When we started to flatten the curve, I felt a renewed sense of positivity. I felt like we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I began picturing a time when I could be with my extended family again, or speak face-to-face with a live audience.
But it didn’t last. Because, while there are many places in the world where people are starting to experience life returning to normal, statistics seem to be showing that North America may not be on the same path.
Every day we see new highs in COVID-19 cases in American cities and states. We see people relaxing their guard so much they are putting others in danger, by gathering in groups and not wearing masks. Florida, for instance, gained more than 9,500 new cases in one day at the end of last week. It is starting to feel like mid-March again, and I’m worried that some of the United States will have to go into lockdown mode again.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”5be5d” via=”yes” ]Everything negative that is happening right now is having an effect on my attitude. Here is how to stay positive in tough times.[/ctt]
All of this is having an effect on my attitude. The fact that I can recognize that is good. Just knowing why I’m feeling this way will help me prevent going down the path to negativity, because I can do something about my attitude. While I cannot control the government’s choices, or the behavior of others, I can control what I do about my mental and physical health.
Keeping your mind and body healthy is crucial to staying positive in these tough times. Here are some suggestions:
- Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, cited a study in which three groups of patients with depression treated it medication, exercise, or both. The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Thirty-eight per cent of those on medication alone slipped back into depression. There was a 31 percent relapse for those who had used a combination of meditation and exercise. Surprisingly, of those who did exercise alone, just nine per cent relapsed.
My husband Warren and I have been extremely good at exercising since mid-March. We have found some great videos on YouTube that we both enjoy. We both like to run, and now that the weather is better, I’m getting out for a few runs a week on good days. On other days we might do a yoga class or a strength class together in front of our TV. Some days we go golfing after work and on others we go for a long walk. We don’t always work up an intense sweat, but we move our bodies.
- Get outside. There is something about the sun and being outside that makes my world a happier place. I know that, for some people, the thought of going for a run after work is the last thing they think of when it comes to exercise but getting outside makes life easier for me. I dislike running on a treadmill. The part I like best is the getting outside part. Even if it is chilly or overcast. A little rain is refreshing, too. It has been too easy during this pandemic to stay indoors and cocoon. Force yourself to get outside for at least 15 minutes a day. Walk the dog (or the neighbor’s dog!), get the mail, walk around the block. Move your body outside. I read a recent study that said that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosts the spirits but broadens thinking and improves working memory.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”P234a” via=”yes” ]One of the ways to stay positive in tough times is to limit negativity.[/ctt]
- Limit negativity. Maybe there is someone in your life who loves to share all the negative media. Is there any way you can spend less time with them? Can you announce you are on a media moratorium and don’t want to hear today’s statistics? Perhaps not watching multiple news programs (or any at all) during the day is the answer. I have a friend who has decided to take all of July off of social media, in order to get a cleanse from the negativity she keeps seeing. There are some people on my social media feed that I intend to “pause” so I don’t see their posts for 30 days, as opposed to having to unfriend them. I have stopped checking out what is new on Twitter and I stay away from COVID-19 conversations with certain people. It isn’t easy to do, and I’m certainly not great at it, but staying away from negativity is something I need to do to remain positive. I’ve stopped watching television, for the most part. We occasionally turn on Netflix or America’s Got Talent (because I like that show) but we have been spending our evenings enjoying the beautiful weather and our backyard.
I’m not going to stick my head in the sand and ignore the world around me, but I also want to stay positive as much as I am able. I want to continue to see the silver lining in the world and to do that, I need to make a concerted effort.
Join me, won’t you?