If there’s one thing that has truly divided Americans during these difficult weeks and months, it’s the lockdown measures that have been implemented in states across the country due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that has gripped the world.
A phased approach has now been outlined which will see more freedoms awarded to citizens in a safe and timely manner that won’t put people at risk of kick-starting a new wave of infections, of course, assuming people strictly adhere to social distancing rules safely.
Whilst we patiently wait for the day that we can return to relative normality and be reunited with our friends, families, and work colleagues there are still a number of things people should avoid doing during lockdown for their own safety and wellbeing.
1. Don’t rush back to public services that are re-opening
There’s no doubt about it, visiting gyms, coffee shops and other regular haunts can do wonders for stress-relief and have a fantastic impact on our mental health… However, the threat posed by these services re-opening must not be underestimated.
Gyms, in particular, have been a huge point of contention with many people making their voices heard as they desperately want them to reopen with immediate effect.
Only recently a number of Florida residents held protests outside their local courthouse arguing that if push-ups could be done outside, they can be done in a gym. Eager gym-goers even held up placards bearing the phrase ‘Give me gains, or give me death!’.
However, people must remember that all of the surfaces within gyms are potential hot-spots for the virus. Without proper hygiene in place, shared gym equipment could be responsible for re-igniting the spread of the disease within hours of reopening.
The same goes for any public service that re-opens their doors, not every business has the means to limit their capacity and safely maintain social distancing rules. To put it bluntly, not everyone is able to ensure the safety of their customers, no matter how they might want to start making money once again.
If you are excited about your local gym or coffee shop reopening in the not so distant future, just think… Do you want to be responsible for spreading the disease, all for the cost of using some free-weights or drinking an artisan latte?
2. Don’t become engrossed by negative statistics
A recent study found that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in China unsurprisingly led to a 74% drop in emotional well-being within the country. However, it also found that those with a better understanding of the virus itself fared better than those who didn’t.
That said, those who are constantly glued to their Facebook and Twitter feed whilst the 24-hour news channels roll on in the background are expected to fare much worse… Daily updates that brief us on the current death toll or the news of someone passing away from the virus can absolutely tank our mood.
It makes sense that we’d want to know what’s going on around us, that feeling of control is imperative when it comes to situations like the one we all find ourselves in. However, this can backfire horribly if we see things going south in real-time, especially now we’re without many of our usual coping mechanisms.
We’d highly recommend putting down your phone, switching off the news channels, and doing something you truly enjoy instead. You personally can’t change the course of the outbreak, so step away, follow the rules set out by scientists and the government, and think positively.
3. Don’t become complacent with personal hygiene
It sounds completely obvious, but remember the World Health Organization’s advice, washing your hands on a regular basis is absolutely key to beating the virus.
For most of us, this isn’t an issue whatsoever, we’re all vigilant in washing our hands even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit … However many people are distrustful of their local water, particularly in rural areas such as the Deep South where infection and death rates have risen.
What’s even more worrying is more than 2 million Americans do not have access to indoor plumbing. Whilst it’s no short term fix, it has been suggested that the current pandemic might well lead to investment in the country’s water system. Sadly there are even more Americans out there that simply cannot afford to pay utility bills to keep safe running water on.
Whilst not an issue for most, it can still be easy to forget to wash our hands all the time, as our attitude becomes more relaxed as we get to grips with living in a post-outbreak world.
Realistically we should be washing our hands every time we come into contact with any surface outside our own homes that might well be carrying the virus. Returned home from picking up essential groceries? Wash your hands!
4. Don’t fall into an online gambling habit
While online gambling is enjoyed responsibly by many, it should never be used as a form of relief. Your judgment can become distorted when you’re feeling emotional or low. Furthermore, it should never be used as a form of income.
Let’s be honest, casino games are fun and exciting, and indeed offer the chance to win money, but ultimately the house edge or odds of the games mean that over time you will inevitably lose – which is exactly the cost of playing those games, in a similar way to how it costs money to play PC or console games.
Pavlos Sideris from NoWagering.com, a casino comparison site that promotes fair and responsible gambling, offered the following advice: “Players should only ever gamble with what they can justify and afford to lose, and that amount should be predetermined and a loss limit set before starting to play.
“In the current climate especially, consider there might well be more important and crucial things to spend that money on”.
5. Don’t overspend on items you don’t really need
It can be easy to enjoy a bit of retail therapy whilst in lockdown, it’s the little things that truly keep us going in times like these… However, you should exercise some restraint when it comes to spending all your money.
As is with gambling, don’t spend beyond your means. Whilst a high-ticket item such as a new TV, electronics, or expensive clothing might bring you some short term happiness, you don’t know how long your money might have to last you.
Unless you’re certain you can afford to make frivolous purchases then don’t. Until things have gone back to normal and you’re back in work full-time it’s better to be safe than sorry!
This point is especially pertinent with regard to grocery shopping. Don’t overspend and especially don’t buy more than you’re ever going to need just for the sake of it. You run the risk of having food you’re never going to eat that could have gone to another family.
6. Don’t rush to see friends and family classed as high-risk
Easily the most difficult to swallow, yet the most important item on this list. As lockdown measures are eased people may well be able to go and visit friends and family once more, however, just because measures have been lifted doesn’t mean the virus has been eradicated.
Until an approved vaccine is developed the virus will remain a threat to society, whilst going to see loved ones will be possible in the not-so-distant future, remember that those classed as high-risk (Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions such asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) are still not completely safe.
Just because you might be healthy enough to survive the virus doesn’t mean they will be.
It’s an incredibly harsh reality that unfortunately all of us must accept. Until you’re absolutely certain you pose no risk to those around you, then you should carefully evaluate the situation with your loved ones and only see them at a distance until you know it’s completely safe to return back to normality.
7. Avoid the dastardly ‘Quarantine 15’
If you’ve been following social media then you’ll have come across plenty of light-hearted quips about the ‘Quarantine 15’. This is what some people are calling a harrowing 15-pound weight gain that some are experiencing.
Many people have reported excessive weight gain as a result of stress related to the spread of COVID-19… It’s true that many of us turn to food as a comfort blanket, especially now that many other distractions such as the gym and our friends and family are out of reach… It can be worryingly easy to turn to a snack in order to fill the time.
Whilst a little extra weight isn’t too much to worry about, it’s still imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a good diet, especially when confined to your own home 90% of the time.
There has never been a better time to educate yourself and your family on healthy eating habits… Perhaps it’s even a good time to pull out those dusty old cookbooks and learn a new recipe. It’s important to remember that some good can come out of such a bad situation!
If you’ve fallen out of old routines establish meal times at the table and make it the focal point of each and every day!