Just like you, I’ve had a lot of life adjustments to make over the last few weeks — and I’m not going to deny it, it’s been tough to stay positive and not feel anxious about the world we are living in right now.
The days when we could freely go to restaurants with friends, meet for happy hour on a Friday with co-workers, or hopping on a plane for a vacation, seems so long ago. We can quickly feel sad and hopeless when the future is uncertain, and we don’t know when we’ll all get back to “normal.” While social distancing is necessary for all of us to stay healthy and safe, you can find ways to stay positive and mentally fit. Here are five things that work for me.
1. Limit Your Intake of News
It’s okay to stay informed, but obsessing over the news and being inundated with only information about the pandemic can take a toll on your mental health. I was quickly going down that rabbit hole before I stopped myself and only checked the news once or twice a day. If you can, keep the news channels off. This also means limiting your time on social media as well. From memes to videos, social media newsfeeds are inundated with content about the coronavirus.
2. Get Physical
When stuck at home, it can be easy to get into a sedentary rut — especially with gyms and other exercise studios closed. Staying physically active is not only good for you physically, but mentally too. So, take time out of your day to find some way to keep your body moving. I have my yoga mat in my living room and roll it out every morning to get the blood flowing, and then in the afternoon, I’ll take a long walk in my neighborhood. You don’t have to run a marathon to feel the positive effects of the endorphins; you just have to find something that can keep you off the couch.
3. Stay in Touch With Family and Friends
If you are anxious or unmotivated, call or video chat a friend or family member. I personally have my Aunt Marie on speed dial when I’m having an anxious moment. Talking to someone you care about and who also cares about you can help you cope with the struggles you are facing. You can also do group video chats. Platforms such as Zoom or Facebook Messenger make it easy. My family has made it a point to do a video chat at least once a week.
4. Find Ways to Relax
When a bout of anxiousness starts to creep up, I know it’s time to take a break. If it’s during the workday, I’ll step away from my desk for 10 minutes and just sit quietly in another room to regroup. Some may call it meditation, but for me, it’s just shutting my mind off for a few minutes to recharge. Here are some other things I like to do to stay positive and keep anxiety at bay:
- Take a bubble bath – light some candles and put on some music while you soak away the blues!
- Color – I have an adult coloring book and a good set of colored pencils. I love getting lost in picking the colors and watching my black and white print come to life.
- Watch a funny movie – Pop some popcorn or make a few of your favorite snacks and enjoy a good laugh.
- Play with your pet – Did you know that having a pet can reduce stress and anxiety? When I play with or pet my little Chihuahua, Cha Cha, my worries seem to melt away! If you don’t have a pet at the moment, watching cute animal videos on YouTube can also bring down your stress levels.
- Write in a Journal – I love journaling. Not only does it inspire me to be more creative and improve my writing skills, getting my worries and frustrations out on paper can be a wonderful anxiety reducer.
Have a “Night In”
Recently my boyfriend and I had a “Night In,” and it was one of the best things we could have done. It really lifted our spirits. First, we cooked a meal together, which was fun in itself, and then we both got dressed up like we were going to a 5-star restaurant. We set the table, opened a bottle of wine, and put on some music. We also did a few dances in the living room, which, as I mentioned above, kept us active! If you have kids, having a “night in” can be fun for the whole family!
From staying physically active in finding ways to relax, committing to doing something for yourself each day, can go a long way in helping you stay positive each day.