By Eleanor Mckie
You don’t need me to tell you what is going on the world. We all know by now that we must stay indoors, only go out for food or work (if absolutely necessary) and avoid our friends and family if they are not part of our immediate household. In these unprecedented times it is more than important to keep positive and there are many ways to do this – hopefully more than you think.
The first is to turn off your TV, or at least limit your intake of news. This also means limit your social media intake too, as Facebook and Twitter can fester falsities concerning Covid-19 and cause unnecessary stress. In the past week, I’ve heard inane ‘reports’ of helicopters spraying disinfectant over cities and the army setting up secretly in parks. We live in a society of overindulgent social media but our tendency to check our phones every minute of the day is only increasing anxiety. To avoid this, I would suggest only watching the headlines once a day and only reading social media posts from official bodies, such as the World Health Organization.
Another way to stay positive whilst self-isolating is to get outside. Although Boris has instructed only one outdoor exercise excursion a day, this is possibly the most important part of your day. If you have pets or young children (indistinguishable creatures really) this could be the most fun that they will have all day. I am not a scientist, but I am sure we all know the benefits of sunshine and fresh air. Even if you are not lucky enough to live in the countryside and see the new lambs and calves bouncing about, just seeing flowers bloom in surrounding greenery is enough to remind us that there is hope in the world.
Yet, for most of us, the majority of our day is spent indoors. Being cooped up all day can have serious impacts on mental health, so it is essential to keep occupied. Establishing a strict routine is key. Although many see this as a sort of ‘holiday’ that allows us to lie-in, having a defined sleeping schedule can keep us from feeling lethargic and ultimately bored throughout the day. Moreover, overcoming the temptation to binge eat keeps us healthy too. If you still have work or studying to do too, try to avoid getting overly stressed about it. Work when you feel productive and take regular breaks to maintain motivation. An episode of Friends or Hannah Montana (Disney + is a must) is a sufficient and entertaining break. Creating an upbeat playlist often helps, whether you use it for tidying or working, it helps to keep the negative thoughts at bay.
In regard to managing stress and anxiety, there are plenty of household activities to help alleviate negative thoughts. Tidying and reorganising your house can help you feel busy, and you can always turn to YouTube or Pinterest for some motivation. If you have space indoors, yoga and simple workouts are also possible and keep your body busy too. There are also whole worlds accessible on our TV and technology screens, games such as Sims and Animal Crossing, which can be surprisingly therapeutic.
Whatever you decide to do, check in with yourself every now and then. Check in on friends too; Facetime can lift the burden of feeling alone more than you can imagine. This is a difficult time, but it is not forever. Although the world seems chaotic at the moment, we still have the power to keep our homes and our minds calm and above all, positive.