Women’s Health

Helping Yourself and Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic


Taking Care of Yourself

Continue to observe social distancing and hand hygiene as long as recommended – This will protect you as well as those around you.

If sheltering in place, social distancing, or whatever you are observing is starting to get to you, here are some suggestions for handling the feeling that the walls are closing in:

Keep a regular schedule – especially sleep. Eat meals at regular times and keep your day structured to the extent that you can.

Get out of your pajamas – We tend to behave as we are dressed. If you are able to work from home, dress for work.

Also switch it up a bit – Consider changing your furniture around to help your surroundings feel fresher.

Eat a healthy diet – This will not only help you feel better, but plenty of fruits and vegetables can boost your immune system.

Exercise – Whether it is a brisk walk or run outside (at a six foot distance from others!) or exercise inside, exercise clears the mind, raises energy and endorphin levels, and helps us sleep better.

Socialize – Stay in touch with others through technology – texts, emails, FaceTime, Zoom or other online apps for meetings, and there is always the phone!

Virtual travel – Many museums, including those of the Smithsonian Institution, have developed means to virtually view the museum. Zoos and other public institutions are also offering online viewing. Search for the web site of the museum or other institution you are interested in to see the specific opportunities available. Facebook Live, Instagram and podcasts are other ways museums are making their collections available at this time.

Read – the New York Public Library has made its collection of over 300,000 e-books and e-audiobooks available to the public through its website, https://www.nypl.org/about/remote-resources. Check your local library’s website for the online opportunities in your own area.

As soon as I get some time… Consider taking on a project or two that you’ve been waiting to do.

Spend time with family but also seek solitude – Game nights, movie nights, home schooling, are all ways families are spending time together. Also take some time for yourself as you need it.

Take a break from news – The news these days can be overwhelming. While you probably want to stay current, a steady stream of the same information all day can be unnerving.

Have a meal “out” – While many restaurants are closed for dining in, many still offer takeout with delivery or curb-side pickup. Switch up your routine and support a local business by occasionally ordering out.

Cabin fever involves a range of negative emotions and stress due to restricted movement. These can include irritability boredom, restlessness and difficulty concentrating. The current situation will not last forever. There is some acceptance necessary to know that we need to follow certain procedures now, but there are ways we can help ourselves cope. Deep breaths, everyone.

Taking Care of Others

There are many ways we can take care of others while still maintaining social distance.

Be responsible – the more we can practice the recommended hygiene and social distancing, the more we are protecting others as well as ourselves.

Helping seniors – The elderly in particular may need extra help navigating this situation.

  • Check on seniors by phone.
  • Offer to shop or pickup online orders for groceries or pharmacies.
  • Offer to dog-walk.
  • Offer to take the elderly to doctor appointments. You can keep some distance by having riders sit in the back seat.
  • Assist seniors with technology such as Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom. Practice good hygiene if visiting in person.
  • If you have loved one living in assisted or nursing home situations, respect the rules of the facility with regard to visiting (or not) at this time.
  • Write notes or send cards to those living in senior housing where visits are restricted.

Check on neighbors – Especially those with elderly family members or small children.

Donate blood – donations are down at this time. The American Red Cross is setting up donation locations with attention to hygiene and keeping individuals at a distance from each other.

Donate to non-profits – This is usually the time of year that many non-profits hold fundraisers. There are many non-profits especially focused on the needs of the current situation. They include: Feed the Children, Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation Salvation Army, United Way and many more.

Donate to food pantries – Both grocery and cash donations are helpful.

Patronize local restaurants – Ordering takeout or purchasing gift cards for future use provide support.

Cut down on food waste – Store food properly, wait to wash produce until you need it, freeze items you don’t expect to use soon, and make good use of leftovers. You could also share your extras with seniors or neighbors.

Often, the best way to get out of our own heads or worries is to focus on others. There is plenty to be done and plenty that can be done within the parameters of keeping ourselves and our families safe.