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Extending Positivity Through Quarantine and COVID-19 by Angela S. Taylor MA, LPC-S

So, I woke up this morning and thought, “yep, we’re still here.” I don’t know about you, but I’m having more and more mornings like this. As we enter the 369th week of quarantine, I think we can all say we’re pretty much over it. We’ve cooked all of the meals, cleaned and organized all the things, and watched all the shows. We’ve taken our 687th walk (which are life saving), had the zoom calls with friends and family, and had a ton of quality time with the kiddos. But now what? We’re all exhausted and in need of a good hug…and maybe a stroll through target.

So how do we continue to stay positive as this drags on? It’s important. It’s important for our mental and emotional health, and really, what other choice do we have? We can choose to drown in it or thrive through it. I hope you will join me as I continue to strive to choose the latter. Some of these tips will sound familiar, and I hope will serve as good reminders. Others may be some new ideas to help invigorate you to push forward. Let’s hold each other up during this time and find the joy whenever we can.

1. Get your body moving. Yes, get in the walks. But maybe, throw yourself a dance party, find a new hiking trail, take part in an online yoga class, or jump on your kids’ trampoline. Find some things you haven’t tried before that are fun and new. This could be just what you need to keep going, physically and mentally.

2. Turn off the news and social media. I mean it. Limit yourself to 10-20 minutes a day, and be done with it. You aren’t getting new information, and it’s definitely not making you feel happier. Pay attention to how it makes you feel/spiral, and step away.

3. Focus on what you can control. A lot feels out of control right now, but this is really just illuminating what is true in general. We have so much less control than we want to believe, which can be either freeing or debilitating. Letting go of the need to control is liberating but also takes a lot of work. Guess what? You can start that work now. What do you have control over? Your morning and night time routine, your personal hygiene, bringing focus back to the positive, deep breathing, stepping outside, etc. Lean into those things in this moment, hour, and day.

4. Watch your favorite (funny) movie. So much of what people are watching right now is pretty serious. It may be time to take a break from all of that and watch something that you know will make you smile and laugh. Bonus if it makes you belly laugh. I think we’re all in need of a good belly laugh at least once a day right now.

5. Find a routine and a rhythm to your day. Set a schedule that works for you, and try to stick to it. Our bodies and minds like a routine and feel more settled and at peace when there’s some sort of rhythm to our lives. A good morning and night routine plus intentional time set for pursuing personal and career goals will do the trick. Making this nonnegotiable to yourself, for the most part, will help you stick to your plan.

6. Do something good for someone else. Write positive messages on your sidewalk, deliver groceries to your elderly neighbors, write snail mail cards to your local retirement home, contribute to local businesses (yay take-out!), or just smile at people as you pass them on your daily walks (trust me, it really does lift someone’s spirit). Doing good for others is a win-win, they feel good and we feel good too.

7. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. I know you’ve heard this at nauseam from me, but it’s so important – now more than ever. Find 5-10 things everyday that you’re grateful for. Be specific, and write them down. Keep a journal on your nightstand that you can record these in everyday. Just think, if you do this for two months of this quarantine, you will have 600 things written down that have brought you gratitude. Try not to find positivity in that!

8. Look to your past, and remember how resilient you are! You have survived every hard thing you’ve been through, and you will survive this too. Think about those things that you thought just might kill you and how far you’ve come since then. You are a fighter and survivor, and I know you will make it through this (and probably be better on the other side of it). The human spirit is more resilient than we can possibly imagine, and we are built to pull through this too.

9. Acknowledge that you are doing your best. You’re taking the precautions, feeling the feelings when they come up, supporting your friends and families, and getting out of bed each day. You are winning at this quarantine thing and doing your part to get us all back on our feet. Be proud of yourself. You’ve made it this far – it hasn’t been easy at times, but you’ve done it!

10. Remember, this will not last forever. I know, I know…some days it feels like it just might. But, it won’t. The day will come when we can leave our homes safely, walk in a store, go to a restaurant, go back to our businesses, and live our lives. We will get there, and possibly, be happier and more optimistic on the other side.

We are thinking of you here at Noyau. I can’t wait to see your faces and hug your necks (when appropriate)! Until then, let’s lift each other up and try to find some joy!

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