How To Face The Fear of COVID-19
Written By: Kaitlyn Duchien
We know what you’re probably thinking. “Great. ANOTHER PSA about COVID-19. Just what I wanted to see.” We get it. At Face The Fear, we battled whether or not we should add another voice to the already overwhelming media noise bombarding you from every angle. But, we also felt it would be insensitive to go silent on an issue that is seriously impacting the lives of our audience on a physical, mental, emotional, and financial scale. So – if you’re sick of hearing more about COVID-19 – you have permission to close out of this article and move on with the rest of your day (no hard feelings). But – if you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, or scared about everything happening in the world – stay here, friend. Let’s talk about it openly and share some ideas for how to take care of your body, mind, and wallet.
Unless you’ve been living in complete isolation (oh wait – that’s what you’re supposed to be doing), you already know about what COVID-19 is, how to detect the symptoms, and what preventative measures you can take to keep yourself (and others) safe. In case you need a refresher, you can find all of the most current and factual information from the CDC here. Also, just a friendly reminder, we are all humans and must work as a collective unit to overcome an issue like this on a global scale. That means thinking about the wellbeing of others before yourself. If you have a strong, healthy immune system, take a moment to be grateful for that blessing! But, also acknowledge that this blessing comes with responsibility. While your body might have a supercharged defense system capable of attacking and defeating the virus, others are not so lucky and depend on you to help them stay healthy. Don’t take your health for granted. Show some love for others by washing your hands, cleaning your space, and maybe leaving behind a package of toilet paper for your neighbor?
If today’s news is making you feel like you’ve somehow landed on set of the next zombie apocalypse movie, you’re not alone. Words like “pandemic” and “quarantine” are scary, especially when the last time you heard them was while binge-watching The Walking Dead (no judgement – we’ve been there). Everyone processes information differently, and some may experience higher levels of mental and emotional stress than others. There is no right or wrong way to feel in response to the media messages you are receiving. However, chances are, you’ve experienced a negative impact on your lifestyle to some degree as a result of recent world events. With that said, it is just as important to take care of your emotional health as your physical health. Case in point: research has emerged revealing a correlation between negative emotional responses and lowered immunity. So, let’s take care of our mind and emotions so our body can take care of itself. Here are a few ways to give your mind and soul some TLC (all in the comfort of your own home):
- Find a few new healthy recipes you’d like to try and get cooking! If you’re wanting to avoid the grocery store, try out a meal kit or grocery delivery service. I just received my first box from Imperfect Foods, a company that delivers high quality food deemed “not pretty enough” to be sold in most grocery stores. We received a week’s worth of groceries (including fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and fancy cheeses) all for $52. (P.S. Face The Fear is not sponsored by any food delivery service. We just genuinely like the companies linked above).
- Plan a Facetime date with friends or family! Is there a friend or relative you haven’t chatted with in a while? Now is the perfect opportunity to catch up. Check in on loved ones, share your thoughts and feelings about current world events, and strengthen your support system. You can even get creative by watching a movie, playing a board game you both have at home, or sharing a meal “together” – all over video chat. Technology is a beautiful thing.
- Have you been avoiding the gym because of all the people who never wipe down their machines after use? (You know who you are). Or maybe you’ve been wanting to save some money on a gym membership by starting an at-home workout routine? Here’s your motivation! Physical exercise will not only keep your immune system at the top of it’s game, but it will also provide your brain the endorphins it needs to combat stress. YouTube has millions of free at-home workout videos – from yoga, to strength training, to dance, to Jazzercize. Time to get your Jane Fonda on.
- Unplug. Seriously. Turn off your phone, computer, and TV for an hour. Give your brain a break from the information overload that can so easily lead to emotional exhaustion. While it is important to stay informed about world events, too much information (especially inaccurate information) can be harmful to your overall wellbeing. Instead, use that hour to read a book, watch a movie, start a new project – anything that will completely remove you from the current media madness.
- If stress is severely impacting your ability to perform normal daily activities (such as eating, sleeping, and working), please reach out to a health care professional or contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration at 800-985-5990.
- We’d love to hear your creative ideas for how to take care of your emotional health at home. Share them in the comments below.
3. Facing The Fear of Our Financial Future
Along with all of the media coverage about COVID-19, you’ve probably heard that the stock market had a rough week last week. The S&P 500 dropped 20% from its recent peak, an official signal of a bear market. This is due to the uncertainty that comes with how COVID-19 will affect labor, supply chain, travel, safety, and multiple industries at large (think: cruise lines and hospitality). With the market on a roller-coaster ride, it can be easy to panic and want to pull any invested funds out of the market (such as money in your 401k or IRA). However, a correction is a natural part of the market cycle and actually provides a lot of potential benefits for long-term investors. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a Millennial (or Gen Z) who’s got 40-50+ years until retirement. This means you have 40-50+ years to ride the market roller coaster and eventually retire with a significant return on your initial investment (averaging around a 10% annual return, looking back over the last 30 years. P.S. Past performance does not guarantee future results).
Side note: you might also be hearing that, currently, the stock market is “cheap,” meaning you can buy more stocks with less money. So, as a Millennial, this may be an excellent opportunity to think of increasing the percentage of your 401k or IRA contribution, or opening an investment account for the first time. Ultimately, if you buy into the market when prices are low, you’ll get more bang for your buck (one facet of dollar-cost averaging). Think about it this way: you have $100 to spend on toilet paper. Each roll costs $10, so you can buy 10 rolls. What happens when Walmart has a 50% off sale on toilet paper? Now, each roll only costs $5 and you can buy 20 rolls! (PSA: just because you can buy 20 rolls does not necessarily mean you should). Stocks function in a similar way. When the price of a stock decreases, you can buy more of them with the same amount of money and increase your potential for earnings if you’re willing to hold those stocks over a long period of time. (As always, when it comes to investing, make sure you work with a financial professional to help you achieve your specific financial goals).
For current information about COVID-19: please visit the CDC’s website here.
Got questions? Email us at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to leave a comment sharing how you’ve been taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally!
And remember: WASH YOUR HANDS (not just during a pandemic). Society (and your mother) thanks you.