There's no playbook for how to deal with the unusual turn of events brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, but you can do things to improve your family's well-being. First of all, be smart, stay calm and lead the way.
It's possible that you and your family will get itchy to go out and do things — and that's fine for everyone to be outdoors — but it may be best to keep your crew in close proximity, since this isn't the best time to be in crowds of people.
4 Keys to safeguard your family:
1. WASH HANDS, WASH HANDS, WASH HANDS
The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets. So if a person who is ill sneezes or coughs, virus particles are released. Federal guidelines suggest that putting six feet of separation between you and someone who is sick can protect you. Other ways:
— Embrace the elbow bump over the fist bump.
— Wash hands numerous times throughout the day or use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol.
— Skip the hugs and hand-shakes for now.
— Work hard to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
2. REDUCE STRESS
If you're feeling cooped up inside (and it doesn't take that long for this feeling to overwhelm you — especially if you're a people person who likes to be out there in the world), chill out. Simple tips that can help you manage stress (which weakens your well-being) are:
— Get a little physical activity. Go for a walk with the family. Run around outside.
— Limit sugar and caffeine intake.
— Get plenty of rest so you're not run down and weakened physically.
3. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
Every mom and dad knows that well-rested people are stronger mentally. And research shows that well-rested people are better at fending off viruses, too. Here are tips for getting more sleep at home:
— Follow a bedtime ritual. Kids and adults of all ages should maintain a sleep routine, aiming to go to bed and wake up at the same time — give or take 30 minutes or so — every night.
— You may be tempted to slack off on your rules during home isolation, but aim to keep electronics out of your children's bedrooms as well as your own. Devices keep people up at night.
— Make your child's sleep environment peaceful, with soft, low lighting. Read bedtime stories and pick up on the cue when your child shows signs of sleepyness.
— If your kids aren't getting enough sleep at night, consider having family naptime during the day.
4. EXERCISE AND EAT WELL
Doctors agree that eating lots of sugar, caffeine and ultra-processed foods increases inflammation and suppresses immune function. Use this time wisely to improve your family diet and exercise routine:
— Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, grains and lean proteins.
— Get everyone's heart rate up each day with a little physical activity