For most people, this is the worst period of their lives. The majority of people alive today didn’t witness the Spanish Flu or the Bubonic Plague. We do not really get the idea of a global pandemic — one of this magnitude and one which has claimed as many lives and caused as much disruption as this one has.
So first the situation comes across as strange. Then it gradually gets depressing (See our previous blog post “Dealing with Anxiety and Depression During the Covid-19 Outbreak” for more on how to cope with the depression. You find life generally frustrating as you cannot do the things you once did before. Going to the movies or the stadium to watch your favorite teams — those things are not feasible, at least for now.
It is almost unbearable. It can make you sick too. But in the midst of this crisis, the perfect remedy is staying positive. Below are some of the things you can do to keep your mind in good shape in these trying times.
Do Not Overthink It. In times like this, there is a tendency to think far more than is necessary. You wonder what would happen if no cure or vaccine is found before July or August. What becomes of the economy? Are we all going to starve? Is this the end of the world? Am I going to die?
It is perfectly normal to have these kinds of thoughts in your head. The situation is a dire one. But these thoughts are not going to do you any good in the long run. It is best to put them aside and consciously reduce the amount of time you spend focused on negativity.
Live in the Moment. Don’t hold your breath thinking the world is going to come crashing down at any moment. Breathe. Take every day in your stride. They say tough times don’t last; only tough people do. Your life may have taken a sudden twist, but it is still your life. And you can make the very best out of it. Enjoy the moment. Be happy for the fact that you’re still alive and living in hope for a brighter day.
Get Some Motivation. It’s easy to be low on mental energy now – I daresay that’s the default mode everyone around the world is in. The world seems quiet all around you. There is little motion everywhere. And there is every chance that the mood could be infecting you too. At some point, you may have thought of doing a simple project to keep busy but now you feel like you are running out of steam.
You have to fight it. By watching motivational videos, reading books, or listening to podcasts with positive, inspirational themes, you can get your energy level right up again.
Focus on the Positives. The media is awash with the catastrophic effects of Coronavirus. You see it on television — the rising numbers, the piling bodies, overworked and exhausted health workers, and so on. You can hardly keep up with the statistics. One day it’s 1,000,000 cases, another day it has risen to over 2,200,000. You get scared. It seems the Coronavirus is like a hurricane sweeping across the earth, taking everything in its path.
But that’s not the whole story. Check these:
- Aged people are recovering. One common feature of the Coronavirus virus crisis is the high mortality of people who are 55 years and above to the virus. In Wuhan, a 103-year-old Chinese grandmother made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for only six days. Some few weeks ago, the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles of Wales caught the virus. Yet, he had only practiced self-isolation after showing mild symptoms and successfully recovered. These are only a few examples of aged people who have come out of a Coronavirus infection unhurt.
- High recovery rates. Out of the total number of cases with an outcome, a whopping 80 percent have recovered. We would want it to be 100% but this is far better compared to the SARS and MERS pandemics. Coronavirus is no death sentence.
Work Healthy. It may be that you fall into the category of people who have taken their offices home. Jobs like journalism, researching, software development, business consulting, data analysis, accounting, etc. would still require a lot of work. Some even more than before. It is important, however, that you do not get overwhelmed by the pressures of your work. How can you do that?
First, create a timetable. Dedicate a specific portion of your 24hours per day to work and the rest for yourself. You may decide to work 6 hours straight once with a 30 minutes break in between, or you could make it two batches of 3 hours. One batch during the day and one at night. You can even use the Pomodoro method and work in much shorter intervals.
Choose which method works best for you. If you are disciplined enough to go on a stretch, then do. If not, then you can break your work hours into batches and do something else in between. That way, you won’t begin to feel bored too quickly.
Whichever you choose, always ensure you do not keep work stacked up close to your deadlines. In this way, you can avoid anxiety and panic which is not healthy for you.
Take time to relax. Going out may not be the best idea now but you can decide to take a walk around the yard. Do you have some space on the roof? Grab a chair and go there. Being under a lockdown doesn’t mean you should hole yourself up in your living room and browse the internet all day.
Try this: put your phone off for about 3 hours. The internet is a noisy place. You could spend the whole day sifting through information that is going to affect your thinking negatively. Leaving you far worse at the end of the day than you were at the beginning. Switch off your data. Disconnect your WIFI. Get away from the internet for a day and discover the positive changes to your mind. You will be amazed.
Meditate. The practice of shutting yourself from all random thoughts even for a few minutes can help boost your mind and lead you towards greater positive thinking. Meditation has a way of refocusing all your internal energy. Making you better prepared to face what’s out there. And right now, you need all the strength you can get.
If you’ve been motivating before, then all you need to do is to continue and spend more time at it. If you’re just starting out, the good thing is that you don’t need any equipment or special training – Just look it up on Google and you’ll find helpful primers with which you can start your own meditation journey.
Lastly, stay hopeful. Worry less. Everything has an end. Including Coronavirus.
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