As of Monday in the United States, 338,899 cases of COVID-19 and 9,679 deaths have been confirmed. The numbers are on the rise with the country already surging ahead of European nations, causing existential dread accompanied by an impending sense of doom. News about shortage of medical equipment, community spreading and death can be a lot to digest while continuing to live life normally.
As most people are being socially distant and working from home, the stress of disease lurking around the corner is bound to result in many unhealthy practices such as gulping down alcohol, binging on junk food and zoning out with Netflix for hours on end.
This type of behavior is adopted by people who are looking to immerse themselves in something to avoid the negative feelings associated with COVID-19. Considering that the Trump administration has ordered social distancing till April 30, the lack of social interaction and boredom could increasingly trouble the mind as the days go by.
People have different ways of dealing with stress. We will be resorting to coping measures soon enough as the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said a challenging week lies ahead. Here are five things that we can do to relax in these uncertain times to prevent worsening your state of mind.
See this as a learning opportunity
Read all the books you have been meaning to but did not have the time for before this. Start that blog you have been procrastinating on for ages, unload your feelings and experiences to process them clearly by writing. Also, there are a wide range of courses you can sign up for free. Update your knowledge on a vast range of subjects, be it politics or art history.
Personally developing yourself in this time might also be a productive way to spend the quarantine. Widening your skill sets could also be an efficient use of your time. For instance, if there is a programming language you have been wanting to learn, go for it now.
Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to focus on the positive aspects of life as the world grapples with a pandemic. You can be thankful for the smallest of things such as a hot cup of tea, a warm bed, the privilege to work from home and spend time with family. Acknowledging our advantages could reinforce optimism and positivity.
You can use your breath to control your state of mind not just once, but throughout the day at different points. Before eating a meal or after you finish doing chores, you could take a deep breath several times, all the way down to your belly. Practicing deep breathing might relieve anxiety and stress. Basically, you can douse the fire of all the negativity plaguing your mind by taking deep breaths whenever disturbing thoughts arise.
Stay in touch with people
When people become lonely, they tend to dwell on negative aspects of their lives. So de-stress by calling people and FaceTiming with them or chatting with them on WhatsApp. In this digital era, there are umpteen ways to connect with people online, through mutual interests and groups. Check on your old relatives and distant cousins. Call friends from childhood who you have lost touch with.
Follow a routine
One way to stay sane through the deluge of negative information is to maintain a structure to your day. It can lead to productivity, discipline and control your thoughts from wandering to unnecessary worries. Set aside time to do chores, work, cook and even watch TV. Take charge of your life one day at a time.