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Daily Rituals in a Pandemic

It’s no secret that the world is in weird times right now. We’re trying to adapt to a new normal, and we’re all coping with the new situation in our own ways.  

I contemplated whether I should even publish this post but I felt it was important to share with my audience — my client, who are also my friends — some daily life changes I’ve learned along the way to make sure I’m healthy and well. 

It’s times like these that we realize nothing is more important than our health. Our very economy is based on the health and wellbeing of our community members. So, friends, please take care of your health – emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Today’s blog post is not about design or marketing. It’s about adapting to a new lifestyle that will hopefully get us all back on our A-game as soon as possible, so that we may all go back to doing what we love.

I was in Taiwan when the virus first broke out in China. In the first few weeks, my anxiety levels were so high I locked myself in my house for 3 weeks before venturing out for client meetings. 

Taiwan was hit hard by the SARS outbreak in 2003. So, articles were floating around that instructed us on how we should adapt to the current outbreak in 2020. 

Before we dive into a list of little daily life rituals in the face of this pandemic, I want to insert a little disclaimer: this isn’t expert advice, I’m just sharing my thoughts and actions I have found useful for myself that might also be helpful for others. 

Here is a list of 10 things that I’ve been doing anywhere I have been in the world:

1 | Wear a mask and other personal protection.
Wear a mask if you’re near others. There’s been a lot of debate on its effectiveness as well as what type to wear, but now everyone must wear a mask. It took a bit to get used to it.

A quick tip is to walk around alone and walk slower to practice breathing with the mask on. If you are unable to buy one, consider making one out of materials you already have at home. There are a lot of instructional videos on Youtube that you can find that will teach you how to sew your own mask. Generally, I don’t wear a mask outside unless there are other people. If you’re alone in the woods, you don’t need it. But if you’re on your way to the grocery shop, you might want to put it on as you walk across the parking lot.

Click here for a list of Youtube Tutorials teaching you how to DIY a mask. Remember: the masks don’t have to look pretty. It just might help to lower your exposure to others and vice versa.

2 | Disinfect surfaces and high touch items
Clean and sanitize your phone, keys, glasses, and high touch areas, especially your workspace, daily. Use rubbing alcohol with 60-70% alcohol concentration. Some studies say alcohol concentration of 60-70% is the most effective in disinfecting your surfaces and objects. This means that you’ll have to dilute your 91% alcohol bottles. Again, have a google to see the ratio of water to rubbing alcohol you’ll need. 

Here’s the official guidelines about disinfecting your surroundings from the CDC Website.

3 | Don’t wear contacts
This one is super important. Besides resisting touching your face, you want to avoid touching your eyeballs. If you wear contacts, that means you should consider wearing your glasses. My friend has a family member that works in a hospital in Taiwan, and she said that all staff members were instructed to wear glasses as another layer of Personal Protection.

4 | Eat healthy food
Eat healthily – eat lots of WHOLE FOODS. Less junk food. On the note of eating healthy, it is advised that you don’t eat anything raw, especially raw meat like sushi. Eat lots of fruits, MMM Vitamins! On the note of eating healthy, stay hydrated, apparently, it keeps your mucus membranes moist, which boosts your body’s ability to trap invaders. 

5 | Having a Creative Outlet
Journaling. I find that writing out ideas gives me a creative break from all that anxiety. I also try to stay creative by painting watercolor birds which you can see at my Instagram at www.instagram.com/christinacheng01 or visit this Instagram Explore Page on Watercolor Art for more inspiration!

6 | Limit daily news time
Limit your daily news time. This is a neat little trick that I saw somewhere in another blog. But limit your news time to a slot, and say you’ll watch the news for 20 minutes, and then turn it all off. Since this pandemic is continuously evolving, local laws and legislations are constantly changing every day. We need to stay on top of it and stay in the know, but don’t let the news time eat up your mental and emotional peace.

7 | Yoga and Physical Exercise
On the note of mental and emotional peace, doing yoga even for 10 minutes a day seems to help a lot. I find that it eases my anxiety.

8 | Natural Fresh Air
Open the window to let fresh air in for at least an hour every day. No matter where in the world you are, it’s a great idea to let the natural airflow through your space. If you have a balcony or a deck, go outside and chill for a few minutes a day. I find cuddling with my dog outside on the deck or in the backyard when it’s sunny out relieves some anxiety. 

9 | Physical distancing in public and in private
Stay away from other people. Maintain physical distancing practices even at home. I maintain my distance with family members as well. I didn’t hug my mom when she picked me up at the airport. I waited until my 14 days quarantine was over before we had our first hug after a few months of not seeing each other. It’s rough, I know. But, better safe than sorry.

10 | Going Outside of your Safe Zone
Every time you go out of your house, remember to bring a mask, glasses, and gloves. Gloves can be fabric ones. (Disposable masks and gloves are not eco-friendly and create more waste. But in times of a crisis, it’s a necessity. Some grocery stores even offer disposable wipes or gloves, just make sure to toss them in the trash.)

Just remember to not touch your nose, eyes, or mouth until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands for 20 seconds. Every time you come home, take a hot shower, take off all “outfits” and put them in the wash. For jackets, hang them up to air out; even better if you can have them hang in the sunlight and let the UV light from the sun naturally disinfect your clothes for an hour or two.

Personally, the news and the ever-growing number of cases on various COVID19 tracking sites have made me really anxious. I felt super helpless and annoyed that the response was slow by various organizations with a lot of leverage. Suffice it to say, a lot could have been done to prevent our current situation. 

All I can say is that I hope we’ll learn as a global community to become more resilient, more organized, and more systematic in our approach. I hope this article provides action steps that will help ease your anxiety. It’s one thing to feel powerless, whereas if you have a list of things you can do to protect yourself, you might feel like you have more control over a situation. 

Stay healthy and stay well.