5 Ways to Stay Positive During Repeated Lockdowns
A year ago, the future was uncertain, and we were all navigating uncharted waters with the mysterious new virus. 2021 paints a different picture. Shorter, snap lockdowns have become more common around the world, as nations buy more time to vaccinate their populations against the rapidly mutating variants of COVID-19. While technically shorter than the strict, months-long lockdowns that we survived last year, these shorter lockdowns somehow make us feel worse. It feels like walking through mud – especially when you’ve experienced and gotten used to the eased restrictions. If you’re feeling more frustrated, worried, or burnt out, you’re not alone. These emotions are completely valid, but it is also important to not let them overwhelm you. Here are a few ways we think you can stay positive during repeated lockdowns, and we hope they help make these uncertain times a little easier to get through.
Doomscrolling through bad news on social media can increase your feelings of anxiety and depression. You might notice yourself losing your feelings of empathy and forget how to appreciate the positive things in your day.
Set boundaries for yourself on your consumption of bad news. It could be reading just the important updates at the end of the day, or just a couple of times a day. You could also follow that up with reading about the positive and uplifting things that happened around the world. This can help with alleviating the feelings of frustration and hopelessness that are more prevalent during lockdowns.
Find alternatives to your routine
Short lockdowns can be highly disruptive to your regular routines e.g. exercising at the gym. Routines are essential in making you feel like you’re in control of your life, something that is greatly affected when you’re forced into a lockdown.
Finding alternatives to your regular routines can help you regain that feeling of control and normalcy. If your gym is shut temporarily, try doing your exercise outdoors in a park or even at home. You might find it useful to invest in equipment that allows you to stick to your routine – especially if this new normal is here to stay.
Setting aside specific blocks of time to stick to your routine helps you avoid falling off the wagon and exacerbating negative feelings associated with lockdowns.
One common feeling that many of us share during lockdowns is the feeling of being unproductive. If you feel like doing something with the extra time on your hand due to the lockdown, you can set short-term goals for yourself. The extra pockets of time you have at the end of day or on weekends can be spent organising your wardrobe, finally getting to the small home fixes or even a short online course on something you’re interested in. For those who feel guilty for “wasting time”, setting and achieving these mini-goals can help you feel accomplished, and more importantly, make time pass faster.
However, it’s completely okay not to be productive during lockdowns. We are still going through a crisis, and you should not feel bad or inadequate if you aren’t productive. You can take this time to take a well-deserved break and focus on yourself if you need to.
Savour the little moments
Spending more than a year struggling through a global pandemic surrounded by negativity can make you lose sight of the small things that make your day better. Making a concerted effort to do and focus on the positive elements in your day will help you see the silver lining in your current circumstances.
Lockdowns might mean that you can’t dine out at your favourite restaurant but you can spend a weekend trying new recipes at home with your partner or loved ones. Dress up for a night in, just for fun. Write down the things in your day that you’re grateful for. These small moments of happiness help more than you think to stay positive, lift your mood and keep intrusive thoughts of negativity and uncertainty at bay.
Embrace your emotions
Be truthful to yourself. Feeling negative emotions is completely okay, especially during a time of stress and crisis. It is difficult to stay positive and motivated all the time due to the uncertainty that this pandemic has brought us – and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over not doing so.
However, you should also ensure that you’re prioritising your mental well-being during these tough times. Ignoring and downplaying your struggles will only make things worse in the future. It’s important to show yourself some compassion.
If you feel like you might not be coping well, talk to a professional that you trust and take things easy.
We have lived through a global pandemic for more than year, persevering through huge shocks and changes to our lives as we knew it. Give yourself some much-deserved credit for making it through that and let it give you a sense of hope that you can get through this as well. This too shall pass.