With COVID-19 making its way across the globe, numerous individuals are being urged to practice social (or physical) distancing. While social distancing initiatives can be enormously beneficial when implemented together to reduce the spread of coronavirus illness, they can also take a toll on people's happiness and mental health. Afterall, for most people, social interactions are amongst the reasons why people are happy. The question now is, how do you stay happy and still have good mental health when physical social interactions are kept at minimum?
Although prioritizing happiness during a pandemic may seem pointless, we will still encounter meaningful moments in our daily lives and there are many reasons why we should consider accepting those experiences. Firstly, wanting to be happy does not automatically mean we're going to be resistant to the issues around us. In reality, happier people are more likely to think about the problems facing society. We might be best able to draw the resources to counter this pandemic by sustaining a certain degree of happiness right now and focusing on joy likewise doesn't mean ignoring or suppressing negative emotions.
And luckily for you, I’ve listed five tips to help you stay happy and keep your mental health well during this period of self-isolation, for however long this needs to last in order to contain the situation so that we can go out of our homes again safely.
Self-isolation allows us the opportunity to learn how to be comfortable in a state of peace and stillness. It makes you realize that you don’t always have to think of something to do nor say. Use this as an opportunity to relax for a while. On the off chance that you are constantly used to having a bustling timetable or working more than one job, this might be the break you didn’t know you needed. You won't have the option to do everything like you generally did before. This is an unusual scenario. Treat it as such. Be honest with yourself regarding what your capacity is at the moment. Try not to trouble yourself with the things you can't do and instead, center on the things you can do. One thing at a time. One task at a time. One goal at a time.
When confronted with an external threat such as COVID-19, acceptance can not only significantly minimize distress or anxiety but it can actually make us feel more secure. Battling against the situation at hand continually prevents us from adopting habits that may reduce the risk of infection, such as social (or physical) distancing. Once we accept the situation we are currently in right now, we are much more likely to take part in such possibly life-sparing practices. If we let go of attempting to control the world or our programmed emotional reactions, we can arrive at more solaces and supports through proactive thinking. At times like this, it is imperative to stop and help ourselves to remember the intensity of our own resilience and adaptability. We have all been tested before, and we can increase our perspective from those experiences by recalling how we adapted, and afterwards applying that information to the current times. So, take a deep breath and be patient. Believe that all of this will come to an end. Believe that we will come out of this together; stronger, wiser and better.
It's necessary to maintain a structure or routine to your day to counter self-isolation. Having a daily meal time schedule and a fixed wake up and bedtime will help keep you on track. You should also spare time in the mornings to get other activities in such as write in your journals, read books, eat with your children, and clean up, even before you open your emails or look at any social media. In addition, organizing tasks and setting goals to achieve (no matter how small) will help to keep you focused and avoid you from feeling down. Trying to boost your immune response, too, might be a smart idea, especially as mental stress can wear down the immune system. Exercising and having adequate vitamins recommended by your doctor may help. Psychologists also suggest that listening to upbeat music or watching a movie will improve your immune function as well. To learn about healthy sleep habits to keep your sleep routine in check, check out our online Sleep Course. Want to learn how to set and achieve goals? Download our Free S.M.A.R.T Goals worksheet.
While we might be truly physically isolated, a lot of us are almost in the same situation. Together, we face challenges, and a lot of the same feelings bind us. It is the perfect time to communicate and reach out, giving visibility even in our solitude. Use this opportunity to phone or video chat with your friends or family members and remain linked, or communicate with someone you haven't talked to for a while. Establish virtual family chats or hangouts with friends through platforms such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Zoom. And for sure, there are a lot ways you can think of to keep in touch with your loved ones after all it is the best way to avoid isolation.
We are in a time where there are many people around us who are looking for some kind of help, even if it’s just a phone call or a letter to check up on them to make sure they are okay. There are many ways that we can support those in our neighborhood. It could be putting together free little succulent plants and offering them at the front of your house for people to take so they have some company at home with them. Whenever we help others, it open helps us to increase our own positive emotions.
And with that is what happening in our world right now, it is time to be more kind and compassionate to one another and I believe we have plenty of chances to be so. Even with social distancing, we can still serve our community at a distance. It may be an easy act like baking goods for them and taking up an at-risk neighbor's medicines and leaving them at their doorstep. You can also create a nice card or an email list for the community to encourage contact, and give the neighbors an opportunity to volunteer or ask for support. Or then again just by practicing social distancing is an open door for compassion since you are diminishing the probability that a helpless individual will become ill.
Self-isolation can be very challenging but I hope these basic tips for staying happy and calm can keep your mind healthy. You can also check out our online courses such as:
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