It’s hard to live in a world that’s fighting a pandemic and still feel like things will be okay. It’s even harder to do so when you’re in quarantine and are basically a trapped audience for all the negativity that’s in the media and social media these days.
Feeling sad or down is only natural, especially in lockdown, but the thing to come to terms with is that the fighting COVID-19 will be more of a slow burn than a lightning bolt. We have a bit of a battle ahead of us still and we need to find ways to not let it sadden or depress us mentally.
So here are 7 ways to stay positive as the world combats the coronavirus.
- Accept that there are some things you can’t control
Not being able to go out, the constant worry about the virus and how it’s spreading as well as the effect it’s had around the world can make you feel helpless.
But remember that it’s just a feeling. Though you can’t control what’s going to happen, you’re definitely in control of what you do. Tune out the noise and engage in activities that you’ve always enjoyed to occupy your mind or even focus on a new hobby, like gardening or reading, to regain a sense of purpose and control.
- Stay informed but don’t obsess
The worst thing to do at a time like this is to be constantly reading everything related to coronavirus (it’s kind of like googling symptoms when you’re unwell and becoming convinced that you have a rare gland disorder).
Feel free to read the news, but, when you do, try to focus on the wider, long-term impact of the pandemic, rather than just the short-term, immediate aftermath. Though we’re affected personally, you’re definitely not alone. 2.6 billion people around the world feel the same way. Looking at the situation through a wider lens helps you see how we proceed from here as a people and not just individually.
- Focus on the little pleasures
This is kind of a no-brainer and it’s something we should all do more even in regular life, but we’ve always had the excuse of being busy. Since we have a little time on our hands these days, stop and smell the virtual flowers sometimes.
Take a little longer to eat your lunch, savour a cup of coffee instead of chugging it down to fuel your work day, focus on conversations more… our freedoms may be temporarily curtailed but there are still plenty of things to love. Also, fun fact, when your brain is given time to process these little joys, your serotonin levels rise, making you feel calmer and happier.
- Lean on someone
Nothing makes you feel calmer than when you get to vent and rant about your frustrations. Keeping your thoughts, anxieties and fears pent up can make you feel even more isolated, which is not the best thing to do in lockdown.
Communicate with your friends, family and colleagues. Simply vocalizing your thoughts to someone who cares and is listening can be therapeutic. You’ll walk away feeling much closer to the other person and happier as a result since human beings are social by nature.
- Take breaks when you need them
It’s easy to overwork yourself when you’re at home, whether it’s on chores or working from home. Make sure that you take a breather when you’re feeling drained, regardless of whether that strain is physical or emotional.
Pushing yourself to do something despite not feeling your best can increase anxiety so don’t make things harder for yourself. Sleep or rest when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry… in short, just take care of the basics. This keeps you feeling a little lighter and has the added benefit of maintaining your immune system.
- See the good in others
Times of crisis can bring out the very best and the very worst in people but we can definitely choose what we focus on. Even the worst behaviour might be stemming from relevant causes (though this is an explanation rather than a justification).
Focus on the incredible human beings who are fighting on the front lines, like members of the police force, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, as well as service industry workers. They are literally risking their lives and their health, not to mention that of their families, so we can all sleep a little easier and feel a little safer. These everyday displays of selflessness make it hard to believe in only the bad side of things.
- Look forward!
Lastly, don’t be bogged down by the now. Lockdown, quarantine, no matter how long they last, they make up a mere fraction of your life. This will end eventually, and you will have the rest of your life to get back to.
Consider what’s happening, yes, but don’t let it stop you from thinking and making plans for the future. Whether it was a trip to a country you’ve always wanted to visit or a present that you wanted to gift yourself, you’ll still be able to do it all!
After all, this is just a speed bump on the way, not the destination.