Staying up to date on coronavirus might seem impossible. Staying calm after reading the news can feel even harder. There is so much information—and misinformation—online right now that sorting out what is Fact vs. Fiction can be difficult. And because social media prioritizes crisis content in your feed, this information is everywhere you look.
So it’s important to know what information is trustworthy and what information isn’t. We know you have a lot of questions. We’re here to help with the infodemic and offer a few relaxation tips to help you destress along the way.
Q: What is coronavirus?
A: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus strain. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this virus and since it is new, there is currently no vaccine for it.
Q: Who should be concerned about COVID-19?
A: While most people will recover on their own, it has the potential to cause severe illness and sometimes death among certain groups of people. These groups include people who are over the age of 65 and/or people who have other health conditions, such as chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system. It is important to remember that even if healthy young people are less likely to get really sick from COVID-19, they can still spread it to vulnerable people. That’s why everyone in the world is doing their part to keep loved ones healthy.
Q: How does it spread?
A: Health experts are still learning more about the virus every day. Currently, it is thought to spread:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) via coughing or sneezing.
- Through touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Q: How can I keep myself and others safe?
A: There are simple things you can do to lower your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Try singing the chorus to your favorite song to pass the 20 seconds while scrubbing. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Disinfect high-touch areas like doorknobs, countertops, and light switches—and don’t forget your cell phone!
- Practice physical distancing. This means staying home as much as possible and limiting the people you physically interact with. Video calls and digital hangouts are A-ok!
Q: What can I do if I feel stressed or anxious by the whole COVID-19 situation?
A: We know that this is a lot and it can feel overwhelming—especially when you are stuck at home all day. Luckily, there are ways to help yourself stay cool, calm, and collected during these hectic times.
- Achieve ultimate Zen with meditation or art therapy to help destress.
- Virtually connect with people to check-in and see friends. You can host a virtual movie night where friends watch the same movie together online or binge-watch a series together.
- Reconnect with your home (both your space and the people around you!). Try moving your bedroom furniture around for a different layout or try making dinner for your family.
- Journal. Take all those thoughts that may be cluttering your headspace and write them down.
- Create a “Staying at Home” playlist and share with friends. Don’t be afraid to then take it up a level and host a virtual dance party.
- Talk it out. Whether it’s with a friend, a family member, a trusted adult, or a therapist, talking through the things that weigh on you—no matter how big or small—is an important part of self-care. Need someone to talk to? TeenLink provides free, confidential help to teens. Find out more at www.teenlink.org.
We get that so many things have changed and that we’ve had to press pause on some major events. It’s hard—and it’s okay to miss these things, as well as the small, normal routines of daily life. But it’s important to remember that these moments show us just how strong we are and that we are still able to laugh, learn, and stick together even while apart. And if you’re struggling, know that it’s okay to reach out for help. We can—and will—get through this together.