Staying positive during a time of crisis is extremely difficult, especially when we are uncertain about what the future may hold.
With many schools out of session, restaurants and non-essential services closed, and many family members working from home, our day-to-day may not be what we are used to.
While we know that social distancing is important for keeping ourselves and our communities safe, it can weigh on our mental health. Prioritizing our well-being and finding small ways to feel normal, healthy, and even happy can help us get through this difficult time together.
Create a Routine: By creating and sticking to a routine, you may find that you feel more accomplished and fulfilled throughout your day. In fact, people with consistent routines feel that their lives are more meaningful than those who don’t. Consider finding small ways to establish a routine to give your day structure. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, setting meal times, and scheduling time for daily chores and exercise can make all the difference when stuck at home.
Practice Self-Compassion: It is easy to get down on ourselves for what we should be doing or feeling. Rather than judging yourself, try to practice compassion and understand that we are all doing our best. Practicing self-forgiveness can reduce stress and help us be more present and compassionate towards others in our life, too. There are many resources online to help you practice self-compassion, like www.self-compassion.org or www.calm.com.
Express Gratitude: We can always find small things in our lives to be grateful for, even in the midst of a global pandemic. By being mindful of the small blessings in our lives, we can shift our focus from the stressors in our life to the things that bring us joy. Gratitude is shown to help us enhance positive feelings in our life and bring us closer to others, strengthening existing relationships. You can express gratitude privately by making a list of things you are grateful for, or you can express gratitude to others to help improve your mood and theirs!
Be Kind and Compassionate to Others: Just as we should practice self-compassion, it is important to extend this compassion to others. It is important to remember that we are all experiencing uncomfortable emotions right now, and finding opportunities to be kind to others can make all the difference — not only in their lives, but also in our own. Acts of kindness can be simple, like thanking a friend for their service as an essential worker, helping a vulnerable neighbor, or leaving a tip for your delivery driver.
Seek Opportunities to Connect: Social connection is one of the strongest predictors of happiness, which makes this time of isolation especially difficult. While we can’t hop over to our neighbor’s house or share lunch with a friend, we can find creative ways to connect with others. Making time to chat virtually with those we can’t see in person can help us feel more connected and less alone.
Take a Break from the News: While it is important to stay informed, overconsumption of news can bring us anxiety. If you have children in your home, they could also be impacted by your stress, and they could begin to worry too. Try to be mindful of how you are feeling as you watch the news and scroll through social media, and try to shift to another activity if you notice that it is impacting you negatively.
These tips are recommendations from a Psychology Today article.