We get it: Living through a pandemic is a traumatic and stressful experience. No matter your level of comfort, quality of health or state of employment, you’re going through a lot right now, and acknowledging that is totally necessary. Although we’re not mental health experts, we rounded up some ways to stay positive during the coronavirus pandemic to help make these trying times just a bit more bearable. Simply adjusting little things by adding a positive spin, getting fresh air or focusing on what you’re grateful for can go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety. Breathe, take a minute and focus on the now—rather than fear. We’re all living in such an unprecedented time, figuring out ways to combat all the changes we’re seeing can be difficult. Taking once step at a time, though, those fears and anxieties can be diminished, and we can still feel happy, healthy and positive in a time that’s ultimately frightening.
Below, you’ll find 13 ways to reduce anxiety and create positivity during the age of social distancing and self-isolation. Find what works best for you and follow through. Make time for yourself, what you love and remember that you don’t have to be productive in this time if you don’t want to. Take these weeks to rest and focus on your inner self if that’s what helps get you through. We’re all in this together, and the more we focus on community and lifting ourselves and others up, the healthier and connected we’ll all feel.
1. Reach Out to Loved Ones
Staying connected with friends and family is one of the most important ways to keep your mind in a positive space. Try throwing a Zoom game night with your BFFs or writing some snail mail and sending it to your mom. There are endless ways to keep in touch and check in on those you love.
If someone you love is a big fan of letter-writing, you could also gift them a set of notecards to use while stuck inside! Or, treat yourself to some stationary and send out some letters on your end.
2.Stick to a Routine
Although working from home and not going to hang out with friends, eat at restaurants, or go dancing might deviate from your usual schedule, finding a new routine with the current boundaries can be useful. Try to make your bed every day, wake up and go to bed at the same time, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable but productive. Figure out what feels right to you, and stick with it.
3. Try Meditating
Don’t knock it ’til you try it. Meditating—no matter if it’s spiritual, religious or just focusing on your breathing—can be a great way to calm your nerves and lower anxiety. You can use apps like Calm or Happy Not Perfect to guide you, or read a book focused on meditation.
This book by Worthy Stokes is filled with meditation reflections for every day of the year.
4. Stay Informed—but Not Too Informed
This might feel like it doesn’t need to be said, but don’t believe everything you read. Make sure to check reliable sources for information—but don’t get so consumed that you’re suddenly 10 articles deep and don’t know which way is up. It’s OK to stop for a minute, turn off your notifications and the news and just focus on the now.
5. Practice Gratitude
If you’re still able to purchase food, sleep in a safe place and feel healthy, make sure you take a few minutes each day to remind yourself how lucky you are. Focus on what you do have, rather than what you don’t.
If you have trouble sitting with your thoughts, writing down what you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal can be a good way to physically see all that you have going for you.
6. Spend Time on Your Hobbies
If you have some extra free time—Which, odds are you do—make sure you’re taking a few moments to work on projects you genuinely enjoy. If you love baking, try making Chrissy Teigan’s favorite carrot cake. If you have a knack for crochet, snuggle up under a blanket and work on that. And remember, hobbies don’t have to be monetarily successful in order to be worth your time.
7. Get Moving
Taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood while social distancing or doing an in-home yoga or cardio workout can be a great way to raise endorphin levels and get some fresh air. Take some time to enjoy nature or wear your favorite workout set.
If you want to work out but don’t have as much motivation as you usually might, try treating yourself to a new workout outfit that makes you feel confident.
8. Ask for Help If You Need It
If you already have a therapist, see if there’s a way you can continue sessions from home via text or video chat. If you don’t have a therapist, there are apps like Talkspace and BetterHelp that can connect you with someone to talk to during this time.
9. Read Something New
Nothing is quite as captivating as a new book. If you’ve got a big stack next to your bed, maybe now is the time to dig in. Even reading for a few minutes before bed can help calm your nerves and quiet your mind. Escapism isn’t always the answer, but in the case of a book that gets your mind off of things, we’re all for it.
If you’ve watched the Hulu show, then maybe it’s time to read Little Fires Everywhere and find out just how similar the book is to the series.
10. Separate Work from Home
If you’re working from home, make sure you clock out at a certain time close to when you normally do. Keeping this routine will allow you to separate your work hours from your home hours—even if you’re in the same location for both.
11. Help Others While You Help Yourself
For those of you feeling a little helpless in these times, give yourself something to do that helps others. Make masks, find ways you can help those who are really struggling right now, check on your neighbors. The gifts and talents you possess could be someone else’s saving grace, and helping out will make you feel great.
12. Listen to Some Tunes
Whether you want to distract yourself with some fun dance party tunes or listen to songs that will make you feel like you’re in a spa, music can instantly change your mood. Spotify even has what they call “The Most Relaxing Playlist in the World,” if you’re looking for something in that arena.
13. Treat Yourself
Buy yourself your favorite snack or make your absolute favorite meal in the world—Don’t be afraid to indulge a little bit during this time (or ever, actually). Take some time to do something that just makes you happy.
Each one of these grocer boxes contains limited edition snacks and other edible products you can have sent directly to your home. Plus, each box automatically comes with a donation to Feeding America, so it’s truly a win/win.
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News about the Coronavirus is unfolding in real-time, and while we make every effort to ensure our content is accurate, some of the information in this story may have changed. For the most up-to-date news on the pandemic, please go to the CDC or WHO websites. For the latest from STYLECASTER, visit our Coronavirus hub page.