There’s no doubt that the world is full of bad news these days. COVID-19 has created a public health crisis and an economic crisis. People around the world are suffering and wondering what comes next—and worrying might be easier than ever if you have a lot of extra time on your hands due to social distancing recommendations.
But a positive attitude can be the key to protecting your emotional health during these critical times. Here are some tips to help you turn that frown upside down.
It’s easy to watch Netflix all day or get lost in the internet, but it’s better to stay busy with activities that keep your mind and/or your body active. For example, you could:
- Sort through all the stuff in your garage
- Organize your home
- Pick up a new hobby or get back to an old hobby
- Learn a new skill (for example, you could learn another language, take online drawing lessons, or master the fine art of hanging a spoon on your nose)
- Escape into a different world by reading good stories
However you decide to use your time, setting goals can give you a sense of accomplishment. For example, you might spend an hour each day practicing an instrument, or you might decide to sort through one pile of stuff in your garage each day. When you reach those goals, you can pat yourself on the back, treat yourself to a drink, and contemplate how awesome you are.
Limit Your News Intake
It’s good to know what is going on in the world, but only to an extent. If you spend too much time reading or watching the news, you might find that it has a seriously bad impact on your mood. It might be best to stick to just reading the news highlights or only watching the news once every few days.
Care for Your Physical Health
If you are at home all day every day, it can be all too easy to cope with boredom and stress with food. And let’s face it—food is comforting. Sugar even creates a pleasure-inducing chemical reaction in the brain. But overindulging in quarantine snacks, and not paying attention to proper nutrition, could have dire effects on physical health. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food, but moderation is important.
Also, exercise can do wonders for your mood because it releases feel-good endorphins. If you can’t get outside or go to the gym to get your sweat on, there are tons of free exercise videos on YouTube that can help you work on your cardiovascular health, build muscle, or increase your flexibility.
Stay in Touch with Loved Ones
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life. Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.”
Try to call, text, or visit someone via video every day. They will appreciate the company, and you may find some stress relief by talking to the people whom you care about most. You could even go old school and try writing some snail mail letters!
Look Forward to What’s Ahead
The world is messed up, but all bad situations are temporary. Sooner or later, COVID-19 and the problems it is causing will fade into memory. Yes, the world may be different when social distancing ends, but it will still be here, and you’ll be able to settle into a somewhat normal routine again. And maybe you will come out of this crisis with a new appreciation for life and all its beautiful aspects.
What are you doing to stay positive during the COVID-19 crisis? Let us know in the comments!