How To Take Care of Ourselves and Others

April 20, 2020

Paul G. Simeone, Ph.D. – VP/Medical Director of Behavior Health

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time remembering what life was like before the coronavirus outbreak. Everything seems to have changed so quickly, making it easy to feel confused and afraid.

Over the past few days, many people have asked me for advice. I don’t have all the answers. But I have a few tips I hope will be helpful.

Don’t lose hope

It’s important to remember even the worst experiences eventually come to an end. While things may seem hard or uncomfortable now, they won’t last forever. We’ll come out stronger.

Find a routine

We are creatures of habit. When something disrupts those habits, it’s easy to feel a loss of control. Use this time to make positive changes in your life and create new routines for yourself and your family. It’s easier than you think. You’ll be amazed how much better you will feel.

Stay connected to friends, family and neighbors

We all need one another during this difficult time. Find ways to help others around you, as well as let others help take care of you. Most important, share kindness, compassion, laughter and lots of smiles. Love has the power to heal.

Stay connected to yourself

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of those around you. Monitor your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Pay close attention to what your body, mind and spirit are telling you. Be sure to stay in contact with your doctors and healthcare team if you have any health conditions that need ongoing care.

Stay safe and secure

Taking care of your well-being is vital. Make sure you have what you need to feel safe and comfortable, especially if you are isolated or in quarantine. If you are in need of support, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Stay informed

It’s important to know what’s going on and ask questions. But too much information can lead to unneeded stress and worry. Make sure you get your news from trustworthy sources, like Lee Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.

Take care of your kids and grandkids

This may come last on the list, but it is no less important. As adults, we must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our children and grandchildren. Once we’ve settled ourselves down, we need to share what we’ve learned with our kids. They are likely to have questions, thoughts and concerns of their own. Listen carefully and patiently. Encourage them to stay busy with positive activities. Make sure they know they are cared for.

And remember, hard times won’t last forever.

Paul Simeone Portrait Paul Simeone, Ph.D., is vice president of Mental and Behavioral Health at Lee Health. Simeone has more than 30 years of experience in mental and behavioral health as an educator, administrator, and practicing clinical psychologist. Simeone has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and master’s degree in school psychology from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, and a master’s degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College near Springfield, Mass.