The year 2020 has become a shock for everyone, affecting every country in the world, and it feels like the entire world has adapted to a new definition of the ‘new’ normal. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t spare anyone or anything—a million deaths worldwide, with 60 million active cases around the world, economies from different parts of the world are collapsing and struggling to recover, people laid off from their jobs, and even professional sports and concerts are deeply affected. The sad thing is the pandemic is proving to be far from over, and even the best and the brightest in the science field still cannot predict when a vaccine could be developed. This means that people would need to adapt to the new rules and regulations brought about by the pandemic. More importantly, people need to take extra care of themselves—their health, both physically and mentally.

Protect Yourself and Others by Wearing a Mask

Wearing a mask when going outside has become a normal scene – to the point where it’s as important as your keys and wallet when leaving the house. Public establishments have also enforced strict rules on customers to wear a mask before entering their premises. There are even some countries that fine their citizens for not wearing the right protective gear. However, in some countries, the enforcement of wearing masks didn’t go smoothly, as others still try to exercise their freedom of choice by refusing to wear one.

But according to studies, wearing surgical masks lessens the risk of transmission as the growth of active cases is reduced by at least two percent. They also serve as a protection to prevent respiratory droplets from reaching you and others. Although not as effective, wearing cloth masks can also be used as an alternative and is still helpful than not wearing one at all. If you think that surgical masks somehow alter your fashion, you can stick to creative cloth masks, like liberty masks or others that offer various designs.

Check On Yourself, Take a Breather

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People will still try to carry on with their lives—try to go to work and finish school, even with the modified changes, but it’s still important to note that you are literally living and surviving through a worldwide crisis. It’s okay to take a break and allow yourself some peace by taking your well-deserved rest from all the stress of work or school. The situation itself is already difficult for everyone, and piling tasks, one after the other while trying to meet deadlines, is another added stress. It’s important to put your health first because, at the moment, your own life is the top priority.

Wash Your Hands, Sanitize Your Home, and Clear Your Head

Now more than ever, observing proper hygiene is most recommended by medical professionals. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap also helps prevent you from getting the virus and spreading it. The virus is also said to be present on flat surfaces, places that often get touched like doorknobs or railings, so disinfecting them with alcohol every once in a while could also help keep you and everyone living in the house safe from getting infected with the virus. While all this may seem like a lot of work and could also be an added chore from all your responsibilities at home, these simple things could have the biggest impact on risking your health and everyone you’re living with. It’s also important not to get too paranoid, as it may trigger unwanted anxiety and stress in these trying times, but remain vigilant and active when it comes to disinfecting.

Everyone struggles in this pandemic, so it’s important to remind yourself that taking slow and careful steps towards recovery and normalcy are completely okay. The feel of extra pressure would be present, over-thinking that you might not be productive or not achieved enough this year, but sometimes you need the reminder to not be too harsh on yourself and pat yourself on the back just for being able to live through another day.