© Michelle Chan
As most people already know, last Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. But ever since the start of 2020, we can already see on TV, YouTube, news articles, and social media posts, the havoc that COVID-19 has been wrecking half-way across the world.
Over the course of the past few weeks, the impact of COVID-19 has increasingly began to affect us and the communities that we live in, physically and mentally. Everyone is having to constantly adjust to a new "norm," as more news, updates, and mandates roll out across the United States.
Whether you believe it will gravely impact you, your loved ones, and your community, or whether you believe everything has been blown out of proportion, the truth is, everyone is/will be affected. In times of uncertainty, people tend to act on emotion rather than logic. Some people may run out and purchase vast amounts of things (e.g. toilet paper, food, water) as a way to ease their anxiety, while others may feel so overwhelmed that they can't seem to do any essential preparation. As with anything else, people deal with things differently, and there is often never an absolute right or wrong. (Unless of course it's someone who is trying to profit off of others' fears by purchasing large amounts of supplies and up-selling them. That would be a definite no-no.) Some people may prefer to wear masks as a precaution when going out, while others may believe that masks should only be worn by those who are ill or are medical professionals. Before we judge, remember to come from a place of openness to understanding and learning.
Unfortunately, some people have resorted to racial profiling, engaging in verbal, emotional, and physical abuse/harassment of others based on their physical presentation. Many of these victims throughout the country have been of Asian descent. And in the San Gabriel Valley, Asians make up a large part of the community. While it is understandable that people's anxieties and fears are more heightened during a pandemic or crisis situation, it is never acceptable to succumb to displaying racism and inflicting harm onto others.
We are not one, but a community. We are all in this together.
In times of hardship, there can be many opportunities to let human kindness shine through. We can all be a model of what we want to see in the world, passing on hope and joy to others when it seems unlikely and almost impossible. Lending a hand or a ear whenever possible.
And of course, before each of us can care for others, we must be sure that we are cared for ourselves. Self-care is a necessity rather than a luxury, especially at such trying times.
Whether you are trying to engage in "social distancing," being mandated to remain at home, or are quarantined, having some downtime may not be totally terrible. It can be a time to cut out the outside noise, step away from the daily grind, and allow time for introspection and reflection. Being at home doesn't mean you have to stare at a blank wall until COVID-19 is gone. There are many things you can do to keep yourself occupied and even be ready to hit the ground running once COVID-19 is a thing of the past!
What am I talking about?
*Mind in need of stimulation? Read that book you've bought but never read because you "haven't found the time" or "didn't have time" to over the past few years.
*Tired of your current job/career? Search for that new opportunity you've been wanting!
*Feeling lonely? Don't text. Call up a friend, host a group videochat through Google hangout or Facebook Messenger.
*Bored? Catch up on all those movies/shows you've been wanting to start/finish!
*Stressed out from all the constant bombardment and updates about COVID-19? Limit your consumption about it (e.g. reading 2 articles a day and/or watching only 15 minutes of news/online clips a day).
*Family members/roommates getting on your nerves? Have a talk about how you can respect one another's space and privacy a bit more, as you'll be continuing to remain in a confined space for a period of time.
*Feeling lethargic? Open the windows for some fresh air, or better yet, step outside to your back yard and walk around for a few minutes while you aborb some sunlight.
Social distancing is essential in keeping not just you, but also individuals who are at higher risk, safe.
To reiterate... We are not one, but part of a community. We are all in this together.
During this time, of all the things you can be... Be careful. Be well. Be considerate.
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" - Aristotle