Updated: Jun 21, 2021
If you had told me last year that soon I'll be writing a blog on Pandemic time positivity, I would have probably laughed it off. But now that we are all still in this after 45 days of isolation, and by all I mean the entire world, it seems more and more difficult to imagine a life outside of our current predicament with each passing day. I get asked this one question very often these days - " What would you do once the lockdown gets over?" - and in all honesty, I don't have an answer. I do not know how we will ease back into what we're now referring to as "normal life".
My life changed drastically. From hardly being home and traveling every month to never leaving the house and being confined in a small apartment space. I'm sure a lot of my readers are also experiencing the same. "Lockdown", "Social Distancing" and "Isolation" are words we are hearing every single day. With the nation wide lockdown extending for yet another 2 weeks, uncertainty and fear are rampart. We're are all living in a state of limbo, with the fear of the unknown. Not knowing exactly where our life is heading in terms of career, health and relationships can cause serious anxiety.
However, there is hope. Despite our anxious brain's effort to highlight the terrible and cause a sense of despair, we can find hope and positivity amidst the Corona Pandemic. I agree, it does take intentional effort, but with a little amount of determination and practice, there are ways that can boost your confidence, nurture optimism and build emotional endurance, so you can face hardships and instability better in the times to come. Here are 8 steps I have been following to feel positive and free of despair during these uncertain times, which you can try too:
1. The Attitude of Gratitude: Even when life seems tough and opportunities seem bleak, there is a lot in our lives to be thankful for. All it takes is a mindful minute to look around and realise that we do have certain amenities that keep us comfortable and sane during the crisis. I'm writing this as point 1 because gratitude has been the strongest pillar in my life each time I even start to feel low. I am beyond explanation grateful for being surrounded by my family. My brother was able to come back home just a day before inter state travel was banned in the country and I have been thankful for his presence here every single day.
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I can understand how being thankful and happy about what we have can seem difficult when our mind is fixating on a specific problem but you can adapt simple practices or habits that will go a long way in life! You can keep a gratitude journal or do a quick morning gratefulness meditation. Notice both significant and small items for which you are thankful. This can include your home, your health, your family, your friends, your ability to put food on your table, and other essentials. Smaller things such as more momentary pleasures including like a chilled glass of iced tea, a calming bath, a good book, or a funny meme can also make a difference. Be sure to include as much detail into your gratefulness practice as possible. 2. Start and End Your Day on a Positive Note:
Finding a balanced morning routine can really change your life. Don't reach out to your phone or laptop to check the news first thing in the morning. Same goes for when you're going to bed. It is important to distance yourself from the crisis in the first and last few minutes of the day. Being your day by following a routine that brings joy to you. For me, it's either the question of what I'll make for breakfast or writing down my to-do list for the day. I have found that both cooking and making lists are activities that truly create a balance in my mind. These activities help me drive away the anxious thoughts.
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Make sure to start and end your day with a smile. Find a minute to just smile. You can follow this with a quick meditative practice or journaling. It is important that you find an activity that centres you and brings a strong sense of hope. 3. Slow Down This period of lockdown and staying at home all day has caused a new form of restlessness when it comes to productivity. I've come across two types of people online. One who are extremely charged and determined to learn new things, to grow on social media and to work like they've never before. And the others who are feeling left out and demotivated. I will admit that in the first couple of weeks I felt a sense of despair taking over me for not being able to be as productive as other people I come across on social media. But with time, I realised a few things: - I don't know the circumstances the other person is in - Social media is a limited showcase of one's life - We are all trying to work through a crisis - It is extremely important to slow down
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Well, what I actually learnt from this is to "cut myself some slack". So my advice to you is - Don’t rush into things, including growth for yourself as a person, or your work. There is no need to hurry right now. One of the upsides of social isolation is the time and ability to pace yourself and let go of some usual anxieties. This is the right time to enhance your awareness by practicing mindfulness. You can do this by trying to remain as present as possible. Focus on the details around you, like scents, and sounds. Try to lower the volume of your thoughts, so you can hear your inner voice and feel at peace.
4. Exercise This is nothing new. I'm sure you must have already read or heard from thousands of people on social media that exercise, even during lockdown can really change how you feel. So, I'm not going to do on about this. But keep in mind that exercise doesn't have to mean something strenuous or new like burpees. It can very simply just mean taking 30 minutes out every day to stretch your muscles, walk around in your own house or actively participate in household chores.
Photo by Burst
5. Find Time to Relax: This must seem juxtaposed right after exercise but well yes, it was intentional. Sometimes, we can get caught up in chores, digital world, news and TV, giving our muscles as well as brain no time to relax. It is also very important to make time to relax and switch off from the world around us. Everyone relaxes in different ways. It could be reading a book, having a cuddle with your pet, doing some art or some meditation or relaxation exercises. I like sitting in my balcony without my phone and just looking at the world around me. This has been something that has brought true peace and happiness to me lately.
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6. Keep in Touch with Friends & Family: If you think about it, "Social Distancing" is only "Physical Distancing". One of the most important thing to be grateful for is the ease of digital connectivity we have with the world. Your family, friends and colleagues can be in any part of the world right now and you could still talk to them every day. Personally, I wasn't so much of a call conversationalist, but with the lockdown, I have had the time to catch up with my cousins, my friends and family who are in different parts of the world and it makes me happy!
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If you’re staying by yourself or not being able to hang out with your friends or family as much as you normally would, there are so many other ways to keep in touch. Whether it’s picking up the phone, having a dinner date by video, having a conference call with your friends or sending voice notes – there are lots of ways to communicate so you can keep in touch and not feel alone.
7. Walk away from stressful conversations and situations: With the world in a state of peril, it is easy to get pulled into negative interactions that can leave us feeling distressed, frightened, insecure and pessimistic. In order to manage your stress well and contribute to your positive state of mind, it is important to recognise such interactions early on and distancing yourself from them. There's a difference between staying informed and aware of what is happening locally and globally and giving into the negativity of the situation. Create a healthy balance between watching the news or discussing the pandemic and your regular routine. Give time to yourself. Do what you usually would, just from home. 8. Create and nurture your digital community:
This can mean different things to different people. For me, I have been enjoying connecting and having conversations with content creators on Instagram from around the world. There are so many people in the world with similar goals as yours or similar interests as yours, it is absolutely invigorating to know their stories.
You can take this time to connect with friends from your childhood, or colleagues and even distant relatives. It will be a unique experience for sure. There's nothing better than holding conversations with people who lead very different lives from you. It gives you a sense of the world.
Finally, and most importantly, Have Faith! Everything will be better soon. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to me on my Instagram or email me at email@example.com and I assure you, you'll always find a friend in me,