Anxiety thrives on the unknown and there’s no denying that Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down. Every day brings new rules and limitations as we struggle to accept that “social distancing” is the new normal. Uncertainty and fear can really affect our way of thinking, where we start to imagine worst-case scenarios and replay them over and over in our minds. We tell ourselves that we are simply trying to be prepared, but focusing on these worst-case scenarios can lead to panic and negativity. So, while you prepare for the worst it’s also important for you to take steps to stay positive. In times like these, hope and positivity are what keep us from sinking into despair.
6 ways to maintain a positive perspective during this Pandemic
1. Limit your media intake
It is important to have accurate and up-to-date information on the pandemic but widespread media coverage of this collective crisis can amplify psychological distress. Binge watching news updates can trigger ‘fight or flight’ responses each time you watch them throughout the day which has a tremendous impact on your physical and mental health. The first step towards maintaining a positive perspective is to limit your media intake. Subscribe to official and authoritative information feeds such as the daily summaries from the World Health Organisation. Decide how often and for how long you need to watch daily news updates and plan your media intake accordingly.
2. Strike a balance with funny or uplifting videos
It’s not easy to stay positive and optimistic when you see this global tragedy unfolding day after day. Make it a point to watch uplifting or funny videos on a regular basis as this will help you work through the stress and loss with a healthy mind-set. It may take a while for your mood and outlook to change so be patient with yourself and accept and understand your emotions. Make it a point to share funny videos with your close friends and family and encourage them to do the same as this will help to prevent gloomy thoughts.
3. Exercise daily
Social distancing might prevent you from going to the park for a run but that doesn’t mean that you can’t workout at home. You can start with simple cardio exercises and then slowly increase the intensity and duration of your workout. You can also include 2-3 sessions of body resistance exercises per week to help you meet your fitness goals. There are several reasons you should exercise during lockdown – from physical and mental health benefits to improving your emotional health. Physical activities also trigger the release of endorphins or “happy hormones” which help to decrease stress and induce a feeling of well-being.
4. Follow a daily schedule
We are creatures of habit and it is our daily routine that gives us a sense of normality and security. Our daily routines have been upended by this Covid-19 pandemic which only serves to heighten our insecurities and fears. Whether you are working from home or not, create a daily schedule as this will help you regain control over your life and give you a sense of comfort. It may take a couple of days for you to establish a new daily routine, especially if you’re working. If you have children, you can create schedules for them which would include their study and play timings as well as daily chores.
5. Connect with friends and family
It is important to stay physically isolated but that doesn’t mean that you have to be socially isolated. We are dealing with this pandemic together – as a family, community, state, country and world. Have regular video calls with your loved ones and don’t focus only on the current crisis but instead, discuss your lives and make plans for future vacations together. These emotional check-ins will allow you and your family to draw strength from each other, stay positive and maintain healthy relationships.
6. Invest in self-care and fighting stress
It’s not easy to balance work responsibilities with taking care of your families in the midst of this pandemic. Schedule your day so that you have a few minutes at the start of your day and at the end to simply relax and allow the stress of the day to wash away. Explain to your kids that the lockdown and social precautions may continue for a while and that everyone in the family will need to pitch in to pull up the slack around the house. Find new ways to manage your stress – since you can’t socialise with others, enjoy some alone time over the weekend with a good book and a glass of wine.
Constantly look for and share tips on self-care in the time of Covid-19 and take steps to control your fears and anxiety. This will help you retain your positive attitude even amidst the chaos and confusion. Look for the positives – you get to spend more quality time with your family, your children learn new hobbies, you start to enjoy family workouts together and most importantly you get this opportunity to bond with each other. There’s no denying that this pandemic has wrought havoc on a global scale, but don’t forget "happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
Originally published on Live Positively.