Finding it tougher than usual to stay positive these days? The struggle is real anytime, but now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, finding the silver lining can feel next to impossible sometimes. Therapist Dr.Shannon O’Neill explains one reason it’s hard to maintain a sense of peace is because a lot of the quarantine rules “are mimicking symptoms of depression.” But she says these tips can help lift our moods and keep our spirits up while we’re staying inside and having very little contact with the outside world.
- Do more of what made you happy before this started- Think back to your pre-pandemic routine and what brought you joy. Figure out how to do more of whatever it is, from getting in a good workout to connecting with loved ones - even if it has to be on FaceTime for now.
- Remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for- It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the bad news, but you can try to balance that out by being grateful. Dr. O’Neill suggests thinking of three things you’re thankful for every day and says there’s no shame in keeping it simple, like a part of your day that went well.
- Treat yourself first thing in the morning- To battle that “Groundhog Day” feeling a lot of us are experiencing from waking up and doing the exact same thing every single day, try indulging yourself during your morning routine. This could be taking a bath instead of a quick shower, treating yourself to a fancy coffee creamer, or whatever you enjoy that breaks you out of the repetition.
- Use your pent-up energy to get creative- Lots of folks are turning to puzzles, but it can be anything that helps you focus on something that takes all your attention. Break out your coloring books, learn to knit like you always wanted, or bake some cookies, it’s all about a creative distraction from the routine.
- Schedule time to worry- This may seem counterintuitive, but you’re going to worry anyway, so you might as well do it right. It’s not just picking random times to wallow in bad news, it’s choosing a 20-minute daily time slot to allow yourself to worry. Use that time to fret about anything that makes you nervous and anxious, but set a timer so you know when to snap out of it. When something pops into your head later, remind yourself to save it for the next worry session and chances are, you’ll forget about it by then.