So on this third Friday of community sheltering in place – a true marathon not a sprint – Coastside CERT is continuing to check in.
We hope you are staying informed with official trusted information and the preventative measures you are taking are becoming part of your ‘new normal.’ I’m doing my best to not get too wrapped up in all the various statistics, talking heads, and social media self-declared “experts”.
As an essential employee, I have not been sheltering in a single household but I have heard several acquaintances say they are starting to get cabin fever, one wondering out loud if the families in the Donner party were even hungry.
I have been reaching out and checking in with several CERT members in the community. It is encouraging to hear of all the different ways you are protecting yourselves and others while maintaining relationships and building neighborhood networks. If you are volunteering outside your home to help your community it is critically important to follow the guidelines here and here to stay safe and healthy and not spread Covid-19 to others even if you have no symptoms.
A big thank you to Cañada Cove’s evening applause to health care workers around the world.
The Fire District’s call volume has been low. We are at full staffing and healthy. As we move into Spring, we will soon be out clearing the vegetation growth around fire hydrants. Our prevention department started their annual weed abatement program and has sent letters to vacant landowners to clear their property by May 15th. Following that notification, a private contractor will begin mowing non-conforming properties and all costs will be assigned to the owners’ property tax.
Your mission for the week, should you chose to accept it, is to:
- Make sure your address is visible from the street.
- If you have a fire hydrant on or in front of your property, you may want to clear it… (I’m just saying, your finished product will probably look better than ours)
- Look at your yard and house and see what you could do to limit the spread of fire from your property line to your house.
- Do you have stored combustibles that wind driven embers could land on that might spread to your house?
- If you had 10 minutes to evacuate, and you could dedicate it strictly to preparing your yard and home to withstand a wildland fire, what would you do?
Can you spend a few hours this week getting a head start on that? Here is a link to “defensible space.”
During this time it’s perfectly normal to cycle through emotions, feelings and sensations. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the COVID-19 outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
Common sources of stress during this period of time may include a drop in meaningful activities, sensory stimuli and social engagement, financial strain from being unable to work, and a lack of access to typical coping strategies such as going to the gym or attending religious services.
Psychologists’ research has found that during a period of social distancing, quarantine or isolation, you may experience:
Fear and anxiety – You may feel anxious or worried about yourself or your family members contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. It’s also normal to have concerns about obtaining food and personal supplies, taking time off work or fulfilling family care obligations. Some people may have trouble sleeping or focusing on daily tasks.
Depression and boredom – A hiatus from work and other meaningful activities interrupts your daily routine and may result in feelings of sadness or low mood. Extended periods of time spent at home can also cause feelings of boredom and loneliness.
There are ways you can reduce stress!
Limit news consumption to reliable sources – It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Psychologists recommend balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities unrelated to quarantine or isolation, such as reading, listening to music or learning a new language. Trusted organizations — including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the World Health Organization — are ideal sources of information on the virus.
Create and follow a daily routine – Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely. Integrate other healthy pastimes as needed.
Stay virtually connected with others – Your face-to-face interactions may be limited, but psychologists suggest using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation. Social media groups have already formed to facilitate communication and support among individuals asked to quarantine.
Pets – Relying on pets for emotional support is another way to stay connected. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend restricting contact with pets if you contract COVID-19 until the risks of transmission between humans and animals are better understood.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stresses of isolation and quarantine. If needed, consider tele-health options for psychotherapy. If you already have a psychologist, contact them to see if they can continue your sessions using phone-based or online delivery.
Use psychological strategies to manage stress and stay positive – Examine your worries and aim to be realistic in your assessment of the actual concern as well as your ability to cope. Try to focus on what you can do and accept the things you can’t change. One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. You may also choose to download smartphone applications that deliver mindfulness and relaxation exercises. They may contain coping and resilience resources such as exercises for deep breathing, positive imagery, muscle relaxation and more.
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