It’s not over yet. Layers of stress and fear have been laid down for more than a year. Regardless of the specifics (case count, vaccines, masks/no masks, etc.), few people will be able to flip the positive switch. The next year (at least) is shaping up to be a process. If nothing else, it will be a slow transition. All of this adds up to an ongoing need for self-care. We cannot let down our guard in terms of mental balance and stability. The negative input may shift but it will not be gone any time soon.
4 Positive Practices to Help You Continue Coping
COVID-19 and the mix-and-match mitigation tactics have certainly ramped up anxiety levels. What that usually means is that more of us are worrying about what comes next. Mindfulness refocuses our energy back to the present moment. You may try meditation or breathing exercises of anything that encourages self-awareness.
2. Tech Breaks
Our all-knowing devices can be negativity machines. Prolonged usage puts you at the mercy of artificial intelligence algorithms and marketing agendas. Their goal is to keep your attention. Positivity is not required. By scheduling frequent tech breaks, you give your mind a chance to re-set.
Try keeping a daily journal of all the moments and experiences that make you smile. They don’t have to be “big.” Only you can decide what makes you feel grateful. Basking in the glow of gratitude is a wonderful antidote to the bad news and scary hype that want to inhabit our minds. By keeping a journal, you have the added bonus of returning to it over and over again.
4. Daily Self-Care Routine
Caring for yourself physically is also a positive mental practice. Daily self-care lays a foundation for less negativity in your life. Common elements to consider are:
- Regulate your sleep patterns: Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time.
- Daily exercise and activity: This can be combined with your tech breaks. Do something physical every time you step away from your phone.
- Healthy eating choices: Resist comfort food, binge eating, or forgetting to eat. Listen to your body and stay fueled to deal with the current crisis.
One Practice to Avoid at All Costs
Positive practices are not a license to engage in denial. It is absolutely essential to not slip into the practice of toxic positivity. Perhaps you’ve been trying to soothe yourself or others with sentiments like:
- “Keep your chin up.”
- “Everything will work out.”
- “Look on the bright side.”
- “It could be worse.”
- “Focus on the positive.”
All of the above are usually doled out with the best of intentions. But forced optimism can be toxic because it:
- Oversimplifies the situation
- Encourages you to ignore uncomfortable emotions
- Can lead you to be too ashamed to ask for support
The key, as always, is balance. You can accept the negative in the world without dwelling on it. You can look for the positive without invalidating your pain or the pain of others.
What If the Negativity Won’t Let You Go?
You may feel your mental state is past the point of being helped by a few positive mental practices. Again, there is no shame in asking for help. At any time, therapy is a wise option. Now more than ever, it has become a lifeline.
Whether you meet in-person or via video chat, you gain the guidance of an experienced counselor. With their help, you can find balance as external events run their course. Positivity isn’t a 24/7 goal but it can become a comforting mindset with the help of a therapist.
Please read more about anxiety and trauma treatment and let’s connect soon. Reach out for a consultation to get you started on the path to a more positive state of mind.