Get Informed, stay safe
Myth 1: „WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE AT ANY TIME“
Not necessarily; the virus only gets on your face (specifically mouth, eyes, ears) if it got on your hands from various outside surfaces which you've been touching and you haven't had a chance to wash them. Rather than 'never touching your face', the mantra should be: don't touch your face when you're outside. And always wash your hands after coming into contact with any surface. During a time of stress such as this, we really don't need sparking extra neuroses about constantly worrying what we do with our hands and face. So stay away from your face outside, and once you've properly washed your hands, and are at home, take it easy again.
Myth 2: „COVID-19 spreads through the air“
Technically speaking, not exactly. The Coronavirus is transmitted through microdroplets, which adhere to surfaces; they don't stay 'hanging about' in the air. If you touch surfaces such as railings/doors/elevator buttons, wash your hands and keep a 2m distance when wandering about.
Myth 3: „Stay at home at all costs and never leave"
Yes, this is important and pretty foolproof if you don't want to risk anything, but the key here is to stay away from other potentially ill people (eg large crowds) and the elderly/people with a preexisting medical condition who are most at risk. While staying at home is strongly encouraged, please don't compromise your mental health. Going for a brisk walk in the park and getting a bit of fresh air is fine. Make sure when you do go out however, you wear a face mask AT ALL TIMES. It's not for you catching a disease, but rather prevents you from spreading it in case you're infected and don't know about it. Stay away from the elderly and infirm at all times; they are most at risk.
Myth 4: „Face masks are useless for healthy people“
While not perfect, face masks significantly contribute against the spreading of the disease outward. While you should absolutely wear a face mask if you can get one, during current time of shortage however, hospitals and hospital staff are an absolute priority for getting them - so please don't try to buy them illicitly and definitely don't hoard them.
Myth 5: „COVID-19 is basically a different type of flu“
This is possibly the worst myth out there. IT REALLY ISN'T. Scientists and doctors are still trying to figure out how COVID-19 behaves, mutates, and manifests. The Coronavirus has a different effect on our human body to the flu, and we don't have a solid cure. There's no point panicking and running around flailing our arms (well, you shouldn't be doing that anyway, see point 3) but equally we shouldn't adopt a 'sod it, all is fine, media's being jumped up, I'm off to the pub and then the football match'. Stay calm, collected, rational, and don't put others (especially the vulnerable) at risk. Stay informed and be positive! We'll be fine.
The original Czech version by Jan Lukačevič: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9xNY7bnED2/
Tips on mental wellbeing during COVID-19
Based on the great work done by the Institute of Psychology at the Czech Academy of Sciences, I have amassed 6 tips and tricks on how to deal with the weird and unusual (and sometimes, quite lonely) situation of quarantine. Excitingly, this research was done in congruence with space research and survival in isolation as we begin to colonise new planets such as Mars. The study of the functioning of human psyche in isolation is crucial to eventually prepare us for long journeys through space; but why not use it as guidance in COVID-19 self-isolation?
1) It's fine not to feel fine.
It is absolutely NORMAL to experience fear, worry, panic, anxiety, and helplessness. It is not healthy to suppress these emotions or pretend they do not exist - they are normal, they help us to survive. Accept them, but don’t let them overwhelm you. We’re complex creatures with complex minds, you don’t have to feel ashamed not to be 100% all the time.
2) Be active - the brain likes to be busy
In space missions, for example, astronauts spend time performing a variety of tasks to make them stronger both physically and mentally. Make sure to keep your brain busy and train it; don’t give it a feeling you’re ‘sick’ or apathetic, it will have negative consequences for your physical health and general wellbeing.
3)Actively engage in social networking
Your personal social network and its “density” contribute to good mental wellbeing. Encourage your loved ones to maintain social connections, encourage them to talk, write, and play games. Communicate with the outside via the internet; there’s plenty of great free resources and it distracts and trains the mind.
4) Don't be actively negative: emotions are highly contagious. Think positively, be nice and considerate not only to yourself but also to your loved ones. If you are happy or receive good news, share it with others. To entertain, please, comfort, and support others can difficult in time of crisis, but you can do it, and come out stronger on the other end.
5) Support others. Senior citizens are the most vulnerable and social isolation can be devastating for them. Look after your loved ones. Write messages, call them at least once a day, and be interested in their fears, hopes, and life in general. They will be more grateful than you realise.
6) Care and learn to care after your surroundings and possessions: Repair clothing, electronics, care for your plants. Others will help you with it, and it can be a great bonding exercise. The transfer and sharing of knowledge, skills and care of things contributes greatly to a sense of meaningfulness, as well as personal and social health. Look after yourselves, everyone. We can get through this together.
More info available here: https://www.facebook.com/psu.cas.cz/, the Facebook group of 'Psychologický ústav Akademie věd ČR'