No doubt, we’re living during a very scary time right now. Scary is the biggest word that comes to mind, but there’s also uncertainty, frustration, worry, stress, anger, and many more loaded emotions behind COVID-19. I don’t think anyone is an expert on this topic; I certainly never thought I would live through something like this in my lifetime. However, the fact that no one person is perfectly prepared for this pandemic shows that we really all need each other during a time like this and that we need to unite. Even though we might not be able to physically band together because of isolation, lock-downs, and social-distancing, we can all still do the best thing possible to navigate through this process: stay positive.
You’re probably wondering if I’ve gone off the deep-end, but I assure you it’s still me here. In all seriousness, none of us truly know what it is we’re facing and how we should navigate through this. We’ve built a monster out of communications and social media, so it’s safe to assume that half of the information floating around simply isn’t quite true or is in fact completely fictitious. I’m not saying to dismiss everything you read, but simply to rely on information from reputable sources as opposed to 6ixBuzz TV. I also think it’s important to try and add not only as much normalcy to your life as possible during this time, but to also add layers to your life that you may not have thought you needed before. Here are some of my ideas for staying positive while we traverse through this trialing time.
Pickup a Hobby
The sheer volume of people who have been complaining about how horribly boring quarantine is has really been an eye-opener for me. And beyond the complaining, you have all of the people who seem to be physically incapable of staying within the four walls of their home; to me, this has to be a sickness in itself. In my opinion, if you cannot be content in your own home, then there is something seriously wrong. No, I’m not saying you have to love your family or roommates because lord only knows some of us have the pleasure of living with insane people. What I am saying, though, is that you should feel like yourself in your own personal space. I understand the pain of wanting to go out for a stroll in nice weather, or have social time with loved ones… At the end of the day, I’m human too. That being said, as long as this crisis lasts, we all have to miss that kind of stuff together. Additionally, the truth is that we can’t always rely on outside factors to make us happy. This is why I think the biggest pandemic besides COVID-19 is self-inflicted boredom. We’ve come to either crave social interaction in person or online, and we can never cope with being alone with ourselves. WELL, us olden-day people who existed before the internet, social media, Netflix, and even on-demand porn had to find ways to entertain ourselves. Finding a hobby doesn’t have to become a chore or a second job if you don’t want it to be. It can be as simple as picking up a book and reading. For a woman, it might include having your own spa days where you manicure yourself, leave in a hair treatment, and steam your face before putting on a mask. For a man, it could be smashing through a backlog of video games or doing online co-op. If your existing hobby involves going out (like playing sports or window shopping), I hate to burst your bubble, but you might have to put that on hold and find something else to take up at home. If you’re all over the place like me, you might be into many different things, like writing, crafts, binge-watching, and more. One of my commitments is that once I do end up working from home, my next step is to finally learn how to cook. Whatever it is, think of something that interests you because you will find it brings you joy. I get this rush of excitement every time I finish an article and I’m about to post it. Think about how wonderful you’ll feel after that facial, or how bad-ass you’ll feel after winning that multiplayer raid. Having a hobby can bring about a sense of happiness and fulfillment, and next thing you know you’re feeling very positive and accomplished without anyone’s help!
Get Stuff Done
If you are anything like me, you are one hell of a personal procrastinator and excel in the art of not getting shit done. Then we complain that we never have enough time to clean our room, throw-away old things, redecorate and reorganize our space, and etc… Well the time has finally come because if you are in isolation or lock-down, you have nothing but free time now! Keeping busy means keeping yourself distracted, and that’s the bottom line during a time like this. What use is it if you study the news all day and make yourself go crazy with the details. It’s spring-cleaning time! When you think about it, the Earth is purging itself in our increased absence. There have been a plethora of stories of animals coming out of hiding, waters becoming cleaner, and horizons finally being visible after many decades. Treat your home the same way and get rid of what is cluttering your space to make way for newer and better things once all of this is over. It might not just be cleaning, but maybe a DIY Project that you’ve been putting off for a while. Listen, I was supposed to finish my 2020 vision board and have it up in my room since January, but guess who still has the cork-board wrapped in plastic? Suffice to say, I’m sure we all have some promises we can honor during this time. Just imagine how amazing you’ll feel knowing that you caught up on so many things because the universe inadvertently gave you back that time you had been looking for. Getting things done and being productive can definitely make you feel a sense of accomplishment as opposed to feeling like you’re counting down the days until freedom.
One of the bigger revelations that came out of 2019 for me (which I touched on here) was how my life changed after adding meditation to my daily routine. Admittedly, it’s not easy and there are still days where I completely forget about it, so I don’t expect anyone to become a master of this art straight away. I think the word meditation often gets confused with yoga, which, while they are connected, are two totally different things. Meditating does not require special clothes, special positions, special rooms, or even special sounds/background noise. You can mediate anywhere at any time; it really just boils down to practice and determination. My first suggestion is to begin practicing in a private space that offers as much silence as possible, like your bedroom. You won’t be equipped to lead your own meditation just yet, so my recommendation is to download a meditation app to your phone. I personally like to use Insight Timer because it has such a huge library with plenty of variety to choose from. One key feature I love is that you can pick meditations according to the time you have available, whether it’s 20 minutes or just 5 that you can spare. Once you’ve picked your meditation, hit play and simply close your eyes. Whether you stand or sit down doesn’t really matter, but the idea is to take a deep breathe, stop thinking about everything, and just focus on the words you are hearing and let your body react accordingly. Many of the meditations will encourage you to breathe a certain way, or focus on a body part, while almost all of them will ask you to envision certain things. All I can say is… trust the voice and the words, and allow yourself to reach enlightenment. Meditating helps release tension, anxiety, stress, anger, sadness, and all of the other emotions and feelings that tend to overburden us. I think it’s an absolute must that if you’re an over-thinker like me or you’re always hustling, then you need to take a step back and calm your soul. As you build familiarity with meditation, you should start challenging yourself in two ways: 1) Start trying to meditate in loud and disruptive environments. If you can overcome the difficulty of drowning out all the sounds around you and focusing on inner peace, you can accomplish anything. It’s hard to do and I’ve been in many situations where I had no choice but to do it, but the reason why I feel it’s so important to master this is because you never know when you’ll be in an emergency circumstance and just need to take a step back to reel yourself in. 2) You will inevitably find yourself in a place one day where you can’t listen to an audio recording to help you meditate, so what do you do? Speak it out to yourself. That’s right, the second challenge I issue to you is to start walking yourself through meditation using your own words. You don’t have to be en expert wordsmith and there really are no rules you have to follow. It isn’t about building a narrative or a profound story. All you need to do is speak with positive, uplifting words and affirm to yourself that you can accomplish anything and overcome any challenge. That being said, imagine how useful this can be in a time where COVID-19 is shifting our routines and impacting our lives daily? Meditation is a great way to fight fear and center yourself in an effort to remain positive during tough times.
Read or Write Affirmations
I used a keyword a few sentences ago: affirm. This is another concept I was introduced to last year. While I can say I always had a degree of awareness for meditating, affirmations never occurred to me and they felt strange for me to adapt to at first. So what is an affirmation exactly? My definition is this: it’s an intention that you are calling out into the universe and it holds unlimited power to shape your future, whether short-term or long-term. I’m sure you’ve often heard of people saying to be careful what you wish, and more than likely this is because you can speak anything into existence; trust me, I’ve done it several times with my own silver tongue, for better and for worse. Words have power. I often forget this when I’m being a sarcastic bastard and cracking severely inappropriate jokes. I still do believe, however, that words can only have as much power as you give them. At the beginning of the month I wrote an article here, which called on learning to become self-aware and understanding of your own emotions. The same idea applies here wherein the more you believe in what you’re saying, the more likely you will bring it into reality. So, if you have that power, why not use it for a force of good: yourself. I have two proposals for you. The first proposal is to read out affirmations, whether daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or whatever really works for you. I do think it should be done often enough to build momentum and truth to what you’re saying. My best-friend gave me a wonderful Christmas gift that I use quite often; a deck of affirmation cards to draw from at random (click here to see the ones I use). There are many different thematic types out there, but ideally I think the focus should be you and how you can improve upon yourself. That being said, the second proposal is to write out affirmations that apply specifically to you. I do this as well, and I must say that although I had my doubts at first, I’ve now come to really appreciate it. If you’re not a ‘get all up in my private business’ type of person, then you can do what I do: take some sticky notes, write on them the affirmation of our choice, and then stick them in places where you will see them often, but others won’t. For me, it’s my underwear drawer at home, my driver-seat sun visor, and inside my notebooks at work. And with that, now you can all be up in my business! On a serious note, every time I go to get new underwear (which I hope for you all is as often as I do), it’s like this pleasant surprise message I wasn’t accounting for pops up and it just makes my day. I promise you, the more and more you read these messages, the more you will bring positive vibes into your life. So, how does this connect back to COVID-19? Affirm to yourself that you will stay healthy! Affirm that you are being looked after, that you are loved, that this is not your time to go, and that this shall pass. I firmly believe that one of the best ways to stay safe is to believe you will stay safe, and this is what I’m doing.
Take Care of Yourself
My final idea, and perhaps the most simplest one, is for you all to take care of yourselves. Above, I’ve talked about believing in your self, meditating your mind and body, getting things done, and finding hobbies to stay joyful. Those are all various ways to take care of yourself, but now I’m going to recommend taking care of your health. If you are self-isolating, adhering to lock-down rules, social-distancing when out, and reducing all non-essential travel, then half the battle is won already. The best thing you can do to not expose yourself is to really just stay home. Let’s look at some other things. Even if you’re staying home as much as possible, you cannot control the actions of the other household members you live with. You will still share bathrooms, kitchens, and other living areas, so it’s your job to stay as clean as possible. Wash your hands more, clean surfaces, don’t leave clothes lying around as much and maybe dedicate more time to laundry. If you do go out for the essentials, keep your sanitizer handy and use gloves if you think it helps. Lastly, educate those around you (not about what they should be doing, but about what you’re doing successfully). This next one is a hard one because we’re all at home eating our lives away, but how can we still get physical activity in? Well, if you’re lucky enough to have a house or a relaxed neighborhood, going out to exercise isn’t a bad idea as long as you do it alone and are mindful of social-distancing. If you have a backyard, that is an optimal place to do some working-out as the weather improves. You can also clear some space in your home, like if you have a basement for example, and make a dedicated workout space. Check your insurance benefits to see if they cover wellness expenses; for me, I was able to expense the basic workout gear I needed. Even if you can’t, this might be a good investment into your future regardless. Next, start saving your money for a rainy day and pay down your bills. This is the first time you’re not out partying or spending money on social expenses. Or, you’re not thrill-shopping or spending it all on booze and drugs. You will also find yourself shopping online far less because of the longer shipping times and the doubts about bringing things from strange sources into your home. Trust me, you’ll notice the difference as much as I have. Lastly, take this time to detox and beautify. You’re at home all day, so drink water non-stop to clear up that skin and become hydrated. Start cooking and thinking about balancing out your diet; this goes for ordering in too, as there are many different options to choose from these days. For both men and the women, start doing your own beauty treatments at home. For guys, groom your own beards and for ladies, wax your own body. For both, cleanse, tone, and moisturize! Every day should be an opportunity to pamper yourself. Just because you aren’t going anywhere doesn’t mean you can’t look your best. When all is said and done, keeping yourself safe, physically active, financially stable, hydrated, well-fed, and beautiful will keep you feeling normal. At this point, normal is comfortable, and normal is where we will find positiveness.
I’m sure there are many other things you can do to keep positive outside of the things I’ve mentioned. Some people are donating, others are volunteering in creative ways, and some are simply praying. No matter what your situation is, you can do your part to remain a beacon of hope and raise the collective consciousness to a higher plain. If you set the example of being a promoter during a time like this, not only will the people around you notice, but the universe will also recognize it too. All I can really say is that we all have many more things to accomplish in this lifetime, so instead of looking at this as the worst-possible experience, let’s all take some time to learn valuable lessons from this so that we can live better lives once tomorrow comes. Stay safe everyone, and STAY POSITIVE!
ARTICLE ARTWORK“Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” U.S. Food & Drug Administration, www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/food-safety-and-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.