I know a great joke about coronavirus. You probably won’t get it though. Who’s ready for another day of hand-washing and looking out the window? What’s that? You say your phone’s “low battery warning” is the only warning you take seriously? Maybe not this time. So what is your reaction to the current state of affairs? Disbelief, shock, or fear about the unknown future? Perhaps you feel powerless or even numb from the unending updates, handouts, and headlines. Please stay informed, sweet friends. Knowledge is power. But do not believe all the rumors of catastrophe, calamity, and cataclysm. A rumor goes in one ear, and then out of many mouths. Check your sources.

Are you one of those guys who sounds better with your mouth closed? Well, not right now, dude. Please share your feelings with someone you trust. Talk about it. If you think silence is awkward, just wait till I start talking. And yes, I’m one of those who may need a speed bump between my brain and my mouth. Heh. But, “talking about it” with friends and loved ones is one of the healthiest things you can do right now. Just hearing that others share your uneasiness can relieve a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. Oh, and if you think I talk too much, let me know; and we can talk about it.

No religious institutions for the first time in history. No restaurants, sports, or movies. Not even the local library? Financial strain. You already ate all your quarantine snacks? Sheesh. A couple of weeks of isolation with the family: What can go wrong? Don’t ask.

Many loved ones ill or hospitalized? Have you encouraged others to share their concerns with you? Please make time to reach out and stay in touch with folks who may not live near you. That is what phones are for. Although this is how we feel nowadays: “You think I can’t live without you. What do you think you are – my phone charger?” Speaking of which, if Apple made a car, would it have Windows? But seriously, emotional support can help you overcome the negative effects of nearly any trauma – even a disaster. Please do not underestimate its power.

Perhaps you’re one of the folks in the supermarket having a showdown over bottled water, or in the middle of a toilet paper war with someone. Or maybe you’re standing on the sidelines laughing behind your face mask. You’re beginning to think that Charmin is behind the coronavirus, aren’t you?

Well, you know what they say: There are a lot of false reports about tornadoes, when people are simply seeing dark clouds. Of course, disasters can’t be completely prevented; but that does not mean that their impact can’t be downsized, decreased, and diminished.

Indeed, sometimes a natural disaster ends up revealing a social disaster. They all made fun of you when you were initially cautious or tried to prepare? Same. Remind them that it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. You can turn every misfortune into an opportunity. Have you? How?

Perhaps you are feeling too overwhelmed. Take one little thing at a time, sweet friends. Done with that one? Great. Check it off your list and onto the next task at hand. Helping others can offer you a real sense of purpose when you feel disheartened, defeated, or out of control. And no, we are truly not in control. You know it was a sad day when I realized that my Universal remote control did not, in fact, control the Universe (not even remotely). Heh.

Please do not allow this unpredictable time to put a strain on your personal relationships. Your friends and family may disagree with you about its severity. Your reactions may be poles apart. Gently remind yourself that everyone has different ways of coping.

Try to find someone who will listen, empathize, and support you. Keep a positive routine and give yourself something to look forward to (besides holiday shopping). Speaking of upcoming holidays: Relax. When else is it mandatory to drink four cups of wine?

If your regular schedule has been disrupted, please establish a new one. You will feel less chaotic with regular mealtimes, bedtimes, or even moments to chat with friends. Whatever you do, do not make major decisions or life changes at this precarious time. Your symptoms are your body’s natural reaction to a stressful event. Have no fear. They will dissipate over time.

I daresay no one thought they would be living through a global pandemic. You know how I feel: Laughter is humanity’s free coping mechanism. Keep a healthy headspace and communicate concern and love as often as possible, my friends. As always, please feel free to reach out. I am right here.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.