve come to rely on a ClareMedica, can help you understand where to get the facts and that you’re not alone. As your health care friends, we want to make sure you remember the following:
You might feel fine, but you could be carrying the virus. Stay home. There’s mounting evidence that a significant number of people who contract this highly contagious virus are not showing symptoms. Staying home is the heart, soul, and science of stopping the virus’ spread.
Practice hygiene, a lot of hygiene. Wash your hands frequently…every chance you get. Don’t touch your face. Disinfect the things you touch all the time: the fridge door, the doorknob, the kitchen faucet and counters. You’re probably using your cellphone and remote a little more than usual - keep them clean.
Please don’t call 911 or go to the hospital with mild symptoms; 911 and hospitals must be reserved for patients with severe respiratory problems or other critical medical emergencies. Call us first, we’re here to help and can often put your mind at ease with a phone call or a telehealth appointment.
Wearing a mask if you must go out is now recommended; it may protect you and it will protect others. Maybe consider a scarf or bandanna or a homemade mask but please know that medical masks are desperately needed by health care workers who are face-to-face with sick patients every day. Have a look at this great link from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that shows you how to make a mask from that old t-shirt in the bottom of your drawer… it’s easier and more fun than you think! CDC Mask Pattern …get creative.
Look after yourself, each other, and keep things in perspective… there are almost 22 million people in the state of Florida, as of this writing, there were nearly 13,000 confirmed positive cases in the State, representing a very small fraction of the population. While it is expected that a large portion of these cases will recover fully, everyone could use a little extra kindness as some will suffer more than others during this peculiar time. Step away from your TV, pick up groceries for elderly or at-risk individuals, or donate to your local food bank…you’ll feel better about everything when you do.
For more information on COVID-19, available testing facilities close to you, and the latest information on care and self-quarantine, please call the 24 hour COVID-19 call center:
COVID-19 Call Center (24/7): (866) 779-6121
Our priority is the care and safety of all of our patients and caregivers.
Have you got questions? Please see the Frequently Asked Questions - Patient Education on our blog at ClareMedica.com, or call one of our clinics to speak to a ClareMedica team member.