There is a plethora of supposed medical information currently circulating the internet, and much of it is based on conjecture or rumour, some are even malicious as if times weren’t hard enough.
However, one unalienable fact is that stress and anxiety will in some way impact on the immune system, so maybe before we start queuing up to fill the car with toilet rolls and pasta, take some time to create a little moment of calm for yourself, it can only do you good.
We humans don’t respond well to Increased levels of anxiety around our home family and social lives, throw employment, mortgages or rent into the mix, and we are increasing stress and anxiety all the time. You may have paid for a holiday that might not happen, finance on the car, tax bills, the weekly shopping now your stress and anxiety are flying at unprecedented levels. One of the family gets a cough, panic, anxiety and stress is now a daily occurrence.
So Let’s take a breath and look at some science. When we are worried about something, we produce stress hormones such as cortisol. When this worry is constant, the immune system “could” become compromised, which “could” increase health risks. “Could” does not mean it will.
Aside from the widely publicised practical measures such as washing your hands, there is a lot we can do with our emotional attitude to help reduce the possibility of future illness.
Now every story has two sides, by constantly worrying about the “coronavirus” you may “possibly” weaken your immune system, and if you did come into contact with someone carrying the virus, you may be less well equipped physically to deal with it, the same as you would be less well equipped to deal with the common cold, a cough a cut finger, recovering from surgery, or something worse.
Let’s take another breath and apply some logic, the human race is many millions of years old, we have supposedly evolved into intelligent clear thinking beings, capable of many things, manned flight into outer space, transplanting a human heart, lungs, liver or kidney. I could send this message to millions of people worldwide in less time than it takes to read it. We have fought wars, survived the plague, rid the world of killer diseases.
This is just another test of our frailty as humans, but we will survive.
If you are worried about not having enough toilet roll or pasta, think about the children currently undergoing chemotherapy, who may or may not come out of the other side of their treatment, a boot full of toilet paper is not going to improve their quality of life.
Servicemen and women who are keeping the world we enjoy safe, would you do their job for all the rice and pasta in the local supermarket?
This panic buying only feeds into our fears for vulnerable groups like the elderly or those with pre-existing health concerns, which in turn feeds back into our own anxiety.
Your kids need to know you are there for them, not how much toilet paper is stacked up in the spare room. Elderly parents need the occasional phone call, just to make sure they are well, not to be told you have twenty kilos of pasta in the garage.
So, take another breath and just relax, we will get through this, after all, we are human.
Take a moment to tell someone that you care, be good to yourself, and remember that “Social Isolation” Does not mean “Social Ignorance”
If you feel your anxiety rising and need an escape route, this might help. Show your kids how to do this and learn from them, they are great teachers.
Get somewhere comfortable to sit.
Find a spot on the wall and just lazily stare at it.
Close your eyes and very slowly begin counting to ten
Imagine each number has been written on water, in a different colour, and it is just dissolving at the same speed physical tension is released from your arms and legs.
When you are relaxed go for an imaginary wander around your own body, reconnect with your fingers and toes, reconnect with the way you smell the air around you, take a moment to hear any and all sounds, even the one you can’t hear, an ant might scratch itself if it has an itch, and that will make a noise, wonder for a moment what it might sound like.
And lastly with your eyes closed just take just a few minutes to find out what having nothing to see looks like?