Q Dear Auntie Pearl, my friend at work told me I should stop stressing because if I don't, I will get Rona.
Now I’m not stupid, I know stressing won’t make you sick and give you this virus.
Or will it? She’s got me all confused now.
My friend is a very relaxed type of person, and me, I’m a very stressed-about-everything-in-my-life kinda girl – especially now with the Rona.
I’m so scared and stressed I will get Rona. So is my friend right, will stressing and overreacting and worrying make me get sick?
From Scared of Rona.
A Aai meisie, you sure do sound stressed out and scared.
But let Auntie tell you one thing, you are not alone, girla.
So many mense all over the world are now living in fear and stress because of this virus.
The thing is, poplap, your friend is actually on to something. She’s not as silly as you might skeem.
The virus might be spreading faster than a kwaai tune on Good Hope FM, but do you know what is spreading even faster?
The wrong information, or as we call it misinformation or fake news, around the virus.
Every time you hear a new story, rumour or liegstorie about Covid-19, then your body goes into survival mode, and that unnecessary stress actually compromises your immune system.
Every time you listen to the news, check the stats or hear about another person in your community or family being sick or dying, you stress.
It’s a stressful time, meisie, there’s no two ways about it.
But it’s important that we still see the positivity, the light, the beauty, and nice things in life.
Even if it’s small things like your hair looking nice today, your laaitie giving you a hug, taking a walk in nature, or you being able to provide your family with a nice meal.
These days, more than ever, it’s all about the small things.
Have you ever noticed that when you are overworked, not sleeping well and stressed about work, family or money, then you sommer get the flu on top of it as well?
Or a migraine or you are so tired you can’t move.
Now it’s not the actual stress that makes you sick, but the constant worrying is suppressing your immune system that keeps you healthy, and this then causes you to get sick more easily.
And while under all this stress, you quickly pop out to the winkel for a bread and a Coke, or you and your friend bounce an entjie on the stoep, and so come into close contact with a sick person, and boom, you pick up a bacteria or virus.
Now your stressed out body isn’t strong enough to fight off the infection as easily as your friend, who’s a bit less stressed, and then you get sick.
Just so you know, meisie, you can actually have physical symptoms of stress which include low energy, headaches, loopmaag, feeling naar, and sometimes stress can even cause you to develop ulcers.
And did you know, meisie, if you have long periods of stress, it can lead to actual proper diseases like heart problems and cancer.
So your friend telling you to stop stressing or you’ll get Covid is not that wrong.
Now Auntie’s not saying you will get Covid-19 because you stress.
I mean, you can meditate, do yoga, stretch, drink water, eat only oranges, drink vitamins and be as relaxed and as stress-free as a newborn kitten, but you might still get the Rona.
However, taking care of yourself as best you can – physically, emotionally and mentally – with the resources you have will definitely strengthen your immune system, thus giving you a fighting chance against the coronavirus.