Washing those hands for 20 seconds and singing Happy Birthday twice? It’s a war on germs. Hand-to-hand combat. Is it even acceptable or legit to laugh about this virus? What say you? Did you hear the one about the germ? I’m not telling you. I don’t want to spread it around. Indeed, sometimes the spirit needs a bit of laughter to heal.

But quite seriously, sweet friends, store shelves are empty, schools are closing, stocks crashing, friends quarantined; and all you see are your fellow humans wearing face masks. It is no wonder we are agitated, anxious, and apprehensive. Some of us are hyper-vigilant, waiting for the hourly updates. Others have a lackadaisical attitude, which may even diminish their perception of genuine risk.

Truth be told, we cannot fully evaluate the danger or risk of this virus at this time, as knowledge of this disease seems to be growing and developing daily. And if there is one thing in this world that creates nail biting, heebie-jeebie uneasiness, it is uncertainty and unpredictability.

Do we race out to purchase two years of essentials? Oh gosh, there is no toilet paper to be found. Hand sanitizer anyone? Are you one container away from an episode of hoarders? Trust me, I am all for readiness, as long as it doesn’t hurl you into hysteria. Of course, we humans seek out info that reinforces our pre-existing beliefs and ones that have a calming effect on us. “The flu kills more people,” etc. Unless you are a certified epidemiologist, please do not claim to fact-check a disease.

So let us begin with this truth, sweet friends. You cannot control every hit or miss hazard that makes an appearance in your life. One thing we do know is that alarm, anxiety, and anguish are spreading faster than the virus itself. You do not want your adrenaline spiking, blocking your ability to make rational decisions at a time like this. Since we truly don’t yet know the health or even social outcome, fretting, fussing, and feeling fearful are perfectly legitimate reactions. Keep breathing.

What is worse than feeling a lack of control? It’s like having that warm, toasty electric blanket – only someone else is in control of the switch. You can’t possibly get rid of all the negative thoughts in your head. You can, however, change your response to them. Is the thought you are having right now threatening your peace of mind? We can’t rewind or press Forward in our lives. So g’head and press Play. You are doing the best you can at this very moment. What’s that? You can’t cheer yourself up? Try cheering someone else up. See what happens.

If fearful thoughts are bleeding your mind dry, realize that we have no choice but to saddle up, my friends. No need to see the whole staircase before you take that first step. Be courageous. Soothe and take care of one another. Remember: Germs are not for sharing. By all means only dole out objective facts. Rumors and misinformation has been more contagious than the illness itself.

Your fearfulness and foreboding will help protect you from danger and hopefully induce you to prepare and make healthy decisions in the worst-case scenario. Stay connected with friends and family, even via your trusty ole phone. Got your WiFi password and a charger? You’re good to go. Speaking of passwords, just once, wouldn’t you want a username and password prompt to say “Close enough”? Heh.

Social distancing is keeping us from our friends and loved ones. You may even know someone who has a cough, fever, and pain all over their body. Tell them that at least they have Batman’s voice now. Laughter can help you forget your heartache, at least for a few seconds.

There is no point in denying how we feel about the unanswerable questions and even the deaths we have sadly heard about. Confronting your sinking feeling actually leads to a feeling of empowerment. I know it’s hard, but please try to take a break from incessant media coverage.

Relinquish the need to control and let go of the wheel for now. Take a step back and de-stress, please. Keep affirming what is positive, pleasing, and purposeful in your life. Whatever is good for your soul – do that. Carry on, sweet friends. This too shall pass.

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.