DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m getting more and more scared. I learned that several people who live in my apartment complex have come down with COVID-19, and two have died. I have been following all of the rules, staying inside and going out only to get food and medicine. I even stopped taking walks in the neighborhood because I am afraid of walking by someone and breathing in their air.
Now I wonder if I can even get on the elevator in my building safely. I see that the maintenance people are scrubbing the building all the time, but if you look at the news, it feels like the world is coming to an end. What can I do to stay safe and sane? -- Living During COVID Times
DEAR LIVING DURING COVID TIMES: As our world turns upside down, most of us are feeling extra stress. The fact that you are living in a building where people have died exacerbates that stress because the danger feels so close.
Instead of being overcome by fear, though, take extra precautions when you absolutely have to go out. Cover your face. If you have a face mask, use that; otherwise, use a scarf that you keep on the entire time you are outside -- including in your elevator. Wear plastic or rubber gloves, if you have them. Try not to touch anything with your hands, even with gloves on. Don’t talk to people. Stay focused on what you have to do, and keep your distance -- at least 6 feet from away from other people.
Remember to take a moment to look at the sky and express gratitude for being alive and well in each moment. Gratitude can soften your worries. Disease has always been in the world. How we care for ourselves in this difficult time -- or any other -- is what matters. Be cautious, but also remain optimistic.
For safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, read cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/essential-goods-services.html.