When the Coronavirus lockdown started in mid-March, I was gripped by anxiety and confused not knowing how I would survive [mentally, physically, and financially] amid a global crisis. I watched the news religiously hoping coronavirus would leave the United States just as quickly as it came. But the news reports remained unchanged and the unsettling reality was millions of people including myself were at the mercy of a relentless virus. My survivor instincts went into overdrive. If nothing else, I made up my mind to come through this pandemic with my health and sanity intact.
“Survival is the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.” Wikipedia
During the second week of isolation, I found myself sitting quietly for hours in deep thought. Finally, I asked myself – what can I do to regain footing and shield my home against the virus? I realized that surviving this pandemic will require resilience, as well as, consciousness of what I can and cannot do.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, I did not have a well-formulated emergency preparedness plan. Although a pandemic could not have been predicted, I have learned the necessity of being ready to respond to a threatened or actual crisis. This involves preparing a plan on how to access life-sustaining resources such as food, water, shelter, and medical supplies/ treatment.
“Preparedness is a state of readiness and having a set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters.” Wikipedia..
Emergency response organizations, such as FEMA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are urging individuals to equip themselves with a emergency supply checklist during COVID-19. Here are few helpful tips from ready.gov/pandemic on what to do before and during a pandemic (in case you are prohibited from leaving the house).
- Store additional supplies of food (non-perishable, ready to eat canned foods) and drinking water (one gallon per person).
- Small amount of cash $50 – $100 at home in a safe place.
- Personal hygiene supplies
- Check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
Save those coins
In addition to having an emergency preparedness plan, I learned that financial planning could mitigate the stress associated with unexpected job loss, sudden death, and disability due to sickness. FEMA in partnership with Operation Hope has a Financial First Aid Kit (FFAK) to help millions of Americans rebuild their lives in the wake of COVID-19. Several recommended safeguards can be retrieved on Marketwatch.com:
- Gather financial and critical personal information.
- Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place.
- Obtain health and life insurance if you do not have them. Review your policies to make sure the amount and types of coverage meets the requirements for all hazards.
COVID-19 changed my financial perspective. I decided to grab a calculator and dissect my finances,. I discovered I could expand my savings by alleviating nonessential expenses (e.g. cable, purchase of take-out food, random Amazon stuff, and shoes (one of my biggest weaknesses). Money discipline was not an overnight process, but it was necessary for short- and long-term survival.
Connect with family and friends
Social-distancing has made me appreciate my relationships more. Although video chatting and phone calls provide a means of communication, I truly miss the luxury of being near family and friends. I recognize that human socialization is an integral part of our existence; it provides community and a sense of belonging. So I have committed to being intentional about genuinely connecting with others – in and outside of my circle.
A great article published by theguardian.com shares amazing stories of people who used isolation as an opportunity to reconnect, heal old wounds, and create new bonds. From these stories, I was inspired to call family I have not spoken to in years. It honestly felt good as I came to realization that life is too short to hold grudges. It does not matter who calls who first. What matters is that family and friends know you care. It is not easy to admit, but we need each other to survive.
Good Health is Wealth
Self-care starts by looking within. Before COVID-19, I neglected to meditate, eat balanced meals, exercise regularly, and observe nature. My system was overstimulated and unhealthy. The lockdown has forced me to slow down and focus the spiritual, physical, and mental aspects of myself. I learned that imbalance in one or more of these areas can break down the immune system and make the body susceptible to stress, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Though this was a hard lesson, I am grateful for the stillness, mindfulness, and enjoyment my new lifestyle gives me.
Spirituality Wellness = Overall Wellness
Dedication to God or a “higher power” translated into less stress reactivity, greater feelings of well-being, and ultimately even a decreased fear of death. – Verywellmind
COVID-19 opened my eyes to the significance of spiritual well-being. This new level of awareness led me to approach spirituality through yoga, prayer, and meditation. These practices have led to a deeper connection with God and self, thus enhancing my self-esteem, sense of purpose, and vitality. The Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund of North America defines spiritual wellness as being connected to something greater than yourself and having a set of values, principles, morals and beliefs that provide a sense of purpose and meaning to life, then using those principles to guide your actions.”
Spirituality has a positive influence on mental and physical health. Research studies reveal that spiritual involvement along with gratitude can strengthen one’s overall wellness. According to verywellmind, a healthy spiritual life is linked to:
- Less hypertension
- Less stress, even during difficult times
- More positive feelings
- Less depression
- Greater psychological well-being
- Inner peace and hope
No one person spiritual journey is the same. There are different paths to connect with a higher power. So I encourage you to select activities that are unique to you and stay with them. The benefits of spirituality are long-lasting and worthwhile.
The Benefits of Spiritual Wellness and 10 Activities to Improve It https://www.cratejoy.com/box-insider/spiritual-wellness-benefits-and-activities/
Spiritual Wellness: What Is Your Meaning and Purpose? https://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm/lifelines/september-2016/spiritual-wellness-what-is-your-meaning-and-purpose/#:~:text=Spiritual%20wellness%20is%20being%20connected,principles%20to%20guide%20your%20actions.
Turn self-isolation into family bonding time: Tips to keep kids engaged during lockdown https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/turn-self-isolation-into-family-bonding-time-tips-to-keep-kids-engaged-during-lockdown/articleshow/74923722.cms?from=mdr
How Spirituality Can Benefit Mental and Physical Health https://www.verywellmind.com/how-spirituality-can-benefit-mental-and-physical-health-3144807