We all know the state of the world today. COVID-19 has taken over.
How is everyone dealing out there? Do you have the overwhelming sense of dread, fear and worry that has been spreading even faster than the virus itself? I am here to tell you that you’re not alone. As strong as we all think we are, when things on a global level hit you, you aren’t really ever sure how you will deal with it mentally.
It’s important now more than ever to have a healthy mindset along with keeping your physical strength. During this trying time, we need to go back to our roots when it comes to mental health awareness.
That’s why I compiled these quick tips to help you deal with mental strain (on a global level).
Calm the Panic Storm
If you’re like me, you panicked at the beginning of all this Coronavirus noise. My mind automatically went right to the worst. I worried about me, my family, my friends, my business, and how this would impact my future. We all went down that road, if even for a moment.
Here are a few ways to calm the panic storm when it feels like it could consume you.
- Worry only about the things you can control. Instead of worrying about what could happen, think about the tasks at hand and the present moment only.
- Practice gratitude. When you have one negative thought or worry, think three things you’re grateful for immediately after.
- Leave the panic spot. When you feel panic, stop what you’re doing and leave the area you’re in. Reset the brain.
- Focus on the breath. This is a tricky one because breathing and meditation are hard when you’re in panic mode. If you can, focus on the breath for a few minutes and count if that helps. The Calm app can help this.
- Affirm, affirm, AFFIRM. Affirmations will always help to turn the negative emotions around even if you feel they aren’t working in the moment. Keep saying them out load to yourself and eventually your mind will believe it to be true.
When I first heard about the COVID-19 chaos, I thought I could handle it. I thought I would not be affected and that my warrior shield was up. Then it slowly began to eat at me and I realized I needed to work twice as hard to stay positive. As soon as I was aware of this, I went back to the drawing board and started again like I was a brand new student.
Entertain Old School Ways
There is nothing quite like the old school mentality of handling things.
When we were little and the power went out, we would get the old school toys, books, puzzles and games out. There is something so familiar and nostalgic about this that will take you right out of panic mode and help you to reconnect on a level that brings peace.
Pull your family members or support system together to dig through the closets and bring out the old things that made you happy.
Here are a few ways you can beat the panic by entertaining the old school way:
- Board games – A family favorite! Some of the ones we love are Scrabble, Scattegories, Pictionary, Chess and Word of Mouth. If you don’t have these available, they most likely are available online!
- Playing cards – Who doesn’t love playing cards? There are so many fun games and digital options as well. We love Hearts, Spades, Slap and of course, War. It beats sitting around worrying.
- Puzzles – If you have a big table available, it’s time to bust out the puzzles! Growing up, my Mom always had puzzles going and we would get sucked into the joy of puzzle making. It also encourages witty banter and chatter as you are focused on something else and it takes the pressure off of talking. Great for teenagers.
- Crafting – This can take many shapes! If you have old clothes to rip up and sew, that could be fun. Creating poster board magic, science type activities or just plain old yarn – just craft it up! See what you can create just by getting supplies out.
- Drawing – One of my favorite choices! You always have pen and paper when all else fails. You can even have drawing challenges where one person starts a drawing and passes it around to each other to finish.
- Trivia – If you need to go online for this, there are a ton of trivia apps, websites and downloadables you can get that are around all different types of trivia. Make it challenging for your family!
- Word Games – when all else fails, make up some fun word games! My family came up with this fun game called the “Alpha List Game” where you choose a topic and go down the list of the alphabet having to name something in alpha order. (I.E. Movies: Anaconda, Bluestreak, Catch me if you Can…. etc.) You had to do this as fast as you can or you were out! Pass it along to your family, see if they like it.
After you have all the appropriate information needed to survive… take a digital break.
When you’re consumed with social media, news and opinions online it can truly take over your mind. I’ve learned this the hard way because my job is all around digital marketing and social media. I am in it every day, all day along with promoting my own artwork – it can be exhausting at times!
Here are a few ways you can do a small digital detox during this time:
- Turn down the notifications on your devices. If you get notified of every single thing all day long, it’s time to turn that noise down so you can focus on other things. Only have the notifications you need for work or family life be interruptive to your day.
- Time block away from technology. If you can choose to do other things that don’t require technology for big chunks of the day, that’s encouraged.
- Close the negative tabs and open the positive ones. At times it will be appropriate to stop following the news and start following more positive avenues. Again, make sure it is when you feel safe, if it is feeding your fear – turn it off.
- Turn down the news and turn up the music! When you can, turn off the news and turn up the tunes. Music will lift up the mood and still allow a bit of technology in to satisfy your digital needs. Dancing optional.
I know it’s important to stay informed. It is also important to not let it consume you. Make sure you have a healthy balance of both here.
Turn the Conversation Around
You are the only one who is responsible for your own attitude. You can choose to be a part of the problem or part of the solution – as the saying goes, right?
You may need to ask yourself, are you the person who is calling, texting and posting about all the negative aspects of this global pandemic? Keeping our reactions, emotions and conversation in check is your number one priority when helping to stop spread the panic.
These quick tips on turning the negative spread of conversation around can help:
- Catch yourself when you head to the dark side. If you feel yourself slipping into negative speak, you need to catch yourself and stop it – that is not someone else’s job.
- Listen with the intent to help, not harm. If someone is being negative, listen with an understand and open mind. Your reaction can be infectious, so be sure to offer helpful words, not harmful ones.
- Offer words of wisdom, not opinion. Your opinions matter, however, if they are purely negative – it may be better to keep them to yourself. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.
- Only state facts, not bias. If you are responding to negative speak, offer words that will have a positive impact, not your opinion filled with falsities.
Get Outside in your Own Little World
We know that social distancing is a very real thing. It’s our civic duty to help stop the spread of COVID-19. That does not mean you can’t go outside in your little area of the world, away from masses of people.
Going outside is always an avenue to spark a healthy life. It has widely known that getting outdoors helps you to build your immune system, deal with mental stress and encourage a healthy body.
These unique ways of getting outside may help:
- Take walks – Walking is my main form of exercise as I have chronic pain and a ton of injuries. Walking for at least 15-20 minutes a day can literally help you turn around your mental state – just steer clear of fields of masses of people for now.
- Backyard shenanigans – If you have a backyard or the ability to get to a small field, park or trail, do it. If you can get out and toss a ball around or get some movement that outside, go for it!
- Nature trivia – This one can be fun if you have little kids! Go outside and try to name all the leaves, bugs or nature-like things you can. Start a trivia with your family to learn new things outside.
- Sit and soak in the sun – If you can’t walk around or you don’t have a backyard to play in, that’s okay! If you can get out and simply be in the sunshine, that still helps you. I have a hammock that I enjoy sitting in to just soak in the sun and get some Vitamin D.
CBCInked Wrap Up: Thriving over Surviving
I hope this article has helped open your eyes to a few ways to thrive through this trying time. I am affected by this way more than I thought I would be, which is why I hope to help those out there dealing with this in a similar way.
Remember – it all starts with your mind!
If you can try your best to stay mentally healthy, your physical health hopefully will follow. Stay positive friends!
Reach out to me with ways you’ve personally dealt with the time and what’s worked for you.