In Living Thoughtfully: You Matter, we talked about the importance of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first when it feels like your world is coming apart. This week, we’re going to talk about caring for your health.

As you are considering all the information that is coming at you, we’d encourage you to think about:

Increasing your resistance so you don’t get sick and increasing your resilience so if you do get sick, you bounce back quickly.

If you haven’t already done so, start to incorporate the following:

Do the health basics: (seriously, no cutting corners on these things).

    • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
      • And we mean, really wash your hands . . . soap and warm to hot water, moving the soap over your hands, between your fingers, under your nails, and up your wrist for 20 – 30 seconds (sing ‘happy birthday’ twice), before rinsing the soap off.
      • Letting the soap, or if necessary, a big glob of hand sanitizer, soak into the germs for the 20 seconds it takes to kill the germs – give it time.
    • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, handkerchief, or your shoulder so the air around you and your hands don’t get full of germs.
    • Let people know you care about them but won’t be giving hugs before you see them for the first time.
      • It’s hard to feel like you are rejecting someone in the moment. But, if they are expecting you to bow, wave, or give an air hug, it will be easier for your both.
    • Don’t touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes if you haven’t washed your hands immediately before doing so.
      • And, once you do touch your face, wash your hands again before you touch other things.
      • We know . . . this is both a pain in the neck and it’s hard on the hands yet it’s easier than getting sick!
    • If you have or are around children who don’t understand what is going on, make these activities into a game.
      • For older kids who will often forget, put hand washing on a schedule. That can work for you too!

Limit your exposure to germs that can make you sick:

We know you might be thinking “duh” but it turns out this is harder than it sounds.

    • It’s really important to not attend meetings or other gatherings of people, even if they are work related.
        • Many organizations have been slow to institute work from home or work in separate offices / meet by phone, Zoom, or Skype, but it’s critical to your health and the health of the organization.
        • We have heard of whole leadership teams getting sick at the same time causing incredible fear and disruption throughout the organization.  
    • Connect to people you love and colleagues you need to meet with by phone, Facetime, Skype, or Zoom when possible.
      • It can be tempting to wait until you have a number of things to connect about but trying to keep interactions brief and spontaneous can make life feel easier and more normal.
    • If you have children, this will be particularly hard on you and on them.
      • We are hearing about parents having play dates with other families who have kids who don’t ‘seem sick’.
        • Oh, how we understand the temptation, but as far as we know right now, you and your children may be sick long before you are symptomatic, so please limit these activities.
      • Again, phone and Zoom can be helpful, and a Zoom screen can be made extra interesting if you open it on a larger screen.
      • If you need to use childcare where there are other children, try to keep the same group of kids together and connect with the other parents to ensure everyone is in agreement about keeping kids home if they have a cough, a temperature, OR if one of the parents seems sick.
    • Limit travel on public transportation.
      • For most of us a car ride or drive to a great hike or a family picnic are good for us and can be good for kids.

If you need to be around people who are sick, take all the precautions available to you at home or at work.

    • We know, this is easier said than done with the limits of gloves and masks.
    • If you are taking care of someone who is ill encourage them to maintain silence when you are in close so they are not getting droplets on you and ask that they let you know if they’ve been coughing so you can wait to come into the room for an hour or more when possible.
    • Children will need more and different support so as a parent, please care for yourself so you have the greatest resistance possible and the resilience to bounce back should you get sick.

Spend some time this week thinking about how you can care for yourself during this stressful time. Do what you can to increase  your resistance to germs and build your resilience, so that if you do get sick, you bounce back quickly.

Take good care of yourself and encourage those around you to take good care of themselves.

PLEASE NOTE: We’re not experts on the Coronavirus, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( for current information. And for specific medical advice please contact your trusted providers and health care resources.