How to Stay Positive as Covid Continues
Hands up who thought we’d be seeing light at the end of the tunnel by now?
It’s hard to get to the end of a marathon and be told the race has been extended – by about the length of another marathon or even possibly by an ultra-marathon, who really knows! But here we are on the other side of Christmas and Chinese New Year gearing up to jog on. It’s rather unsatisfying. We thought there might be a reward for the suffering of the last year. Like work and tax bills. Normal stuff we took for granted, that weekend trip away, the office Christmas party, the Lo Hei and the shouts of good wishes for the new year of the Ox, the trip back home with the children to see their grandparents, friends and relatives. Until it dawns on us that the reward is life itself.
But let it bring us back to our senses instead. We can endure this if we get to grips with ourselves. We just need to tweak our thinking. Instead of having expectations, we should look for hope. Like the child that feigns illness to earn a day off school only to discover they now can’t attend a birthday party, expectations can disappoint. When we have certain ideas about how things might turn out we assume the greatness of our role in determining outcomes and somehow fail to grasp that reality is largely random. In fact, it’s a wonder, things don’t actually turn out worse more often.
This is where hope comes in though. Because of all the infinite possibilities that could occur every day, we have some influence on events through the faith we have in our own agency and that of others. We can be realistic at the same time as being hopeful. That means, don’t expect the end of the year to mean the end of this episode. If only life was so neatly bookended. Instead, we need to adjust our perspective and permit…
- that unpleasantness can continue but there will be moments of joy
- that there might eventually be a solution but things won’t go back to the way they were, and that can be a good thing
- that things have been taken away and restricted but we’re getting closer to appreciating what really matters to us
- that we can’t fight nature but we can work together and combine our human ingenuity to adapt
In practical terms, to avoid the temptation of expectation and embrace a more hopeful way of living there are lots of things you can do. Small adjustments in your habits and actions can begin to generate greater wellbeing and contentment. And if you manage this, you just might manage to positively influence those around you. A continuous line not a circle
At the moment most of us are tending to only speak regularly with those closest to us. But staying in touch with a wider group of people is integral to a healthy outlook. Family and friends either tend to reflect our own ideas, which does not give us the vital variety we need to help shape us, or they disagree with us so vehemently that every conversation has to run too deep. A spectrum of friends rather than a circle is healthier. Taking the time to enquire about acquaintances and making the effort to check in with service staff you see regularly adds lightness, balance and new points of view to our days.
Smile with your eyes
Wearing a mask in public is no longer metaphorical! It’s easy to assume everyone is glum at the moment since we seldom see people smile. And that can lead us to feeling sad or exacerbate existing sadness. But you don’t need to let every foray out into society get you down. Make an effort to make eye contact when dealing with people and try to convey warmth through your eyes. It is possible! It will make other people feel better and make you feel better in turn. But do invest in some good eye cream to stave away the laughter lines!
Working from home and meetings conducted via video calls doesn’t leave room for the chit chat that is the usual salve to the manager/underling dynamic. It’s hard enough instructing people what to do and being the recipient of instructions. Take away the healthy dose of office banter that makes the asking and doing of tasks more palatable, and we need to find new ways to redress the balance to make others feel valued. You can give over 5 minutes at the start of calls for small talk, hold a weekly social hour, or run a trivia quiz.
Protect your vessel
This is like an endurance race. Without the race part. Who knows how long this might go on for. Better to accept that things have changed and start treating your body like the temple that it is. Many of us indulged last year. In food. In alcohol. In TV. In anything that helped us escape the reality that is. But at some point you’ve got to come up for air. So my advice is start down the path of maintaining physical wellness and keep going. It won’t change anything except your capacity to feel fit and strong enough to deal with anything that comes your way.
Dull out the noise
As well as being responsible for what you put in your body, you’re in charge of what you put in your mind. Bad input usually means bad output. So how about you slash your time on social media platforms and online so you can give your poor brain and emotions a break from opinion and negativity. Get out into nature, look at the horizon. Put things in perspective.
Above all else, be curious and take pleasure in small things. It is the growth mindset antidote to the fixed mindset of expectation.