In recent weeks, we’ve all seen changes in our daily lives: our routines, our social connections, and our sense of safety and security. It can be easy—and normal—to find yourself dwelling on the negative. However, having an appreciative and positive mindset during these trying times will be beneficial to your health and to the health of those around you.
Here are a few things to adopt to help shift your focus and attention and lift your spirits:
Have gratitude: We are all grateful for different things—more time with our children, partners and pets; no longer having a commute; cooking with a full pantry; a beautiful backyard to play in—whatever it may be, revel in your feelings of gratitude for it. Celebrate anything that makes you feel especially grateful and encourage your family to do the same.
Self-reflection: If a lot of feelings are coming up for you, don’t shy away from them. Let yourself feel and process these emotions. This is also a great time to remind yourself of all your accomplishments and dreams for the future. What do you truly need? What matters most to you?
New skills: When you learn something new, your brain forms new connections and strengthens neural pathways helping your cognitive function. Learning a new skill can also increase your self-confidence and sense of purpose in the world.
Rediscover hobbies: Do you miss reading novels? Playing the guitar? Gardening? Now is the time to dive back into those activities that bring you joy. Encourage those in your household to do the same and appreciate the time you now have to revisit or try new things.
Self-expression: Humans are inherently creative beings. Take this extra time at home to express yourself in productive and creative ways. Write, paint, construct—express yourself and how you may be feeling right now. It’s healthy to process your emotions through creativity rather than bottling it all up.
Get physical: Appreciate your body’s capability for movement! When you move your body, you allow yourself to be more present rather than “in your head.” Focusing on your physical and mental health also helps your immune system stay healthy.
Deep breathing: Going back to this technique will help calm your nervous system. Conscious breathing breaks throughout the day will help to regulate your emotions and allow for restful sleep.
It’s not selfish to feel grateful, appreciative or open to finding joy right now. Keep doing those things that ground you and make you happy. Remember, you are not alone. We are all going through this situation together.