It may have seemed like it happened overnight, but the spread of new novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) from China to the rest of the world has been creeping into Americans’ collective consciousnesses for months now. A few days ago, the situation escalated and the United States adopted and began to accept a strange new normal under a national state of emergency due to the pandemic.

Thursday was supposed to be a busy one for me—two meetings, finishing up a column about Ohio’s medical marijuana program updates, squeezing in an afternoon hot yoga class, popping by a friend’s benefit for their non-profit, and rounding out the day decompressing and distressing with friends listening to the Jerry Garcia Band, a Grateful Dead tribute band concert in Clifton. The meetings and show were cancelled, of course, and my column and yoga class became increasingly irrelevant through the day as I began to focus on the news—which now was only about one thing.

Allaying Fears During Coronavirus

This new normal means a lot of changes—social distancing, self-quarantining if you’re sick or at-risk, and only going out if you need to if you’re healthy. If we aren’t careful, we’ll give way to fears: fear of contracting the virus, fear of our loved ones getting sick or dying, and even fear of running out of supplies while panic ensues around us. But as Franklin Roosevelt said and many have analyzed, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

So how do we become less afraid of this thing?

The answer lies in staying educated and aware without giving way to irrational fears or terror. Knowledge is power, but it’s easy to obsess. The more we focus on a thing, the more that thing begins to take hold of us. So don’t let it. Stay vigilant, but also take these weeks as an opportunity to live your life differently. Here are some key ways you can preserve your physical and emotional health in the coming weeks and months:

Wash, wash, dance.

There can never be too much education on ways to help stop the spread of Coronavirus and as a former Zumba instructor, I fully support the worldwide effort to communicate the importance of hand washing non-verbally through dance. In addition to being so, so adorable, these videos mindfully help educate children and re-educate adults to do their part to keep this virus from affecting more people. Here are a few of my favorites:

These dances can also be a great way to keep quarantined children occupied during cabin fever episodes! It also reminds us that we are all one, and that disease affects everyone, no matter what race, nationality, or religion you are. Get dancing!

Get outdoors and breathe

Sporting events, concerts, and gatherings over 50 people are all cancelled, so why not take this time to reconnect with nature? Getting out of your home and getting some fresh air can significantly contribute to your health.

On Friday, I hiked East Fork Lake in Cincinnati.

East Fork Lake

Perhaps take this time and this pleasant weather to check out some of Ohio’s best hiking spots.

Plan smart, not fearfully. Don’t be greedy.

The best thing we can all do under self-quarantine measures is to stay informed about and prepared for the Coronavirus emergencies, both locally and nationally and know what to do where you live. Plan ahead for a few weeks that will be based more around the home. While that may mean grabbing one extra toilet paper, it does not mean shelf-clearing. Panicking helps no one, least of all the most vulnerable among us, so make sure that you’re checking on your loved ones and sharing extra goods if you have them.

Stay informed. Stay vigilant. Stay clean.

Stay healthy, Ohio!