With constant news updates, social media opinions, supermarket stampedes and government advice bombarding our thoughts, it’s easy to get caught up in the COVID-19 whirlwind. This, in turn, is likely to create feelings of depression, anxiety and what the Germans refer to as ‘weltschmerz’.
So, when things start to get overwhelming and you need a more positive perspective, here are ten ways to turn that frown upside down:
Need a happiness boost? Take some time to focus on and appreciate the good things in your life. Whether it’s a special someone, a supportive family, a safe place to call home, a loyal pet or even a tasty meal you’ve got planned for this evening, placing your attention on what makes you feel great will give your mind a much-needed break.
Love to bake cakes? Undiscovered opera sensation? Enjoy knitting tiny boots for babies? Like writing Game of Thrones fan fiction? Whatever your hobby or talent, take some time to practise what makes you happy as often as possible (provided you can do so without putting yourself or others at risk).
It’s a well-known fact that when you help others in need, you’ll reap the happiness benefits! In these trying times, lots of small and independent businesses could struggle to stay afloat. Buy something from a local business (online if possible) or ask to purchase a credit note/voucher that can be used down the line when our economy steadies itself.
If you’re not experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus, see if any elderly people in your community need help with shopping or picking up prescriptions etc. Remember to avoid physical contact with elderly people where possible.
Right now, avoiding gyms is a requirement, so why not try a home workout? There are plenty of workout videos on YouTube you can try, including HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), yoga, pilates, strength training and more!
Regular exercise will not only release your ‘happy hormones’ but also keep you fit and active without the need for a gym.
By accepting the situation and acknowledging that you alone can’t control it, you’ll relieve some of that tension weighing you down. Try focusing on what you can control and act on instead.
Studies show that the physical act of smiling releases endorphins, which make you happy. So, smiling isn’t just a side-effect of feeling happy, it actually causes happiness too! Feeling overwhelmed? Find a secluded spot to sit in (preferably at home), close your eyes and just smile for a few minutes.
If you can’t be with your loved ones in person, find some time to set up video calls instead. Being isolated from the world can be detrimental for humans but communicating face-to-face (or screen-to-screen in this case) can have a positive effect on your mental health.
No webcam? No problem – try sending online voice notes or emails with photos instead!
If you’ve been told to self-isolate, you may find that sticking to a rigid routine helps you get through each day with purpose. Like to work out? Try getting out of bed at the same time each morning and get your exercise in before you start your day. Give yourself official times for eating meals, relaxing and doing chores.
Organising your day will help to organise your mind!
If you’re able to work from home, set up a space that will keep you feeling productive and efficient. Avoiding clutter will help you stay relaxed. Try to set up by a window or some form of ventilation – fresh air helps you stay focused and refreshed throughout the day. For a little extra oxygen in the room, buy yourself a plant or two!
Don’t be afraid to tell others if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed by the COVID-19 situation. Support from other people will help you to relax and look at things from a different perspective.