BY CHRISTI CARRAS
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
Exhale: Michelle Obama is lending her voice of reason to the ongoing conversation surrounding the coronavirus crisis.
On Sunday, the former first lady joined the growing chorus of public figures weighing in on the pandemic via social media by sharing some healthy tips as to how to navigate this unsettling “new normal.”
“These past few weeks have been scary and difficult for many of us. We just don’t have a roadmap for what we’re currently experiencing — that in and of itself can bring up feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and fear,” the “Becoming” author wrote on Instagram. “Not to mention the worry we feel about the health and safety of our parents, children, and loved ones and the financial security of so many families.”
‘You aren’t alone’
Last week, Obama alluded to the pandemic while promoting the Girls Opportunity Alliance in support of young women pursuing an education around the world. Now the activist and motivational speaker is addressing the public health threat head-on.
“Whatever you’re going through right now, I want you to know you aren’t alone. Even as we practice social distancing, this new normal is something we are figuring out together,” she continued.
“I know when I’m feeling overwhelmed that picking up the phone and calling one of my girlfriends can work wonders. I also know staying close to my community helps me to feel connected and strong. If you’re not sure what that looks like these days, I’ve offered a few suggestions to get you started.”
Productive coping mechanisms featured in Obama’s Instagram slideshow include volunteering with your local school’s food distribution program; reaching out and offering support to teachers; calling parents and offering to “give their kids a lesson or read a story”; picking up groceries “for your most at-risk and older neighbors”; providing meals for health care workers by ordering takeout from or donating to restaurants; buying gift certificates from local businesses to give out or save for later; donating to food banks; and continuing to pay workers for regular services despite cancellations.
“And don’t forget: It’s OK to take a breath, too,” the “Let’s Move!” founder added, encouraging her followers to contribute their own advice in the comments. “Be gentle with yourself. Log off when you need to, take a break if you can, and let others know when you’d like a little help.”
Barack Obama’s advice
Obama’s husband, Barack Obama, has also been vocal on social media as the coronavirus continues to cause global panic.
Recently, the former president has taken to Twitter to keep the public informed, remind people to practice safe social distancing habits and share uplifting stories of communities coming together to surmount new challenges.
“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our health professionals and everybody who’ll be on the front lines of this pandemic for a long while,” he tweeted last week in response to a thread written by a woman who has been forced to keep a distance from her spouse, an emergency physician. “They’re giving everything. May we all model our own behavior on their selflessness and sacrifice as we help each other through this.”