It’s Friday the 13th, it’s windy, the streets are deserted, and people are self quarantining or ransacking grocery stores due to fear of an unknown mystery illness. Sounds like the start of scary movie eh?
As a health practitioner, and rational human, I completely understand the purpose of self quarantine and social distancing. The same precautions should be taken with the general flu (don’t work when you are sick, wash your hands, keep a good distance from people, etc). However we’ve become a bit hysterical and the pandemic panic is palpable. I’ve seen fear and anxiety on the rise due to the constant media messaging of impeding doom and stress socializing in social media. If you bombard people with loud noise and bright flashy glaring graphics, no wonder we are reacting purely with our limbic brains and heightened anxiety.
I also understand some may read this and infer that I’m not taking things seriously but I am. I am concerned about how this mass hysteria is affecting our society, or children, and the health of everyone. Stress is the number one determinant detrimentally affecting health. If you are stress, cortisol rises, sugar rises, adrenalin rises (leading to anxiety), cortisol steals nutrients from your immune system, and your immune system becomes weakened. We are social beings – quarantine makes rational sense, however, social isolation is a risk factor for perpetuating mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Anxiety will be heightened due to lack of control, fear of unknown, and sensitivity to sensationalized media. Also the pandemic panic feeds into the hypochondriac mindset – our fears become heightened and suddenly rational thought becomes thrown out the window as we first fight our neighbors for toilet paper.
Yes everything being cancelled is concerning. In a time of fear we turn to the things that brings us together (like events, church, sports, school, work, etc). When those things are suspended, our fear heightens as we’ve lost the stabilizing things we depend on. And yes, I completely understand the precautions we are taking to decrease the spread of this virus. We need to decrease the social spread of our fear and panic as well, as it will be more detrimental to us as a society. We can approach this cancel culture with pose and calm, with clarity and control, with kindness and community. It is not necessary to ransack a grocery store and feed into global fear. Open your pantry right now – I’m positive you have enough food to sustain you for months. Grocers and store will remain open – by sequestering their shelves you worsen things by putting more pressure on the manufacturers and workers. There is enough food for us if we share appropriately and don’t hoard. As well we are fortune enough to have free flowing water from our taps. This virus does not contaminate our water supply (think of it – does the general cold and flu come from drinking tap water?).
Pandemic panic is a real disorder in response to the current coronavirus cancel culture. However, we are in control of how we react and act. Let’s set the example to our kids that in the face of adversity we remain calm. That we work together as a society to support each other. That we respond appropriately to a threat by taking the proper precautions. With the loss of seeing their media heros (with cancelling of sports and postponing of movies) they are going to look up to us as what to do. What message would you like to them to have?
Be the hero of this movie we are currently in.
Note – so what do we do? How do we stress less? Go outside and ground, do art and write, interact with your kids, read and tell stories, stay off of social media or limit exposure to media, deep breathing, start growing foods or eat veggies to improve immune system, laugh, listen to meditative music or rock out to Beyonce. Take this time as a gifted opportunity for you to organize and plan how to spend the rest of your year, and take the gift of time to do the things you’ve put off due to “no time”.