Expert: How to Stay Calm If You're Exposed to Germs With No Hand Sanitizer

Being overly cautious about everything right now during coronavirus chaos is totally normal—and real talk: It's much better to be safe than sorry!

But we've had moments when we go down a spiral of insanity because we may have been exposed to germs. It's no fun spending two full weeks tossing and turning because of a handle you touched while accidentally forgetting your hand sanitizer.

Shutterstock: Young woman looking stressed at home

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Though it's certainly important to be mindful of your surroundings and the people who inhabit them, you don't want to drive yourself crazy in the process.

Because we found ourselves hitting points of insanity, we reached out to mediation expert Josephine Atluri, founder of the Responding to Life podcast. Keep reading for what she had to say about keeping your cool if you're exposed to germs with no hand sanitizer.

Sweety High: Is it natural to react as if we're guaranteed to get coronavirus if we touch a stranger or out-of-home object (without immediately sanitizing)?

Josephine Atluri: It's normal to feel overwhelmed when you don't have control over a situation. Right now, hand-sanitizing, washing our hands, wearing a mask, physical distancing and staying home are our primary ways to maintain control over a situation that's completely out of our control.

So, when one of these strategies are not available to us, say in the instance of touching something or someone and not sanitizing our hands afterward, it's natural for our minds to instantly go towards the outcome of coming down with coronavirus. Whether we realize it or not, our bodies are in a constant state of fight or flight during this pandemic. Our bodies and minds are in a heightened state of response because our existence is triggered by this invisible threat. So, it's totally normal to get that rush of fear and stress when we can't "fight" off this threat with hand-sanitizer.


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SH: What do we need to remind ourselves before we go crazy?

JA: It's important to remember that in this present moment, you are okay. You are safe and you are healthy. It's also important to remember that stressing out can severely affect your immune system, making you more easily susceptible to illness. It's in your best interest to remain as calm as possible throughout this pandemic so that your body stays healthy. So remind yourself that the best way to stay healthy is to chill out by taking deep breaths. Breathing slowly and deeply will help lower your stress levels instantly, making you feel calm and in control.


SH: What are the best ways to stop replaying the situation over and over in our heads?

JA: To disrupt the pattern of negativity that's happening in your head, introduce something else for your mind to think about—hop on TikTok, call a friend, turn on Netflix, work out. Whatever makes you feel happy or distracts you most. Make sure to have a toolkit of strategies in your back pocket that you can go to in times of stress to prevent you from going negative. Deep breathing will help you get into a state of calmness, but you need other fun strategies to keep you in a state of positivity.

Shutterstock: Woman on phone listening to music on headphones

(via Shutterstock)


SH: Generally speaking, how can we calm ourselves down after a slightly irresponsible coronavirus situation?

JA: The best way to calm down is to take back control of your situation by remembering not to touch your face, then washing your hands when you're finally able and then trusting that you did everything in your power to stay safe.

To help you believe that you're safe, try using affirmations as another tool to control the situation in your mind. An affirmation is a simple statement of encouragement and support that you can say to yourself to help you overcome negative thoughts. Affirmations really help fortify your strength and safety in your mind. All you have to do is repeat these simple phrases in your mind a few times: I am safe. I am healthy. I am strong. I am calm. Use these affirmations any time you feel yourself spiraling out of control with anxiety and fear.

For some people, knowing and understanding the facts and statistics about the likelihood of catching coronavirus can be helpful. However, for others, reading too much information can be overwhelming and stress-inducing. In this case, I suggest you listen to your own mind and choose what's best for you.


SH: Anything else you'd like to add on this matter?

JA: Every Wednesday until the end of May, I'm hosting a free 15-minute meditation livestream on Zoom. Simply download the Zoom app on your phone or computer and follow THIS link in order to receive the meditation link. It's a great way to practice how to destress during these tough times in just a short period of time!

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You know what else can take your mind off the madness? Staging a bikini photoshoot from home. HERE's how!