It is hard to stay positive in a situation where worries are in the forefront. The recent situation with the COVID-19 virus seems to change every day (or even every hour) and the news is not good. It can be overwhelming and concerning for almost anyone, even those who claim to be handling it well. As a society, we have never experienced anything like this before.
When your fears get the better of you, write down your thoughts. It can be in a journal, a piece of paper, or you could even email yourself. Acknowledging fears, finding coping mechanisms and possible solutions can be freeing by putting these thoughts into written words.
Accept the situation for what it is. These are frightening times. When negative thoughts come into your head, if you can – immediately try to replace them with something positive. There is always something good to focus on. Every cloud can have a silver lining. You just have to look for it.
Keep your thoughts neutral. Make them gray. Keep clear of black and white. Avoid words like always, every, and never – use them with caution. Don’t assume – we all know what happens when you assume (just trying to be light and easy during this rough time). Also, forget must, should have and have to – these words can bring up preconceived thoughts that might leave you feeling guilty, frustrated, worried or just plain sad.
Follow your passion. If possible, do what you enjoy. Watch what you want on television. Listen to the music you like. Take this time “being home” to indulge in your favorite guiltiest pleasure – there’s never been a time like this before. Get organized. Catch up on some extra sleep. Make phone calls to people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Write a letter – try an old fashioned snail mail one. People love receiving actual mail instead of always just getting email.
Remember, this too shall pass. It doesn’t appear that it will, with the news seemingly getting worse every time we listen to a report. Try not to pay attention to the doom and gloom. Understand that this darkness will not last forever, and we will emerge into the light – maybe not soon enough, but it will happen.
If you think it will help, let yourself have a cry session. Cry to clear out the bad feelings. Acknowledge that this is awful, and this is scary. Let yourself feel. Do not let it go on for too long, however. The goal of this is to feel better, not worse.
Give back. Be the reason someone else feels better. Do something to make them laugh, to make them smile. Try to comfort them into a good mood. When you make someone else happy, you will feel happy also.
Exercise. Eat well. Be active (as active as you can be at home). Get extra sleep, which is a good thing for everyone. It is helpful to find something to watch (or listen to) to make you laugh. Laughing and smiling are very good things to experience when life and problems have you feeling down.
Be vigilant. Wash your hands as directed. Sanitize objects you come in contact with, like door handles, gas pumps and shopping cart handles. Stay away from people who are showing obvious signs of being sick. Don’t go out in crowds unless it is absolutely necessary. Listen to the recommendations of those in charge. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be very well prepared to weather this storm.