If you are like me and most other people around the world (working from a home office with minimal human interaction), you will have quickly realised how important keeping a positive mindset in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is necessary to stay focused and physically and mentally healthy. However, with all the changes to our daily life, staying positive isn’t always easy.
Our country’s health experts have insisted that we make social changes and practise healthy habits to slow the spread of the virus. These include regular and thorough hand washing, distancing ourselves from others, and complete isolation if infected or at high risk.
The federal and state governments have also introduced strict controls such as limits to the number of people gathering together, closing national and state borders, and ending non-essential services. We need these changes to “flatten the curve” of new cases of coronavirus infection. This will reduce the pressure on our health systems to help hospitals cope with the influx of new cases.
It’s very important to keep a positive mindset amid all these changes. It’s natural to be anxious over developments as our world changes before our eyes. But keeping a positive frame of mind is important for ourselves and for others. When we set an example of calm and positivity, others will follow.
Good mental health depends on a good mindset. But how do we go about this? Here are some suggestions.
Keep connected with family, friends and neighbours
Draw strength from others and help them cope with the restricted circumstances by staying connected. This is not easy when we follow social isolation guidelines, but it’s not impossible. Talk to family and friends via Microsoft Teams or on online meeting software like Zoom. Or, talk on the phone to those less confident in using computers. Organise a family online meeting to help support the elderly and more vulnerable members of the family.
Try online learning
Are you spending more time indoors because of government instructions? Perhaps you’ve imposed self-isolation on yourself after being recognised as being in the high-risk category? One way to push back on boredom and a negative frame of mind is to enrol in online courses. The choice of subject is almost endless and a simple Google search will give you access to a range of educational courses that you can complete in the comfort of your own home.
Follow health guidelines
Staying positive in this health crisis is all about keeping yourself informed. When researching the effects of COVID-19, limit the number of sources to reputable news sites, research institutes and health authorities. Share any handy information that you find about protecting ourselves from harm on social media.
Stay focused on what you can control
There is no doubt these are extraordinary times. Keeping a positive frame of mind during these enforced changes means being able to adapt to changing circumstances. Stay focused on what you can control and limit worrying about future scenarios. This “living in the present moment” approach will reduce anxiety and help keep your immune system healthy.
It’s vital to acknowledge the fear and dislocation we feel in these uncertain times but we don’t need to be overwhelmed by these thoughts. We need to be aware of the difference between worry that is helpful and that which is not. Helpful worry will allow you and your family to take the right precautions against contracting the virus. Unhelpful worry will mean dwelling unnecessarily on the threat. This will leave you open to sickness.
Feeling anxious about the future is perfectly natural in these uncertain times. But pandemics have occurred before and this one too shall pass. Stay in the present and focused on the now. Concentrate on what you can control rather than unnecessarily spending time worrying about the future outcome of the current crisis.