7 Simple Mistakes to Avoid When You Want to Beat the Pandemic Blues

Let’s be honest.

Our future is uncertain. You wonder which insidious plague is about to hit the world next.

You long for things to go back to the way they were. You’re afraid for yourself, your loved ones; what if you all become ill, land up on the street or worse? It sure looks like those apocalyptic movies are playing out.

“The mind is a place of its own and it can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven,” Milton wrote. You know that you’re only as happy as you are in your head.

My suggestion is to build resilience and to avoid the following simple mistakes.

1. Giving free rein to your negative thoughts

You are a helpless passenger on a runaway train of agonising thought. You feel the anxiety churning in your stomach, your hands sweating.

Stop the train by learning to switch your thoughts to positive mode; to choose happiness. Start by creating self-awareness and think about what you are thinking.

You have a choice of popular, proven methods: prayer, meditation, visualization and affirmation; yoga and self-help books; hypnosis and listening to subliminal sounds. Enlisting the assistance of a therapist or coach will speed things up substantially.

2. Living the couch potato lifestyle

The longer you dally, the more difficult it becomes to break out of your cosy comfort zone. Your thoughts are turned inwards.

Venture outside and apply your senses. Movement is life, so start moving about.

Smell and touch the flowers in your garden and listen to the sounds of the birds. Start a small herb garden and get your hands dirty. Stretch, walk or cycle. Drive along a scenic route and linger longer at a breathtaking spot.

3. Giving up socializing with friends and family

You’re on social media all the time but authentic relationships get lost between the lines and voice messages.

Make it up close and personal; reach out to people in person. Let go of grudges and forgive wholeheartedly.

Make an appointment with a genuine bestie to visit a mouth-watering coffee shop. Call a friend and catch up on the latest. I called an elderly, overseas aunt and then had a surprise gift delivered to her. The bonus — it made me feel wonderful too.

4. Doing what you like whenever you feel like it

You’re all over the place. Your desk, bedroom and kitchen look like the dog’s breakfast.

Start small and plan like a pro. Be proactive and create some balance and routine. We all fulfil various roles as spouse, parent, friend, worker etc. Set a specific, achievable goal for the next day or week in each of the roles in your life.

Likewise, plan your activities by making notes in your diary. Measure and reward your progress; for example, have a sweet treat or watch 2 episodes of your favourite series.

5. Paying too many visits to the refrigerator

You feel your pants cutting into your waistline and you take an antacid for indigestion.

Here once again, a little planning goes a long way. Jot down vegetables, fruit and healthy snacks on your shopping list. Scrumptious, easy recipes for healthy food abound online.

Keep healthy salads and dishes in the fridge. Display a bowl of enticing fruit. When you’re ravenous, indulge in the healthy stuff first. Sit down to eat, look at the food (not the screen) and savour it slowly.

6. Avoiding any mental challenges.

You’re forgetful and absent-minded. Your grey cells are becoming lazy and clogged up due to a lack of stimulation.

The pandemic has forced many of us to work differently or acquire new online skills — adapt or face unemployment. You’ve had to cope with radical changes lately and you want to avoid undue stress.

However, you’re building new roadways and bridges in your mind if you constantly challenge yourself with new, unmastered tasks. Feed your brain. You can learn almost anything online. What about a new language or a craft?

7. Neglecting yourself and the activities that you enjoy

You’re graciously attending to the family’s needs. But you look and feel like a sloppy bag and you sound like an old grouch.

An attractive appearance makes you feel good and boosts confidence. So, groom or be groomed. Bring some fun and humour to your life.

Dress up, put on make-up and smile at yourself in the mirror. Allocate the best spot in your diary to what tickles your fancy whether it’s socialising, dancing or watching the funnies only you appreciate.

Give yourself a huge hug for coming so far since the start of the pandemic — you’ve adapted remarkably well.

Imagine what it feels like to have empowered yourself, to be truly happy from the inside out. Imagine what it feels like to live free from nagging anxiety and to positively impact other people’s lives. You can handle anything life throws at you.

You will need to persevere and work at it from time to time, but that’s fine. Believe in yourself and never, never give up.

A few people may regard these suggestions as modest, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s the beauty! It’s the small, incremental steps we consistently take each day that leads to ultimate success.

So get started, right now!

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