By Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Independence Township
As we are forced into the COVID-19 culture, we’ve spent countless hours focused on our physical and financial health. We check for signs of fever. We check our finances. It is the nature of the world in which we live these days.
But as we incorporate scary-sounding phrases like “social distancing” and “self-isolation” into our daily vocabularies, it’s apparent we must also devote time and attention to our mental and emotional health. We cannot neglect it in these turbulent times.
With that in mind, I would like to share some of the strategies and resources offered by experts for coping with coronavirus.
Share facts, not fear. It’s one of the strategies offered by the Centers for Disease Control. Knowing and sharing accurate information about the virus and how to fight it will help dispel rumors and keep people focused on effective strategies. The state of Michigan has a website devoted to accurate COVID-19 information at https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/.
Take a break from the news and social media when it gets to be too much. That’s another tip offered on the CDC’s webpage for managing stress and anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak. We must stay informed, but as the CDC notes, hearing about the pandemic non-stop can be upsetting. We need healthy diversions. Revisit a hobby you had abandoned from lack of time, or whittle down that ‘to-do’ list around the house. My family has spent time at our cottage up north, where we enjoy pies from our favorite shop. Take time to appreciate the little things, like really good pie.
Exercise regularly, get enough sleep and take other necessary steps for a healthy body and mind. Take deep breaths when you need to relax. Meditate, do yoga, or something else to get yourself in a healthier place. As the weather warms, getting outside will be an option available for more and more Oakland County residents. Make it part of a daily routine – we can still have structure while taking steps to avoid the virus. My dog, Boomerang, has never been happier to have his humans home for daily walks. You can utilize our miles of safety paths and sidewalks, or visit our county parks, which are not requiring a pass for now. Just remember the buildings within the parks are not open.
Stay connected with the people who matter most. Make a phone call, start a video chat, or send an email. When the weather cooperates, do what my neighbors and I are doing and talk to each other from your front porch. Physical distancing does not have to end communication.
Remember always, our local health departments are here for you, and they are working harder than ever during this crisis. The Oakland County Health Division has a COVID-19 website at https://www.oakgov.com/covid/Pages/default.aspx and the Oakland Community Health Network has a coronavirus website at https://oaklandchn.org/index.php/coronavirus-covid-19-information.
People who are alone or sequestered with others (and feeling lots of stress) can still call Common Ground’s crisis helpline at 1-800-231-1127, or they can text and chat. It does help to talk with someone. Of course, people can also go or take family members or others to Common Ground’s Resource and Crisis Center in Pontiac for emergency help. Please don’t forget to tell others about this wonderful resource in our county, with a website at commongroundhelps.org.
We will get through this more quickly if we all commit to be part of the solution rather than the problem. Stay positive, and stay healthy. My office is working remotely so if I can help in any way, please reach me at AndreaSchroeder@house.mi.gov.