STAYING POSITIVE DURING A PANDEMIC
By Stacie Rose
There has been so much research on the power of positivity and how a
sunny (glass half full) outlook can impact your health for the better. The thing is, maintaining a positive outlook during the best of times can be positively challenging and takes intentional effort and tenacity. We live in a fast-paced world where productivity, accountability, and overachievement are envied by many and awarded high praise. A global pandemic is a new concept for most of us. The world seems upside down and life as we know if has been flipped and flopped and all our plans have been tossed like a salad. So, how can we pull off positivity?
There are a few ways in which we can lift our collective spirits. The first one is simple and often gets lost in life’s perpetual shuffle. It’s gratitude. Every day there is a reason to rejoice. Even if it is one solitary reason. Even if we must search ourselves to find that reason. There is always something to be thankful for. You can show gratitude for things large and small. It doesn’t matter what gives you that internal warmth as long as it is meaningful to you. A butterfly sailing by, a warm cup of tea, family, a teacher, a nourishing meal, a new friend, the sunshine, the snow, another day, breath, air, trees, a renewed season of your favorite series, music, the cosmos, a kind word, a new idea, a memory a melody, a good book… it all counts. Any amount of gratitude you can practice or muster in the morning, the afternoon, or just before you drift to sleep has the potential to alter your mind space, your mood, and the way your feel in your body.
Next up, is making the mundane meaningful. We have to alter our perception a bit nowadays. You may look at this as a silver lining, or chance to reframe things. Savoring a meal that you have prepared instead of rushing through it is a good start. Conversations with friends and family can give you a real boost. Enjoying the silence, the sounds and your surroundings in ways you hadn’t before can be a gamechanger. Breathing in each moment, or at least some of them can be grounding. Noticing beautiful things about loved ones and sharing your admiration can support connectivity, which we all so greatly need. A warm shower can be a chance to regroup. A walk is an opportunity to shake off negativity and recalibrate.
Mindful eating is vital in the best of ti. We have to alter our perception a bit nowadays. You may look at this as a silver lining, or a chance to reframe things. Savoring a meal that you have prepared instead of rushing through it is a good start. Conversations with friends and family can give you a real boost. Enjoying the silence, the sounds and your surroundings in ways you hadn’t before can be a gamechanger. Breathing in each moment, or at least some of them can be grounding. Noticing beautiful things about loved ones and sharing your admiration can support connectivity, which we all so greatly need. A warm shower can be a chance to regroup. A walk is an opportunity to shake off negativity and recalibrate.ood preparation can be simple and fast. It’s a small thing we can do with huge benefits and t’s all about good ingredients. The best things in life often are. The 80/20 rule is always a good way to approach food. Eat well eighty percent of the time. This should leave room for some indulging which can be uplifting during challenging times. Once again, it all depends on your personal condition, needs, restrictions, and preference.
Moving your body is a must. Staying strong, agile, fit, flexible, an
d fluid will serve you well, especially during times like these. Many things are beyond our control. However, you can set your own course when it comes to exercise and stick to it. It could be twenty minutes of yoga a few times a week, a bike ride, a brisk walk, or a daily appointment with a fitness app. The best things to do the ones that make you feel strong, uplifted, and happy in your own skin. It’s not about perfection. It’s about positivity. We all know that exercise can help our bodies release endorphins and help us mitigate stress and negativity. Any positive result of exercise is a win. Your muscles long to be used. Motion is lotion, which means that too much time on the sofa will likely have you feeling tight and edgy. Don’t forget how precious your body is and the work it is capable of doing, especially now.
Engaging in even moderate exercise can be a big help with sleep. During troubling times many find sleep to be as elusive a unicorn. You can only imagine how significant sleep can be in keeping our systems from breaking down and becoming vulnerable during a pandemic. Some people hit the pillow and it’s lights out! Others really struggle to wind down. Having some tools, and nighttime rituals can be essential. You may opt for a book of positive passages or quotes to read before bed, to drink a cup of hot water or golden milk, time to sink into a novel, meditate, watch a little TV, take a bath, light a candle and set the stage for a solid night of sleep. It may sound like a lot of trouble but a good night of sleep is worth a lot. Your health and state of mind depend on it.
There are other ways to keep the tank full and the mind/body connection working during
unprecedented times like these. Make sure you feel supported. Ask for support if you need it. Lend your ear, your skills, and times to help others who may be struggling. Create solace. This may mean turning off the news if it’s making you sick or saying no to something that is stress-inducing. Be your own advocate. Wellness is something we must work at. Stay social in ways that are comfortable for you. Social media can be a wonderful way to stay connected but is not for everybody. Organize a walk with a neighbor, a call with a friend, a zoom or Facetime session with people you are missing. It’s important to engage with other humans who are feeling a lot of the same things. When we share our thoughts, our fears, and our triumphs our struggles feel less overwhelming.
Taking up something new is another way to stay positive. Whether it’s an instrument or a crossword puzzle, knitting or becoming a pet owner, learning a language, or gardening, there is something amazingly uplifting about embarking on a new adventure.
Take time for daily rituals and give yourself grace. Be patient and unjudgmental. Give yourself a pass if you start to fall into a rabbit hole of negativity. These are tough times.
Pull yourself out and turn it around or ask for help if you need it. We are all in this together and there is strength and hope in knowing that. You are amazing and special; love is all around and this too shall pass in time. Keep noticing life’s treasures, pleasures, and those shimmering silver linings.