Be Kind and Wash Your Hands

Let’s be kind to ourselves, our community, and do the things we know we can control

By Maggie Doherty

As the world is confronted with the coronavirus pandemic, we are certainly challenged in a myriad of ways and I ask that we all try to be kind, and insist that we all wash our hands. A lot.

As a parent of a preschooler and a newborn, the whole handwashing and don’t touch your face instructions are a great challenge but we’re sticking to it. We’re coming up with creative songs while the soap bubbles build on little hands. As for the baby, I don’t know how to keep her hands out of her mouth but I figure that if the rest of us do our best to keep clean hands that’s all we can do. These are certainly stressful and worrying times. Another piece of advice I’d like to offer is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your loved ones.

For instance, if you’re a parent and find it challenging to talk about the coronavirus with your kids, especially if they are young or if they are college age and their semester may be suspended for the term, I’ve found the New York Times Parenting site helpful. The newspaper has enlisted trusted medical professionals who provide informational and instructional advice on how to handle those conversations with your kids.

Speaking of the news, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re keeping tabs on the virus with reputable, trustworthy news sites. Misinformation and opinion-based sites often make it a challenge to discern between what’s factual and what’s not and can, in many times, only make the situation worse. As a news junkie myself, I’ve had to tell myself to limit my access to the news, ensuring that my stress levels don’t skyrocket and that I’m doing my due-diligence to determine credible sources.

This is also an important time to check in with loved ones, especially those who are of the most vulnerable population to the virus, such as the elderly. Help them understand the facts and how they can best protect themselves. It’s a good time to see if they have what they need, be it a stocked pantry or access to good medical information. As we’re instructed by medical professionals to limit our social interactions, this is a good time to lean into technology to stay connected. Use your smartphone to text your neighbors or parents, send photos to lift spirits, and offer your support if your network of friends is concerned about their job and care for kids. At my workplace we’re developing contingency plans for our employees, taking into consideration what a closure will do to paychecks.

The total effects of this virus are still unknown and its disruptions are sure to have major consequences on our health, economy and wellbeing. Let’s be kind to ourselves, our community, and do the things we know we can control: like practice good hygiene and be kind to one another.

Oh, and wash your hands!

Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.