I posted an article on how to survive quarantine in 2020 a few weeks ago and gave you a few tips on how to structure your time and make the most of this situation.
Nevertheless, today I want to emphasize that it’s okay if you’ve been having a hard time through the past few weeks. It’s okay to feel sad, confused, hopeless, or powerless. Only once you accept your feelings you can anticipate some positive change.
(Important: communicare your emotions to your family and friends, and ask for help if you’re struggling with the current situation.)
Here are some tips and tricks on how to stay positive.
1. Know when to stop watching the news
I noticed that the media was more often than not bringing me down with all the negativity and bad news. I think this is mostly due to the selective reporting; the media is more likely to talk about deaths and new cases of COVID-19 but rarely mentions positive things like, for example, how many people got better that day and left the hospital.
However, judging by my own experiences, especially in times like these, we are desperate for good news like that. Limit the time spent watching or reading the news (one hour per day should suffice in my opinion) and do something that makes you happy instead! Bake, exercise, draw, read? So many options!
2. Find the perfect exercise for you
This is the best time to try out different kinds of exercise to see what works best for you. You can try yoga, salsa, hip-hop, running, hiking, weight lifting, or hiit training. I bet you can find something that you like.
Regardless of the situation, it remains very important to take care of our health and our bodies. Personally, I find special pleasure in making my body stronger as I now realize what it’s capable of. It’s time to nourish our bodies and be thankful for all they can do and achieve.
3. Three good things
This is an evidence based psychological intervention fit for everybody to do at home. It goes like this: before you go to bed take a few minutes to think about three good things that happened during the past week. Give each event a title and write down what happened, who was with you, how you felt and how you feel about it now. It’s important to write it down so that after a few weeks you can browse through the moments and smile at all the little things that made you happy.
You can trim this exercise to fit you personally, for example, you can write down one thing that you’re thankful for each day or go for as many as you can think of.
This exercise is known to reduce stress, introduce hope and positivity in your life, improve your close relationships and reduce the feeling of loneliness. If this isn’t reason enough to do it I don’t know what is!
4. Make travel plans
Although all travel plans are indefinitely cancelled, you can make bucket lists for destinations you plan to visit when this nightmare ends!
I don’t know about you but I often run out of time to properly prepare for travelling and find myself making plans three days before departure! Now is the perfect time to plan ahead of time and see which cities you want to visit or what you want to do next.
For ideas, visit my travel page and inspire yourself with travel itineraries, guides and bucket lists!
Fingers crossed we can travel as soon as this summer!
5. Practice mindfulness
Have you ever caught yourself doing two things at once but thinking of something else? Sadly most of us are living in a dream-like state and are not really connected to the world around us which results in missing out on our own lives. It’s high time that we start living mindfully.
Be aware of your thoughts and emotions: acknowledge your thoughts and learn to non-judgmentally observe them as they come and go.
Eat mindfully: when you sit down to eat or drink focus all your attention on what is in front of you and don’t attempt to do other things at the same time.
Observe your breathing and connect with your five senses. This helps you free yourself shortly from worries and fears and reminds you of your inner spirit.
Walk mindfully: notice the surroundings and the beautiful nature and pay attention to the movement of our bodies.
Do the things you love: we all have something we love doing. Do that thing as often as you can and lose yourself in it. Pour your love and attention into the present moment and connect with your inner spirit!
Listen wholeheartedly: when talking to others, fully listen to what they are saying and don’t get lost in your thoughts in between.
Mindfulness benefits our general health, decreases depressive symptoms, enhances resilience and reduces stress.
6. Schedule a video call with your friends
Even though this is a time for social distancing, you shouldn’t forget about your friends! Text them and schedule face time. You will see how much you needed a careless chat with your best friend. I promise you’ll feel better in an instant. Drink a glass of wine with your friend – just as if you were together!
7. Make a list of your accomplishments
You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with work or you might find yourself procrastinating and feeling like you’re not actually accomplishing anything …
I suggest you make a list of all your accomplishments during quarantine! I bet you started or have already finished a paper, sent out a few urgent e-mails, cleaned the apartment, decorated your room, cleansed your closet or watched some movies. If nothing else, you already made 20+ lunches and that’s something to celebrate, too!
Fill the list with your past activities and give yourself the credit that you deserve. We’ve got this!
8. Relax in the nature
(Skip this if you live in a big city and currently don't have a chance to stroll the woods.)
For me, being and breathing in the nature is very important. Taking a walk or running thought the forest improves my mood and spirits. It helps me see how calm and peaceful the nature is.
The nature knows nothing of the pandemic but rather lives normally on. It reminds me that this too shall pass and that stress and fear is known only to people but not to the beautiful nature surrounding us.
9. Sleep well
Sleep is important for a number of reasons (read my blog post here). Besides reenergizing, sleep makes the learning process more efficient, helps us concentrate, and influences our eating and mood. Sleep also boosts our immune system, which is obviously very beneficent during coronavirus pandemic.
Worrying and stress often cause poor sleep and/or sleep disturbances. Therefore, it is important to relax before going to bed. Some reading before going to bed always does the trick for me!
Screen time should be limited in the last two hours before bed time – try to watch less television and stop scrolling Instagram! Don’t watch the news after 8 PM if you know they upset you.
Your last coffee should happen before midday so it doesn’t affect your sleep (caffeine remains in our body for up to 12 hours and can lower the quality of our sleep).
Bubble baths also work; they are very soothing and fight even extreme levels of stress.
And lastly, be sure to keep a routine in your sleep. Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same hour every day. Remember: for proper functioning we need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Let’s get it!
It is well known that helping others makes you feel good. Use the time that you have to volunteer at a local community!
Think about what you have to offer (what is your occupation, what experiences do you have, what are your hobbies) and how could that benefit the local community. Many people have found themselves in odd (or even hard) circumstances and will greatly appreciate your help, I’m sure!
This is a list of things that help me stay calm, content and positive. I hope you find some inspiration in the list that helps you remain optimistic and happy.
Dear readers, share with me what you do to ensure some positivity and peace in your life. Let’s fight this together and stay positive! As they say, “This too shall pass.”