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How to Mentally Prepare for a Pandemic

Graphic with How to Mentally Prepare for a Pandemic

I’m one of those people who like to keep up to date on all kinds of news. National, global, local, it doesn’t matter. I peruse social media enough to keep things on my outer radar. Most things drop off my plate and some just hang around.

By now, most of us have heard of “The Virus” (The folks at Google have warned us about referencing the actual names of such things unless we work for WHO, CDC, or a medical doctor).

I’m not trying to diagnose anybody. But let’s get real. People are taking notice. People are asking the big questions. So let’s talk about the big questions in places like this, which is a conglomoration of stuff all filed under “lifestyle” or “personal” blogging.

I really noticed this current viral situation in mid January. I was at a conference for National Board certification and had a few hours between to 2 sessions for new people. I jumped on twitter to see how the virus was trending.

The video from a medical worker was lighting up and it was startling. And this started my mental preparation for all the contagion movies to come to life. Basically, the Zombie Apocolypse we have been watching on screens for years is about to be upon us.

How to Mentally Prepare for a Zombie Apocolypse.

Start thinking big picture. There are things that should be updated, created, figured out.

  • Now is the time to prioritize your pantry.
  • Do you have your financial affairs in order?
  • Do you have a Living will for custody of your children?
  • Can you, right now, say you are ready to be quarentined for 4 weeks?

Get Organized Take a breath and get a notebook ready. You need a place to write down lists, reminders, on-the-back-burner notes. You need to have a familiar system in place to always have with you in your bag.

Familiarity is a comfort.

Start practicing self-care now. I don’t mean just bubble baths and spa days. Self-care is taking CARE of your mental, emotional, and physical self. Make sure you’re prioritizing your HEALTH.

There are many ways to do this with immediate effects. My favorite jump start? Vitamin C, tons of water, and always find a few minutes to do some physical activity. Walking is especially helpful from the first step.

Be informed, but don’t be a puppet. Limit your social media and news exposure. This is a time when so much information is spread that is not factual.

This is also a time when news changes FAST. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta are two good places to start.

Then, be judicious in your social media, especially Facebook Groups and Twitter. Don’t get bogged down in media paralysis.

Keep the first things the first things.

  • Family. Are they healthy? Are you caring for a special needs child? Are you caring for aging parents or spouse?

  • Finances. Do you need to sit down right now and cancel some auto-drafted items that are not crucial? Can you choose between Netflix and Disney+? Do you need to make some changes to your 401K contributions if you’re still years away from retirement? Will you need extra cash flow if you’re quarentined or laid off? Plan this now.

  • Food. Check the pantry. Make a list. Don’t wait until things get bad to go out and stockpile. News changes fast. This shouldn’t be any different than having food preparations for natural disasters. I will post more on this as we go.

Save your mental energy for these or make your own “first things first” list. We can’t keep giving focus and energy to many different spinning plates. Pick 3-4 and write down your plans in that familiar notebook.

At the end of the day, all we can do is the best we can do. That looks different for everybody. Pandemics, natural disasters, and other traumatic events will shape us. Getting prepared for things we have a warning time will only help in crisis time.

In my little corner of the world, I’m going to get dog food today for Atlas.