There’s no need to point out the obvious; what we are going through as a collective society the last couple weeks is unprecedented. I don’t want to rehash the details, because frankly, the more people talk about it, the more anxious I become. Given my predisposition to anxiety (aka generalized anxiety disorder) and the world erupting into general paranoia, I’ve had a really hard time separating truth from hype. I’ve woken up in a panic because my allergies have made me cough. I’ve cried in fear that my employer might not pay me for working from home, and wondering if I have to take PTO to protect myself and others I love.
Our thoughts reflect our actions, and vice versa. Even though it has been a difficult time, I, like many others around me, have tried to keep my thoughts as positive as possible so that hopefully, I will start to feel a shift towards positivity. Here are some ways that I am trying to make the best of my “quarantime”:
- The obvious- take this time to connect with family and friends: As you may or may not know, I live alone. I am lucky enough to have my parents close by, and I am lucky that they wanted me to come over and spend time with them during this social isolation time. However, I know that not everyone is that lucky. If you are alone, or even if you are with others, take some time out of your day to intentionally connect with an old friend or family member. This is a unique time in life when most people that you haven’t talked to in a while are most likely free to chat- take advantage!
- Find a creative outlet. Think about the hobbies you’ve always wanted to start, but felt like you haven’t had the time to, and start making moves towards starting that hobby. My creative outlet is this blog- so I plan on spending more time writing meaningful and entertaining posts for you all to enjoy this week. Think about how you can use this time to tap into something you haven’t been able to.
- Stick to an agenda. Comfort and calmness come in the form of consistency for me. Even though most of us are working from home and have varying schedules, it is important to have a schedule for yourself daily, so that you don’t fall into lazy and anxious patterns.
- Find a physical release. Most gyms and studios are closing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to exercise. Get outside and go for a run or walk; watch online workout classes you can do at home. Releasing some endorphins will always help keep your positive outlook.
- Watch your words. Your thoughts become words, and words become actions. If you are talking in terms of doom and gloom, you and those around you will start to feel that way. Try to speak in a positive light and focus on things that bring you joy this week.
- Social Media/ News distancing. My favorite morning activity is listening to news podcasts, but lately, they have been starting my day in a very negative mindset. Give yourself time to take breaks from social media and the news if it is impacting your mental health negatively. Obviously, it is important to keep up with the latest updates, but you do not have to inundate yourself with constant coverage, or with constant social media posts. Now is the best time to start living in the moment!
- Find ways to support others and your community. Look into ways that you can help your community, if that appeals to you. Some people need help caring for children; others getting groceries. Even supporting your local businesses by ordering beer to go can make a huge difference. As much as this is probably impacting you, it is likewise impacting the greater world around you. Find your way to support others as well as yourself.
- Practice gratitude. Studies show that people who write down one thing they are grateful for each day will experience increased happiness within 30 days. As much as there is an emphasis on what is going wrong these days, take time to focus on all the things going right that you can be thankful for, and write it down.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you in this time. Remember how strong you are- we all have the ability to make the best of a crappy situation, you just have to unlock it!