June 05, 2020 Healthy Living

Nine Ways to Keep a Positive Outlook during the Pandemic

You’re wearing a face mask. You’re staying six feet away from others when out in public. And you’re cleaning frequently touched surfaces like kitchen countertops and doorknobs daily.

In other words, you’re taking care of your physical health. But what are you doing for your mental outlook during the coronavirus pandemic? Where are you finding joy in your life?

It’s not a frivolous question. Science tells us that our emotional health can have a big impact on how we feel physically. It’s called the mind-body connection. According to the American Heart Association, people who are happier tend to have better heart health. They manage stress better. And being more positive may contribute to a longer lifespan.

So how can you build positivity in your life during these difficult times? Here are some ideas…

1. Stay Connected with Friends and Family

Whether it’s by telephone, social media, or online video chat, regular check-ins with loved ones can spread joy in both directions. Don’t let too much time go by without connecting to someone important in your life.

TIP! Think of a new person each week who you haven’t talked to in a while and send them a text or a message on social media. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve talked to a college roommate or a childhood friend – now is a great time to reconnect!

2. Reframe Your Situation

Don’t think of yourself as being a prisoner in your own house. Instead, realize that your home provides a space to stay safe during this time. Try looking at this as an opportunity to focus on yourself and your home. Is there a room in your house you’d like to rearrange? Or a drawer to clean?

But beyond your house, why not look at this time as a moment to pause and reflect on what you want out of life? Is there something you don’t normally have time to do, but now have the opportunity in front of you?

Maybe you can finally slow down and rest.

Maybe you can finally learn the basics of yoga.

Maybe you can write that book you’ve always wanted to write.

3. Stay as Close to Your Normal Routine as Possible

Wake up and go to bed around the same time that you would before the pandemic. Eat regular, balanced meals. Practice good hygiene and change into suitable office clothes, even though you’re working from home. Sticking to your normal routine will make it easier to resume normal life when this is over.

FUN FACT: Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been fully putting on my makeup and doing my hair each morning. There are also days where I even try to wear fun jewelry and break out old accessories from the back of my closet. Yes, that may sound super extra, but this small change has completely reshaped how I feel in the morning and puts me in a healthier, more positive mindset. I only have one life to live so I’m going to take advantage of feeling my best as much as possible!

4. Keep Your House Neat and Tidy

Uncertainty is just outside your front door. Keep your side of the door organized, predictable, and clean. A cluttered home can lead to a cluttered mind.

TIP! Be realistic with how tidy your house can be. It’s never going to be perfect, especially if you have kids and pets! Try doing just one small task in the morning after you wake up and one small task in the evening before you go to bed.

5. Take in Positive Content

Who is a celebrity or well-known person you admire? Follow them on social media or listen to their podcast. Is there a business that you respect that seems to be doing good things? See if they have a blog you can read or YouTube videos you can watch. You are in charge of what messages you take in – consume good stuff!

6. Focus on the Small Things that Bring Happiness Each Day

At the beginning of the day, write down three things you’re grateful for. They can be anything from “I’m thankful for the sun shining today” to “I am thankful for my cup of coffee” to “I am thankful for warm, running water.” If you want to take it a step further, you can wind down at night with listing three positives from the day. What did you accomplish? What were you grateful for? Revisit those lists when you’re feeling down.

7. Spend Some Time in Nature

Take a stroll through a park. Have a seat near a pond and watch the ducks paddle around. Studies have shown that spending time in nature settings can:

  • Improve your attention
  • Lower your stress levels
  • Improve your mood

Just be sure to practice social distancing while you’re outdoors and wear a face mask if you’re around others.

8. Search for – and Share – Joy in Your Neighborhood

You may have heard about the 518 Rainbow Hunt, but have you actually looked around to find the rainbows yourself? Take a drive or walk around local neighborhoods one afternoon to see how creative people are being! Or even better, create some rainbows of your own for others to see.

Another activity taking place across the country is bear hunts, which are inspired by a children’s book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. People are placing stuffed bears and other animals in their front windows to create a scavenger hunt-type activity for children out for a walk with their parents.

You can also draw hopscotch squares with chalk on your sidewalk for families to play on as they stroll by. Taking the time to brighten someone else’s day can help brighten your own.

9. Try the Stress Management Program on Brook

If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed and need to turn your outlook around, the Brook app has a new four-week stress management program where you can receive personalized tips and guidance to improve your well-being.

If you already have an account with Brook, simply let a Brook Expert know that you want to start the stress management program. If you haven’t signed up for Brook yet, download it in the App Store or Google Play and click the “manage stress” button during registration. Access to Brook is free for CDPHP members and non-members during the COVID-19 pandemic!

While there are many steps you can take for yourself to stay positive during this crisis, remember that asking for help from a medical professional may be the best option. CDPHP has multiple resources that provide mental health support.

Additional sources:

American Psychiatric Association; American Psychological Association; Anxiety and Depression Association of American: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Brook is not a replacement for primary care. Members will be referred to appropriate health resources to address medical issues. Free access will be available through at least June 30, 2020, but could go beyond that date because this service will be offered at no cost for the duration of the pandemic. The Brook service will continue to be a no-cost benefit to most CDPHP members beyond the pandemic, but is not available with every plan type. Please refer to your member contract or call member services at the number on your ID card to see if you have this program with your plan.

Alexa Kerins
About the Author

Alexa is a senior communications consultant at CDPHP who plans, writes, and edits communications for a variety of projects. She is an eternal optimist who likes good food, fun exercise classes, traveling, and spending quality time with her family and friends. You can often find her obsessing over her mini golden doodle and uttering cheesy quotes like “you’re the bee’s knees” and “team work makes the dream work."

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