When social distancing started there were a lot of jokes and memes about how previous generations had to go to war and we’re being asked to sit on our sofas. And, I get it, this is NOT as bad at war. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Our lives have been uprooted, we have no idea when normalcy will return, many have lost jobs, going out into public harbors the fear of catching a virus that maybe will kill you…it’s not a walk in the park.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, despondent, anxious, depressed…you’re not alone. I’ve always been pretty good at staying optimistic- I’m good at finding the silver lining, it’s a trait I pride myself on. But even I find myself slipping back and forth from my usual “I got this” optimism to “how much more/how much worse” anxiety.
The truth is, we don’t know how much longer. We don’t know how much worse. We don’t know a lot. And, that causes a lot of stress for so many. So, to help out in any way I can, today I’d figure I’d share 17 things I use to flip my mindset when I find myself feeling discouraged.
- Make a plan- Our brains are hardwired to focus on the bad (it’s called negative bias) it means the hard stuff can pile up in our brains and make us feel more and more discouraged. To alter this, start by identifying the hardest part of quarantine that you’re struggling with the most. Then, brainstorm ways to combat it which will help shift your thinking from negative to positive.
Example: I was struggling with the monotony of the same thing every day, so I’ve been coming up with ways to vary my days. Some days Michael takes Miles for an hour in the morning so I can work. Some nights we do a fun themed dinner. Some days I use nap to work and some days I use nap for home stuff. For me, variety has been helpful in combating my struggle: monotony.
- Make a special coffee drink– Or fancy water with fresh fruit, or martini, whatever works. It’s just about the process of having a little treat that you’d usually go out for.
- FaceTime a friend- I’m an introvert and even I am craving social interaction so much more. So, make sure to fill up your socialization cup by calling friends and FaceTiming
- Do a brain dump- If you’re feeling really off, discouraged, stressed, confused…etc., a brain dump can be SO helpful. Just grab a piece of paper or open a word doc and just write anything and everything you’re thinking. I find that just the process of dumping all my thoughts on paper often leads to a lot of clarity.
- Learn something new: Check out MasterClass which allows you to access tutorials and lectures from experts in various fields (like big-time experts such as Natalie Portman, Gordon Ramsay, RuPaul, Jane Goodall) on everything from cooking to space to interior design to music production.
- Give yourself a pedicure or manicure
- Sun salutations – I don’t do yoga but even I love a little sun salutation here and there to stretch my body.
- Put on some upbeat music and have a dance party – instant mood booster
- Get some sunshine – get in your backyard, open your shades, just get some sunshine shining in.
- Take a long shower– When I’m having a rough day, I ask Michael to find a time in his schedule to give me 30 minutes and I take a long shower (you know, complete with fancy soap, deep conditioner, exfoliating, etc.)
- Complete a small home project – We all have those little projects laying around we want to do, so do one! Checking things off our to-do lists gives us a feeling of accomplishment and leads to happier thoughts.
- Get dressed and put on makeup – I know, you have nowhere to go, but sometimes the process of doing it can just make you feel normal. I’ve been trying to do this at least 5 days a week and I honestly notice a difference in how I feel.
- Give yourself something to look forward to – We all went from full calendars to kinda nothing in a matter of a week or two. And while the slowness is nice in some ways, it’s also important to have things to look forward to. This could be ordering something fun online, planning a “date night” in with your spouse, having a themed dinner, planning home projects to complete. Whatever it is, make a list and try writing some stuff down on your calendar to give yourself things to look forward to.
- Just get moving – Quarantined or not, I have always found that laying around NEVER cures a case of the blues. When I’m feeling down, I force myself to get up and do something. Anything works, walk around your backyard, do some jumping jacks, clean the kitchen, organize your closet. Forcing myself up and moving always makes me feel better.
- Make a list of projects you can accomplish – I have started a Quarantine To-Do list. It’s just a bunch of small things I want to accomplish. And, when I complete one I cross it off and can see my progress. You can have personal ones, or make a family one and hang it up for everyone to see.
- Schedule Google Hangout with friends/family for dinner – Setup a happy hour Google Hangout (or skype or whatever) with the friends you’d usually meet up at the bar with, or Sunday dinner with your parents. The point is, plan it ahead of time like you would with real events. It gives you something to look forward to.
- Put on a podcast – One of the hardest parts of quarantine is being cooped up at home not knowing how long it’ll last. Our minds can sort of spiral down the rabbit hole of despair as we think about all the what-ifs. This can be toxic. Listening to an interesting podcast can help shut your mind off and give you something else to focus your thoughts on.
I hope these help. If nothing else, just remember this too shall pass. We’re in this together guys.