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6 ways to stay positive during the COVID-19 outbreak

By: Shauna Gavin

Updated: 31 March 2020

6 ways to stay positive during the COVID-19 outbreak

For the foreseeable future, quarantine life is now the new normal. Many people will be finding it difficult in their own ways to adjust to it, whether it be socially, financially or emotionally. It is challenging us all in ways that we have never been challenged before or have even had to comprehend. The fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak is reminiscent of the fear that people felt during world war periods and understandably many are finding it very difficult to stay positive in these dark times. While we could just tell you to ‘keep calm and carry on’, instead we’ve come up with a list of ways to stay positive while socially isolated.

  1. Coming to terms with it

This is probably the most difficult part and hopefully most of us will have gotten to grips with the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay until further notice. That being said, many may still be struggling to grasp the severity and enormity of the situation as so many people’s daily routines have been turned completely upside down. Starting to think of the pandemic as a way you can challenge yourself rather than this huge inconvenience is a great first step towards coming to terms with it. Even though negative emotions we experience in these circumstances are very exasperating to handle, they can be treated as great information to understand how we respond to them and what kind of defences we use to avoid them usually. Rather than fighting with what we are going through at the moment we can look at it as an opportunity for a significant insight. 

  1. Getting used to socialising virtually

Humans, like our ape cousins, are by nature social creatures. Even though some introverts may be thriving during the Coronavirus outbreak, at some stage everyone will need to contact someone and the last time we checked the only way that’s possible now is through our phones and laptops. If you’re missing your best friends or family, some of the best video chat apps to turn social distancing into distant socializing would be Zoom, Skype or if you’re on your phone, Whatsapp. Sites like Jackbox.tv allow you to virtually join a group game on your phone for extra social distancing fun.

  1. Learning how to think positively

The word for crisis in Japanese is composed of two kanji, the first meaning ‘dangerous’ and the second meaning ‘opportunity’. This represents very well how one can either think positively or negatively during the COVID-19 crisis. By viewing the crisis solely as a terrible thing that is a danger to everyone and worrying about it constantly, you will never reap any of the benefits that you could have gotten by thinking positively about it. When you think about the crisis as an opportunity, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities as to what you can do with your newfound free time. You could potentially leave quarantine having completed things you’ve been meaning to do for years. Think about how satisfying that could be! It is very natural for our mind to go into the most negative scenarios. It is survival to predict all the possible dangers around us and try to be in control over them. That is why we are so much more inclined to think negatively. We do need to realise that current experience with the pandemic, very uncertain and anxiety provoking, is also nothing we ever have experienced before or can control. We cannot predict or really prepare in any way. What we can do is to try to think positively about the present moment and try to treat it as an opportunity without “guessing” and what will happen next. This will give us the sense of control over the situation. 

  1. Create a routine

Undoubtedly the entire word’s normal routine has been thrown off by the COVID-19 outbreak, however life must go on! As abnormal as all of this is, this is the new normal so we need to try to treat it as such. As much as possible, try to keep your normal routine that you had before the COVID-19 outbreak. This may be more difficult for those who aren’t working from home but it’s important to at least try to get up at the same time each morning. Try to resist the urge to sleep through the entire quarantine, as tempting as that may be! Other helpful things to remember in order to maintain a routine would be eating breakfast, showering, exercising and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Routine is a way to normalise the abnormal circumstance and to feel like we can still have an impact on our life.

  1. Practice self care

Most people will put on a face for the outside world and have a seperate face they wear at home. While it may not be essential to get up to do a full face of makeup just to sit on the couch on your laptop, getting dressed and remembering to do all the little things we do before we normally leave the house is. Brushing your teeth, practicing your skin care and showering are three little pieces of self care that we should never neglect just because we aren’t seeing anyone. If you can manage a cold shower, just two minutes in one can release endorphins in your body that can help reduce anxiety and also boost your immune system. 

  1. Challenge yourself

With all the time in the world at our disposal, now is the perfect chance to challenge yourself to become your best self possible. Now is the time to take up a new hobby, learn a new language or start exercising. Maybe you might just be challenging yourself to get a few household projects finished in the time that you are self isolating. Either way, setting yourself challenges and tasks to get through the COVID-19 outbreak will make the time spent in quarantine so much more worthwhile than if you just sat on the couch in your pyjamas the entire time! A wonderful way is to invest this extra time into something that can support your mental health and personal growth at the same time helping you to challenge yourself. Practicing yoga or meditation can be a great way to calm down over activated by anxiety nervous systems and to grow as a person - develop acceptance, stillness and reflection.


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