I live in an apartment complex and was at the dumpster yesterday taking out my trash. As I came around the corner, I saw someone else arriving with several bags. Looking closer, I noticed the items were mostly unused perishable food. My blood started to boil as my mind jumped to, ‘You’re throwing away food that others could use.’ My attack impulse was triggered.
But before I could open my mouth, I noticed a combination of fear and shame on his face, he wasn’t expecting to be seen. I shifted gears, ‘These are interesting times, you and yours doing ok?’ From there the conversation evolved into a back and forth about fear and what to do about it with one line from him especially resonating with me;
‘For me, my panic is worse than the disease itself.’dumpster guy
Walking away from the exchange I committed to fighting and winning my own battle with panic and sharing my strategy with you.
Here’s my strategy compressed into a Top Four List:
- Stay Appropriately Informed – selective news sourcing and social media strategies
- Stay Physically Healthy – healthy bodies when health care unavailable
- Stay Mentally Healthy – mindset training and educational resources to weather the storm
- Stay Emotionally Healthy – enriching relationships while practicing social distancing
Stay Appropriately Informed – selective news sourcing and social media strategies
The starting point for appropriate action is always accurate information, but how do I get reliable COVID19 info without getting overwhelmed by contradicting reports, scorching politicization, ridiculous memes and/or misinformation? This is the first question we are collectively attempting to answer.
I have been using this time to filter my social media feeds for content that is helpful, positive, and substantive. Crisis brings out the best and worst of us, both off and online, and in the midst of the madness I can’t afford the worst. I’ll leave you a sampling of what has survived my digital cleansing:
- For raw stats on the infections, deaths, recoveries and serious COVID19 cases, see this link: Coronavirus Dashboard
- Not a huge fan of government agencies, but there is a ton of good info on the CDC Homepage
- For an hour long episode of everything you need to know about the virus, check out Dr. Paul Cottrell’s YouTube Interview – for more on Dr. Cottrell, see his webpage
- Stefan Molyneux’s SubscribeStar feed has lots of coronavirus content and updates several times per week
- For a list of positive coronavirus happenings see my recent Facebook post
- For social media philanthropy, there is none better than Bill Pulte
- For uplifting memes and web content I like Kevin W
- For reminders on how awesome people can be check out People are Awesome on YouTube
Each of these links has actionable information that has helped to both keep me informed (I’m not hiding from reality) and active (I need productive things to do to keep my mind occupied). From a foundation of informed action I can build the rest of my practice.
Stay Physically Healthy – healthy bodies when health care unavailable
Our healthcare system is likely to be overwhelmed with patients and in some areas, already is. Test kits are hard to find and effective treatments still in development. Since I’m not a doctor, I will focus on prevention rather than medical cures and since hygiene and social distancing practices have been widely circulated, I won’t attempt to add to those conversations.
First and foremost, exercise. In most areas, gyms are closed but thanks to the advent of CrossFit, equipment-free core exercises are commonly known and readily available. If you’re like me and refrained from joining the movement, see the Seven Minute Workout video for a great daily routine that you can use to get your home fitness routine started. You’ll be amazed at how much of a sweat you can get going utilizing only items you already own. Physical activity while quarantined will feel good and help keep more than your body in good shape.
A close second, eat a healthy diet. Even though there has been a run on food items, I have still found most produce and common staples to be available. I would expect this to be the case throughout the pandemic as perishables are not good candidates for hoarding. Here is a list of a few recipes that convert fresh ingredients to meals that store well in refrigerators/freezers, mix and matched with various fillers (potatoes, rice, noodles, etc.) and taste great. Invite your kids into the kitchen to help you cook, make it fun.
A few miscellaneous items I’ll leave here for good measure include:
- Vitamin Regiment – this list includes both everyday health supplements as well as homeopathic remedies to carry inventory of in the case you become sick and health care isn’t readily available.
- Intermittent Fasting – this practice has helped me stay at my ideal weight for over a year, and will help ration food over a longer period of time. Not to mention that, if combined with basic healthy food choices, keeps you out of maintaining complicated diets and calorie counting. I prefer the 18/6 method described first in the article.
- Cold Showers – I’m not saying every shower has to be 100% cold, but the health benefits are plentiful. I’ve been doing them several times/week for over a year and can speak to almost every single one of the positive outcomes listed in the article.
Stay Mentally Healthy – mindset training and educational resources to weather the storm
Your mind is an integral part of your health and garbage in equals garbage out. If the first couple months of this crisis are any indicator of how the rest is going to play out, rest assured that we will continue to be bombarded with negative news cycles, doomsday predictions, political infighting and all kinds of other mental poison. On top of that, we are likely out of work and home with kids, trying to stay positive and active with the outside world mostly shut down.
In no particular order, here is a list of content to keep your mind positively and productively occupied for months on end:
- A list of 50 of my favorite books, almost all available as ebooks or audiobooks
- The best mindset book I ever read because it was the most practical and easy to apply is Gorilla Mindset, and there is even an online Master Class
- Looking for good online self-work, see Dr. Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring Suite
- The always great Kahn Academy has partnered with Disney to create Imagineering in a Box if you’re looking for some supplemental online educational content for kids of all ages
- Piper company has posted a list of helpful resources for parents looking to try homeschooling either temporarily or for the long haul
- The man who introduced me to peaceful parenting and who has homeschooled his daughter since birth has published a YouTube video with several insights from his experience as a homeschool dad
- Tuttle Twin books are great reads for freedom lovers and have content for almost all ages
- If you are looking for classical Christian educational content, there is none better than Dr. Duke Pesta’s Freedom Project Academy
- And, if all else fails, try putting the TV on mute and turning on subtitles – at least you’ll be reading!
Stay Emotionally Healthy – enriching relationships while practicing social distancing
If you’ve taken any of the advice above and created some positive habits, you’ll be noticing improvements in your emotional health. Maybe, like me, you’ll be frequently surprised by positive emotions that sneak up on you like the gratitude I experienced for all the people who had come together to deliver essential food to my local Aldi’s in the midst of this crisis. Instead of scrambling through the store in a hurry to elbow out my fellow shoppers, I moved slowly through the store, gathering the items I needed and making casual conversation every chance I got. This was just the positive experience I needed to help prepare me for the dumpster interaction at the top of this post; who knows how that interaction would have gone without the positive setup. Without the dumpster interaction, I may not have written this article, and so on.
Thing to remember is that emotions are mostly an output of behavior, but also act as input into decision making. Keep your emotional energy positive, see below for a few examples that are especially applicable in this time of social distancing and sheltering at home:
- Write a letter to anyone you know in a nursing home, or call if you haven’t already
- Call a different loved one everyday and tell them 3 things you cherish about your relationship
- Create a gratitude journal and write one thing you’re thankful for in it everyday, post your favorites on social media – this growing list will help combat the negative news cycle
- Double down on your prayer or meditation practice – but as little as a few minutes each day can do wonders
- Spend quality time with those you are quarantined with – board games are a great option
That’s all I got for now, hope you found it helpful. Stay safe & healthy out there and leave your comments below.