10 Suggestions for Coronavirus Etiquette
We need to treat others with care during this time.
Posted March 8, 2020
There is no question that we are all grappling at this point in time. We are wondering how much to worry, how to avoid exposure, and how much to continue washing and sanitizing our already chafed hands. Some of us are trying to keep up with all of the latest news about the coronavirus spread while others are intentionally trying to limit exposure to media. Everywhere, however, people of all ages are talking about the coronavirus. I would like to suggest that we all take a collective pause to think about how we are treating each other during this time. Unfortunately, I have witnessed some less than sensitive moments between people. This is to be expected during times of anxiety and ambiguity but nonetheless I would like to make some suggestions. Let's review some courteous and mindful sorts of behavior. As always, we should be aware of how we affect the hearts and souls of those around us. Kindness is, after all, what ultimately keeps us emotionally healthy, yes?
This is certainly not an exhaustive list but it is a start that we desperately need.
- Be aware and be informed. Do not, however, spread something terribly detrimental to the soul which is panic. As we all know too well, stress and panic eat away at our emotional and physical health.
- Do not make assumptions and judge others. People are scared. Fear can lead to all kinds of behavior. You don't necessarily know the vulnerabilities of those around you so please think before judging. The woman in front of you at the grocery store may be in a mad rush because she has an elderly mother at home who she is concerned about. So, if she seems unusually on edge, consider giving her a pass. These are trying times for the well, the not so well, and for caregivers.
- Check on your friends, colleagues, family, and neighbors. In fact, check-in on anyone in your community who you think would benefit from some contact. Ask others how they are doing and how you might be able to help them. Remember that people are lonely and every single one of us, no matter how well connected, benefits from a little more human contact and concern.
- Please do not hoard items that we all need. Do you really need to buy 10 hand sanitizers? Do you really need to purchase 20 rolls of paper towels? Wouldn't it be kind to leave a few for another shopper? I would really like you to take a breath and think about this one.
- Try, despite all of your many concerns, to consider what positives might come from this. Perhaps we will all learn about better hygiene. Honestly, shouldn't we be washing our hands frequently in times of health and in times of sickness?
- If you are quarantined, perhaps you can catch up on reading, movies, or whatever needs to be done at home. Maybe you can catch up with friends who you haven't heard from in a while? Maybe we can all benefit from a bit of disruption to our regular routines? This may sound odd, but give it some thought.
- Do not dismiss anyone's concerns. Practice your listening skills. Those skills always need some honing, yes?
- Please avoid phrases that are invalidating and so highly annoying like "Don't worry so much." or "You are overreacting." See my article on "18 of The Worst Things to Say in Conversation." It is particularly relevant right now!
- Just because people don't look like you does not mean that they are going to infect you. This is not a time to engage in racist behavior. In fact, there is never a time to engage in that sort of behavior.
- And finally, practice good hygiene. Explain to others why you are not hugging, touching, or shaking their hands. A little explanation goes a very long way.