This week, I watched two older women nearly get into a fist fight over canned corn and I found myself on the brink of tears of joy and gratitude when a client gifted me a pack of toilet paper. If someone had told me that this was going to be my reality at the beginning of the month, I’d have told them to lay off the wacky-tobacky before gazing into their crystal ball.

Yet here we are, as individuals and as a collective consciousness, trekking into uncharted territory.

Isn’t that life though? We get stuck in our comfort zones and when something threatens our routine, our way of life or our habits, we panic. That is exactly what is happening now on a global scale. People are panicking because they don’t know what to expect.

The truth is our safety and security is always being threatened in some way. Every six seconds, someone dies from a smoking-related diseases. Every twelve minutes, someone takes their own life. Every 37 seconds, someone dies from heart disease. Every year, 12,000-30,000 people die from the regular flu. Disease, be it viral or otherwise, is rampant whether the news is reporting it or not.
We panic because we feel ourselves losing control over the lives we have meticulously planned out when something happens that we don’t understand. I get it, I used to get anxiety over the safety of a dog in a movie.

There are two things that we can control to some degree right now that are far more effective and reasonable responses than shanking each other over canned goods. Our anxiety and our immunity, both of which are positively affected by exercise. While fear and taking a step back are natural responses, panic and laziness are not.

This is an opportunity to work on changing your stress response and instilling new habits. Here are my five tips to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic instead of reacting to it.

Physical Health

  1. While many gyms are closing, this is the perfect time to consider purchasing some basic at home equipment for strength training. You can also make a playlist on YouTube of cardio and Yoga or other stretching routines.
  2. Instead of reading the news or scrolling on social media, check out some nutrition or workout articles. Limit media intake (including social media) to 10-15 minutes twice a day.
  3. Aim to intake more immunity boosting foods such as spinach, garlic, almonds, mushrooms and cinnamon.
  4. Go for a bike ride, walk your dog, run up and down your stairs or jog around the neighborhood.
  5. Make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day to keep your immunity strong.

You have a choice. Are you buying up the entire county’s supply of toilet paper or are you planning some fun indoor activities for yourself or with your family? Are you rolling around in hand sanitizer or are you researching healthy recipes that are going to boost your body’s defenses in fighting anything it might be exposed to.

We are always so go-go-go and stuck in our ways and now the Universe has laughed in our faces and told us that we can either roll with the punches or we can get knocked out. Now is the perfect time to quit smoking. Now is the perfect time to slay that workout. Now is the perfect time to pull up a Yoga video on YouTube and lion’s face away the anxiety. Now is the perfect time to spend an extra minute with your pets or kids or close friends.

Yes, take precautions. But focus on the ones that matter. The ones you can control. Not the worst-case-scenario what-ifs.

Amanda Webster

Amanda is an Arizona-based writer and vegan fitness model who overcame clinical depression on her own terms with fitness, nutrition and lifestyle changes. She has been published as a writer and model internationally both in health and fitness magazines and professional blogs. She is also a certified DDP Yoga instructor and went to school at the award winning Southwest Institute of Healing Arts where she majored as a Mind-Body-Wellness practitioner with a specialty in holistic nutrition. When she isn’t shooting or writing, she is usually geocaching with her son, traveling or championing for one of her humanitarian causes.

IG: @amandawebsterhealth