By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
People, please don’t make fun of people who are scared. People are scared, and people who are scared respond in a variety of ways, and in this case, one of them is panic buying and another one is hoarding. They are attempting to protect themselves, and we do not know what other personal or family traumas may be reactivated within – which can contribute to unusually high levels of fear.
That said, this is apart from the fact that some people may be also shopping for elderly family, friends and neighbors as well as themselves, for group homes or other group settings, or people who may otherwise not have means or funds to get out and shop or are health compromised, or people who are using their available funds now, because they may be without jobs in a few weeks.
One of the best things that we can do for each other is to steady ourselves and support each other to stay calm, alert and present and to validate others’ feelings, even if they are not their own feelings, and encourage people to make wise decisions for themselves, their health and their communities. I have decided that I will be staying indoors for the next two weeks and working from home and reevaluate my plan at the end of the two that time.
By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
You may have lots of feelings about the coronavirus, the new virus that causes a respiratory infection. I know that I do. It is easy to fear what we don’t know, and judging from reports of people emptying shelves of toilet paper and antiseptic supplies and the sharing of my own clients and others I work with, there is a lot of fear and tension out there.
As a health professional in my corner of the world, I am charged with the responsibility of protecting my clients and caring for myself. I also strive to act as a role model about how to act and respond at times of stress.
I’ve already altered several of my habits, such as washing my hands much more frequently and thoroughly and practicing how to refrain from touching my face, a key way that the virus spreads. I'm also touching elevator buttons, door handles and other public places with my scarf, paper towels or tissues instead of my fingers.
First, breathe and stay calm.
The regular flu – influenza – kills thousands of people each year. However, fear seems to travel faster than the actual virus and we are challenged to take practical steps to protect ourselves and our community while staying calm and alert.
Then, can we look at the virus with a curious eye? I like this meditation that I found on YouTube that nudges me to move away from fear and towards curiosity.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.
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