Day two of in-place shelter right here in California the place I stay, one of many states hardest hit by the coronavirus. As my child boomer husband stated the opposite day: “Waking up for one more day in Coronaville.”
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This is our new normal.
The governor of California issued a stay-at-home statewide order on Thursday in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. To date, five other states have done the same. Basically, that means staying home except going to the store, checking in on parents, going to the doctor, or exercising outside (as long as you stay six feet away from everything. the world). Schools and all non-essential businesses have been closed. If this news wasn’t dire enough, the governor also warned that 56% of California’s population was at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Now there is a sobering thought.
We baby boomers – especially those aged 60 and over – well, it turns out we’re the most likely to get seriously ill from this virus. While we felt young, tough, and invincible when we first heard about this pandemic, it seems baby boomers are finally taking note. And it’s a good thing.
Don’t be alarmist, but can I make a suggestion? If you are a baby boomer over 65 and not in self-quarantine or isolation, you should give this serious thought, even if it is not currently necessary where you live. This is most definitely the case if you have any underlying health issues. I know I know. Automatic quarantine wasn’t exactly on your wishlist, and we baby boomers are used to being active and social. But look at what happened in China and what is happening in Italy and Spain right now at breakneck speed.
The transmission of COVID-19 is highly contagious and incredibly easy to transmit. Now medical experts tell us the virus can survive on surfaces for up to three days. Younger people may not even be symptomatic, so family members or friends can pass the disease without even realizing it. Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period (the time between when you contract the virus and the onset of your symptoms) for the new coronavirus is between 2 and 14 days after the start. ‘exposure.
The saying “prevention is better than cure” has never been truer. Okay, end the lecture, but be careful, my friends.
So what can you do if you’re like me stuck at home to get rid of all this chaos?
Before I list 10 things you can do if you are self-quarantined, remember to stay safe, but stay calm and positive. While we need to take this virus seriously, don’t get stuck on TV watching reports of dire and grim events. Instead, focus on the many reasons we all need to be thankful. At the end of the day, acknowledge that you had another chance to see the sunrise, to recognize something you accomplished, or to notice someone you are grateful to have in your life.
Okay, so here are ten ways to stay sane:
* Eat well and stay active. Now is not the time to stress out and indulge in comfort food. You will only feel worse in the end, trust me. Exercise – outdoors if possible. I continue to go for walks, biking, and hiking trails – of course keeping myself six feet from everyone, of course. Literally I can feel the stress melt away. Calm nature. However, if that’s not possible, there are a ton of free workout videos on YouTube aimed at those over 50. Check them.
* Strengthen your connections. Keep in touch with your family and friends. I belong to a small sign language congregation and we have started using Zoom for our meetings. Maybe I’m technically late as I’ve never heard of Zoom before, but it’s a great way for a group of people to communicate with each other during these times. It is so important not to isolate yourself. You can also stay in touch with your loved ones by text, email, social media, Skype or Face Time. Hate technology? Write an old-fashioned letter or create cards for loved ones to brighten up their day.
* I feel so lucky to be a writer, who has served as therapy throughout my life. Tap on your muse. Keep a journal, write a poem, or start a blog. Start the great American novel dancing in your head. Start this memoir or this family story. You will be amazed at how quickly time flies. In fact, if you’ve always dreamed of becoming a writer and want to jump into it in the golden age, stay tuned. In my new book, which will be released next year, I will provide you with inspiration and motivation while sharing my knowledge and experience to help you start your writing journey. What if you hate to write? Try another creative outlet. Painting, creating jewelry, singing or dancing.
* Do you know how we baby boomers are always asked to exercise our brains? Now is the perfect time to do it. Why not take an online course? Make a puzzle. Learn a new skill. Want to learn a new language? My son, Chris Gorges, an interpreter for the deaf, offers free educational content for those who want to learn sign language on his YouTube channel at ASL Basics.
* Take the time to savor the little moments. Even during the lockdown, you can go outside to enjoy the song of a bird, the smells after a rainstorm, or the beauty of a sunset. Enjoy simple things like the first day of spring in your garden or that first sip of coffee.
* Read those books that have accumulated dust on your shelf or check out the best bestsellers on Amazon. Looking for suggestions? I thought Elizabeth Strout’s “Olive, Again” was awesome. Mary Beth Keane’s “Ask Again, Yes” and Sayaka Murata’s quirky “Convenience Store Woman” were also worth it. And if you want to scare you, try “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides, “The Family Upstairs” by Lisa Jewell or “My Lovely Life” by Samantha Downing.
* Resist the temptation to lie in bed or relax in your pajamas all day. Get up, take a shower, brush your teeth, and put on nice clothes. Structure your day with a few goals to achieve. You will feel better and this will help you maintain a positive attitude.
* Now is the perfect time for a spring cleaning. Empty that garbage drawer, get rid of the clothes you never wear and de-clutter. Do your taxes so you have one less thing to stress. Household chores will distract you and help you feel productive.
* Do you have an old guitar or saxophone in the closet? Dust off that old instrument, take some lessons, or start practicing.
* Treat yourself. Take a long bubble bath. Listen to music from the 60s and dance around the house. Add your favorite songs to your playlist. Treat yourself to a facial treatment. Sleep or take a nap. Look through an old photo album. Sit outside in the sun. Feeling stressed out? Be sure and read something spiritual and inspirational every day. Pray. Practice deep breathing. Do Pilates. Try using an app like Calm or Headspace. Need some distraction? Watch an old favorite black and white movie from your childhood or a movie that makes you laugh out loud. Get a free trial of a streaming service and watch as much as you can before it expires.
Here. Ten things that will help you cope with these difficult and unprecedented times. You’re not alone. We baby boomers are going to experience this together!