Seven ways to reimagine the negatives of a Pandemic

SELF-ISOLATED OR WORKING FROM HOME?

Here are 7 ways to turn the negatives of the current situation into a positive life experience:

1 – KEEP A DIARY

This is a unique and unprecedented time in all our lives. Why not preserve it for posterity by keeping a record of what you did, how you felt, amusing things that happen, observations on your new daily routines, etc?

BENEFITS:
  • Helps you to keep things in perspective
  • An opportunity to reflect rather than react
  • A record for the future
  • Journaling is strongly associated with positive thinking

2 – TRACK YOUR MOOD

When we’re anxious, it’s easy to think that nothing’s changing and that we’ll always be anxious. By keeping a daily mood score, you can look back and monitor your mood – charting and adapting to any changes.

Ask yourself the EXACT question below at the same time every day (just before bed perhaps).
Q: “Thinking about today, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the happiest, how happy have I felt today?”

By logging your score every day you can look back at the end of a week and get an average score for that week. The following week you can do the same, and so on. The power of statistics will give you an insight into small but significant changes in your happiness levels – knowledge of this helps you react accordingly.

BENEFITS:
  • Helps you notice small changes in your mood
  • Can help you to feel optimistic
  • Reminds you to feel happy

3 – PRACTICE GRATITUDE

At a time when it seems like many bad things are happening it may feel counterintuitive to start counting your blessings but noticing and giving thanks for the simple things in life is ALWAYS a good thing to do.

Usually, most of us struggle to fit in any quality ‘me time’. We spend our lives running at top speed just to stand still. A period of enforced isolation is a perfect opportunity to kick back and spend some time on, and with, yourself – what a true luxury that is.

Reframe the fear of being out of your comfort zone into the opportunity of being able to take stock of your life for a few days and acknowledge the many positives in your life that you may have been taking for granted.

BENEFITS:
  • Reminds you of why simple is often the best
  • Helps you to notice the positives around you
  • It’s a good habit for life

4 – IT’S GOOD TO TALK

Communication has become more and more digital and depersonalised over the last couple of decades. Take the chance to connect with people the old-fashioned way by picking up the phone and having a proper conversation.

Whether it’s a work colleague or a client, talking on the phone is the next best thing to actually being face-to-face with them. Everyone’s in the same boat at the moment, so discuss your concerns, ask them how they’re really doing and really cement your relationship with them.

This is also a great opportunity to re-connect with old friends over the phone. The days don’t need to pass without you speaking to anyone and who wouldn’t like to receive a phone call out of the blue from an old friend – it may be just the little bit of support that you both need?

BENEFITS:
  • Isolation shouldn’t mean being lonely
  • Connect deeply
  • Share your concerns and your support

5 – EXPAND YOUR MIND

It may be tempting to stream every box-set you can get your hands on but a period of isolation and time at home is a great opportunity to do some of the things that you never normally have time for and to upgrade your life-skills a little.

Use this time productively to up-skill, become a more accomplished individual and prepare for life after Coronavirus. The list of things you can do in a few weeks is astounding:

  1. Read the books you’ve always wanted to read
  2. Start/finish the novel you’ve always wanted to write
  3. Download Duolingo app and learn a new language
  4. Become your family’s own Masterchef of Bake-Off star
  5. Do an online parenting course to improve your connection with your kids
  6. Get your garden in great shape for Summer
  7. De-clutter the attic or shed
  8. Re-assess your spending habits
BENEFITS:
  • Time to do what you normally can’t
  • Grow as a person
  • Declutter your mind and your house

6 – FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

Unless you’re careful you could end up feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and worry about the current situation and what it means to you. There are probably some tough times ahead for all of us, but remember that most of what we worry about NEVER actually happens, and worrying about stuff doesn’t solve the problem – what solves the problem is clear thinking, good decisions, tapping into your resources and, usually, some hard work.

Why not set yourself some goals for the next 3 months, 12 months, 3 years etc? Planning for the future is a great way to manage your anxieties about the present.

Take the time to really think deeply about what your life is like currently, whether there’s anything you want to change, what you’d like your life to look like in the future, and, how you’re going to get there.

Your future begins with the next thought you have – make it a good one!

BENEFITS:
  • Visualising the future powers you through worries in the present
  • Having some goals helps you focus

7 – STAY ACTIVE

Without the ability to go to your usual exercise class or the gym you may feel that you can’t do anything to stay active. Or, perhaps you’re stuck in front of your screen all day working from home? In my training sessions I show people a whole range of easy practical activities they can do, in a chair or at their desk to help maintain a little bit of physical fitness, stay limber and maintain focus.

Physical activity during a prolonged period at home is so important. Make sure you don’t simply sit down all day. Here are some easy activities you could do (within the limits of your own abilities):

  1. Walk up and down the stairs five times every 20 minutes
  2. Stand up and sit down 20 times in a row
  3. Do press-ups, sit-ups, squats every day, adding to the number of reps each day
  4. Holding onto the back of a chair, do as many toe-ups (going up onto your tip-toes), one leg at a time, as you can
  5. Find and follow a Yoga programme on YouTube
BENEFITS:
  • Exercise produces endorphins which make you feel good
  • Physical exertion boosts your immune system

Need more help?

You can access and download my online course How To Cope During The Coronavirus Crisis by clicking this link.