I’ve stopped counting my “health weeks,” whereas life in quarantine has turned into counting quarantine days. But so far life in quarantine has been just fine. I’d say my family and I are one of the lucky ones and so we are just fine. My whole approach to this, as it is with other things in life, is that this is out of my hands. I have no control over this virus or its spread – I can just control myself and my actions. So I’m trying not to stress out about it.

We’ve isolated ourselves to keep our family healthy and safe. Technically I’m one of the folks who can become very ill from this due to my autoimmune problems, and we have young kids, so we’re just being overly cautious for the sake of our health. And quite frankly, everyone should be doing that right now anyway! Nobody wants to get this thing. And just that part is scary and stressful, as is all of the uncertainty, and worrying about loved ones who we can’t help or see at the moment – and then the next level is the stress and worry about our local businesses and the economy.

This is all really stressful, and a lot of people are struggling right now. And rightfully so. For me, what I find helpful is just accepting the fact that there are things that are out of my control and that I am doing everything that I can be doing at this time. I find that this alleviates a lot of stress.

Limiting the amount of news I see is also helpful for my stress level. Of course we need to know what is going on and to keep tabs about the latest news and regulations, but when you feel yourself tensing up or stressing out while watching TV, it’s time to turn it off. I’m not suggesting sticking your head in the sand, but simply being cautious of your own mental and emotional health.

I’ve also taken this time and caught up on some much needed sleep. I feel that I really haven’t slept well in… well, almost four years. The additional sleep has really helped me to also stay calm and monitor my stress level.

We’ve also gotten into a new rhythm and schedule here at home. We’re trying to keep things as normal as possible for the kids, as well as for ourselves, with keeping certain “school” hours, and then the usual pre-dinner / dinner / after-dinner rituals. I find that keeping to somewhat of a schedule is very helpful to everyone, it also feels more like “normal” life.

And you know, all of these factors are what help to maintain your health. At this trying time, your mental, emotional, and physical well-being is being put at risk – and it is up to us to make decisions to ensure that we keep ourselves healthy – mentally, emotionally and physically. All of these things – some of which may seem like small things like keeping a routine – well, I’m sorry but that might just be one of the keys in keeping us sane on some days.

There are new challenges and new frustrations that have come with this epidemic, which has literally hit all of us. But our primary job at this time is to stay healthy and to take care of ourselves, and then help those around us if we can. Remember what they tell you on the airplane? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then help your child or others. Same thing applies here.

So what can we do? We need to keep ourselves in check: check your physical well-being, do you feel ok? Check how you’re feeling mentally, do you feel sad, happy or indifferent? Check how you’re feeling emotionally, are you overwhelmed or are things within your grasp? By keeping yourself in check you are better able to determine what kind of help you might need – OR – you’ll also be able to recognize what type of help those around you might need.

During this time I’m doing what I can to keep my family healthy and safe. You do the same! Stay healthy. Stay safe. And stay home!