Unplugging every once in a while from the bad news can be a big help according to Patrick
It’s all been a little surreal hasn’t it? COVID19 changed the world as we knew it and the way we live our lives on a daily basis in 2020. We went from zero (sending around Whatsapp memes about Chinese takeaways) to one hundred (Lockdown 1.0) in the space of about two weeks back in March and things have never been the same since.
Over the last 10 months we’ve ridden a variety of waves including dismissing how serious it all was, emptying supermarkets of toilet paper, lockdowns, changing the way we interact in public, changing the way we travel, thinking things would go back to normal on a phased basis, and now, a new strain, shockingly high numbers and another lockdown.
We’ve changed our calendars recently but we are still dealing with face coverings, social distancing, essential and non-essential travel, supermarket queues, empty shelves and closed shutters.
With an overwhelming amount pandemic coverage on TV, radio and social media, it’s easier to get dragged down by it all and start to believe that the world is currently a very dark place. It’s no laughing matter and as much as we really do need to take action to control the spread of the virus, we also need to stop the spread of negativity and pessimism that’s engulfing our lives.
Personally, I’m choosing to be optimistic - that’s on the back of one of the worst years of my life – and as someone with a platform, I’d like to share some ways to stay positive during this challenging time and make our mental and emotional load a little lighter.
Limit Your Media Intake
We all need to stay up to date on government guidance regarding restrictions but it’s seriously damaging to our mood and mental health to be consuming and absorbing excessive amounts of negative and low energy conversation. There’s so much of it around at the moment and it’s a dangerous spiral to get caught up in. There are very few people in this world that can spend hours and hours reading toxicity on their phones and watching negativity on their TVs and not be impacted by it. If you’re feeling that your mood is low then limit your media intake and phone use to 30/60 minutes in your day. That way you can stay up to date and stay connected while protecting your mindset.
Use The Time For Self-Care
Here’s the silver lining attached to limiting your media intake – you have more time to focus on you. Many of our day to day distractions have been removed due to lockdown and we are being encouraged to look a little closer to home for ways to stay active, physically and emotionally. Self-care and habits like yoga and meditation are often pushed to the side in our busy lives but now the universe is offering us the time to focus on healthy habits and self-care.
Unfollow Social Media Accounts That Make You Feel Bad
I noted last week that I left social media during the first lockdown due to feeling inadequate by comparison to the cool kids of Instagram who exist to let people know that they are better than you and you should envy them. In hindsight I really just needed to unfollow these kinds of accounts and going forward that is how I will handle them.
Follow Positive Accounts
Fill your feed with goodness. Replace the flex fam with light-hearted people who deliver and uplifting message. I asked my own followers for some suggestions on this and here are a few of the accounts that they recommended:
Caroline Kay @carolinekay117
Brianna Barry @bribblogs
Maria Lynn @pinch_of_pos
Cillian Sheridan @thesherifff
Tracey Collopy @traytraycolcol
Dave Ryan Rose @daveryanrose
All On The Board @allontheboard
Stacey Solomon @staceysolomon
Eoin Sheehan @eoinsheehan
Clodagh Cahill @clodaghcahill_
Roz Purcell @rozannapurcell
Katie Geoghegan @ktgeoghegan
Trisha Lewis @trishas.transformation
Trina Cleary @tri_cleary
Sophie Murray @sophie_murraayy
Adam Fogarty @adamfogarty1
Sinead Hegarty @sineadheg
Cloda Scanlon @orangeobviouslyy
Caoimhe Mai @caoimhemaimakeup
Brian Keane @brian_keane_fitness
Take Responsibility For Spreading Positivity
It’s easy to think that our individual efforts don’t have much of an impact but if the last 10 months have thought us anything it’s that we really are all in this together and that individual effort combined with collective efforts can go a very long way. So let’s focus on positives as much as we can. Share positive posts and thoughts on your social media. Positivity attracts positivity so let’s all try to spread as much as we can.
Support Your Community And Local Businesses
One of the worst things about the pandemic is the devastating effect it’s having on local, national and global business. Small businesses in particular need our help right now. When, it’s safe to do so, shop local and in the meantime support Irish businesses online by tagging and sharing your favourites on social media.
Have An Attitude of Gratitude
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, positive breeds positive. Positive thoughts and emotions are known to increase your immune system, giving you some added armour to fight the virus should it come knocking. A good place to start is to write down five things that you’re grateful for every morning. Doing this puts you in a good headspace to start your day.
Whether you’re quarantining with family, living with housemates, friends, pets or all by yourself, deepen those connections. Ask people how they’re feeling, ask questions you’d never normally ask and pull together with whoever and whatever you have. I’ve continued to work throughout this lockdown and I live alone so I’ve made sure to make contact with the people I care about every day – be it a Snapchat, a stupid meme on WhatsApp, a DM or a phone call. I check in every single day.
Get On Top Of Things
I don’t mean in the biblical sense (although that helps too if it’s possible). If you are working from home or not working then you’re likely to have a lot more time on your hands. Take this time to top up on your sleep and then get on top of that to-do list that always gets pushed to the side.
Stick To The Rules
With the rate that numbers are currently swelling, it’s beginning to feel inevitable that many of us will eventually contract Covid-19. For most who catch it, our immune system will fight it and we will recover fully. For some others, there may be no symptoms at all and some won’t catch it full stop.
Unfortunately, it’s the most vulnerable in our society that we really need to worry about and it’s especially important for them to be protected from the virus. Sticking to the rules of social distancing, wearing a face-covering – even if you hate it – and following the guidelines are the best things we can do to protect ourselves and others. So follow them. Please.
Build Your Resilience
I wrote a full article about this last week as I feel it’s hugely important at this time. Hard times always result in growth that shapes us into considerably stronger human beings. Through difficult times you have to learn new behaviours and you awaken strength from within that you didn’t previously know you had, in order to get through it. You grow and you persevere. Hard times breed better men and women.
Learn Something New
Some of us will have an increased workload during lockdown, and others will be laid off or not working at all. I’ve experienced both sides of this coin. My advice to people who aren’t working is to take this time to stop, reset and recover from whatever life has thrown at you to put you in this position. Use your newly acquired free time to learn something new. Here are a few suggestions.
- Do an online course in the career you wish to pursue.
- Learn a new language.
- Learn to cook or bake something.
- Learn to edit videos
- Do some online fitness or yoga classes.
- You get the idea…
- Plan Your Next Adventure
Just because travel adventures have come to a halt (or at least they should have – please stop going to Dubai and Ibiza), it doesn’t mean you can’t plan your next adventure when all this passes. Don’t lose your passion for travel and adventure and start dreaming.
Netflix It Up
You know the drill. But now there’s also Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, The WWE Network, UFC Fight Pass and so on. If you like something, there’s probably a dedicated streaming service for it. Just don’t forget to exercise.