A Sunday church bulletin offered the following suggestions for staying sane and happy (or at least not depressed) while living through our present ordeal. I thought they were worth sharing with you:
Limit your intake. You could watch 24-hour news channels, listen to dire warnings on the radio, or visit countless websites and be bombarded with the angst of the moment. Instead, choose a single news source and decide how much limited time you’ll spend with it each day. Then stick to your plan.
Watch a funny video. Thanks to the huge popularity of YouTube, there are thousands of videos that can help you take your mind off current events if only for three minutes at a time. Start to bookmark the funniest among them so you can return for a repeat viewing whenever things feel gloomy.
Look after your neighbors. You may be at low risk of severe consequences from the virus, but it may not be the same for your neighbors whose immune systems are compromised. The act of checking in on them (keeping six feet apart, of course) will not only make them feel good, it will make you feel good and remind you that there are others for whom this predicament is even more stressful.
Support your favorite local business. Maybe you’re heeding the social distancing advice and aren’t eager to sit in a crowded restaurant right now. And others feel the same way. Those empty seats aren’t helping that restaurant owner to pay her staff or keep the restaurant in business. Buy a gift card to help the business owner now, and prepay for a wonderful meal you can have to celebrate when this pandemic is behind us.
Practice random acts of kindness. Leave an envelope with a little gift for the Amazon Fresh delivery person who drops off your supplies outside your door. Or have a coffee delivered to your doorman. Your kindness doesn’t require a monetary outlay. Write an unsolicited book review for a friend of yours who is an author. (I especially like that one!) Comment on a colleague’s LinkedIn [or Facebook] post. Send a snail-mail note of appreciation to a friend or colleague. Many in the entire country of Italy broke out in song and applause to honor their healthcare workers. Thank the custodians in your building or workplace [or housekeepers where you live] for their efforts to keep things safe. Think of those who could benefit from your thoughtfulness and generosity. Then act.
I thought of a few other ideas:
Call or email friends. In particular, contact those you haven’t heard from for a while. This may brighten their day and yours. But refrain from talking about and lamenting the current situation, which may only deepen negative feelings.
Walk outside in the sunshine. This will increase your happy hormones and provide much needed exercise. Invite someone to be your walking companion to make the walk more enjoyable.
Do something you enjoy but don’t usually find time to do. This might be listening to music, crocheting, gardening, or working jigsaw puzzles.
You might read my previous post: “Ten Occupations During COVID-19 Isolation.”
What could you add to this list?