Maintaining a Positive Mindset During COVID-19
In difficult and hard times, you may find it impossible to be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. You may be stressed, worried, anxious; or you may even feel as though your life has lost its purpose without your regular schedule to fall back on. It’s important for all of us to remember that during this time we need to seek within ourselves for the peace of mind that we may be searching for.
Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed our lives for the time being. Many of us are struggling financially, and some of us are finding it difficult to be inside or not working during this time. Whether you’re stressed about feeling underproductive or struggling to be around your loved ones so often, it's important to remember that you cannot control this. It’s okay to let go of the control you normally feel, and accept this time for what it is. For this piece, I collaborated with Lifestyle Coach Ellie Fordham to get some positive insight from her and share my personal experience as well.
How are you coping with the current status of the world?
Ellie: I’m really using this time to focus my attention on self-care, human connection, and diving into my work.
I’ve always been deeply philosophical so I have definitely used this time to reflect on the deeper meaning of this season of life. I have unwavering trust in the universe and no matter how good or bad a situation may seem in present, I fully trust that there is a higher purpose that has been therapeutic in a sense.
I have never been one to tune into the news and mainstream media and I won’t start now.
I always try to stay educated and aware of what is going on in the world, but I’m very conscious of the way the mainstream media operates. The fear-based backing music, the tone of voice, and the language used is all an act of persuasion. I have seen the ripple effect of this as I’ve watched people feed into the fear and step into a place of panic. It breaks my heart to watch people lose their sense of self and act in a selfish manner, which is why I’m encouraging people to really focus on their intuition during this time.
Panic and fear won’t save you.
I think it is really important to self educate and be super aware of how the information you are tuning into is affecting your mental state. If you are experiencing overwhelm, anxiety, and hopelessness it’s time for you to set boundaries. If your friends and family are projecting their fear onto you, tell them you’d like to talk about something else. If you are subscribing to accounts on social media that are flooding your feed with scarcity and panic, unfollow them. You have the power to control what you consume.
Kiara: Personally, I am using this time to find myself. There have been so many things that I’ve been able to think about and learn just by having time to do it. When I was working 8 to 11 hours a day, it was very difficult for me to think about the future and my goals because I just didn’t have the time to fully sit and have a clear vision. I would come home from work exhausted every day; cook, clean, shower, maybe do some journaling, and that would be the end of my day. Repeat.
I am so grateful to be in a position where I can be at home and really think and make my goals and dreams come to fruition. I have all the time in the world now. I am trying my hardest to take advantage of every single second that I have and be committed to myself and my mental health.
I am able to journal more, meditate more, and be more creative right now with this newfound time that I have. I will say, not having a schedule is something that has taken me weeks to get accustomed to. I would find myself doing nothing positive for such a long time because the days would just pass me by. Now that I’ve been in quarantine and in my house for such a long time, it’s becoming easier for me to make my own routine and do the things that are best for me at the times that I see fit. It’s definitely been an adjustment.
Stress is something that is understandably difficult to control for many of us during this time. The only thing I can honestly say is taking time for myself and doing things that I enjoy has been beneficial for me. I have been using social media in a positive way by controlling what's in my feed and following and liking only the things that I want to see. I have full control over the things that are shown to me, and I’ve taken that power to use it to my advantage. Seeing inspirational and calming things all over my feed is definitely a booster compared to when I log in to see news. I have adopted a mentality of “If I cannot control it, I cannot let it stress me out.” That’s not easy to do, I know. Growing up with a very prominent anxiety problem I KNOW it’s hard. It has taken me almost two years to really be at peace with the things that I can’t control; and even then, I still feel stress and anxiety often. Especially now. But it can be done.
Ellie is absolutely right about one thing: Panic and fear won’t save you.
How does being creative help you stay focused during this time?
Ellie: I wasn’t aware of how much my soul was craving a time of creation. I’ve started two businesses in the past 6 months and before this time, was operating in a constant ‘hustle’ mindset. If I kept going the way I was, I would have definitely hit a wall.
During this time I’ve really slowed down, stepping back from my masculine energy and leaning into the feminine. I have given myself permission to flow in ways that resonate and create from my intuitive side rather than my business side.
When I am creating in my own rhythm and breaking all of the traditional rules of business is when I feel most aligned. I’m both structured and messy when it comes to the way I operate. I love to have systems and procedures, but on the other hand I always make decisions based on what feels right in my heart.
Business aside- this time is teaching all of us to tune back into our intuition and become our own leaders. We are creative, passionate, and adventurous beings that have been suppressing a side of ourselves that is aching to be released.
We already have all of the answers within. When you give yourself the space to fully create with raw expression and messiness, you are opening up a place for love and light.
Whether it be creating in the kitchen, making art, writing poetry, or redecorating your home, your creative side is waiting for you. The world has literally come to a halt to give you the space to do everything you’ve always wanted to do but have said you don’t have the time for.
You have all the time in the world, don’t waste it wishing for the contrary.
Kiara: Creativity is what has helped me find my passion and realize what my goals are. This has become the most important thing in my life right now, and I feel so passionately about it. I love to write. Growing up in the American public school system, I was taught to suppress my creativity. I was taught by everyone around me that I had to graduate and go to school and find a basic career and that would be my life. Creativity in that way was not praised or supported.
I had pushed this down for so long that I really ended up forgetting my love for writing and sharing what I feel and think with others. Through this love of writing and sharing, I have really been able to unravel myself and learn what my passions really are.
I now have the time to be committed to myself through creativity, and I’m taking full advantage of it.
I know many people around me have not been able to manage their free time. They will stay up extremely late, wake up extremely late. How do you feel about this?
Ellie: Ooh interesting one. I had a client bring this up the other day.
Honestly, I feel like the concept of time is being challenged for a reason. I’m a firm believer in operating in a way that feels intuitive and natural to your inner state. I’ve had the opportunity to live like this for the past 3 months as I’ve transitioned into working in the online world and it has totally transformed my life for the better.
So, for some this may feel like a time to ‘break the rules’ in a sense and live in a way that they aren’t usually given the opportunity to do so. I think it’s just about tuning into what feels right for you.
If staying up late and waking up late feels exciting and fun and enjoyable and abundant to you, fully surrender to that and give yourself permission to operate in that flow.
However, if you are staying up late even though you are tired and sleeping in to avoid starting the day, that’s an entirely different situation.
It’s all about your intention and being honest with yourself, is this positively or negatively impacting me?
Kiara: I personally believe that everyone needs to do what feels good for them. If going to sleep early and waking up early helps you be your best self; do it. If sleeping late and waking up at noon makes you feel good; do it. Some people are using this as a break from everyday life, and that’s okay. If having a schedule is something that you really don’t want to do right now, I don’t see anything particularly wrong with it. Each person should make their own decisions regarding their schedules and productivity in this time of unknowns.
However, there are many people who are just trying to ignore things and spiraling their bodies to a point that is unhealthy. If you’re feeling bad, tired, or down I would recommend that you take a look at the things that you’re doing that can help you feel better. For many people, creating a schedule and morning routine that fits their lifestyle will give them a boost. Routine in this sense is a very positive thing.
For me, finding a good routine to accomplish the things that I wanted to do was something that I really needed to do. During the beginning of quarantine I had fallen into some very bad habits, just because I felt like I had nothing to do and I wasn’t in the routine that I was used to. But I felt horrible waking up in the afternoon and getting nothing done. It wasn’t good for me because I knew that there were things that I wanted to work on within myself, and I wasn’t doing them. But once I found my routine, things got much better for me.
As previously stated, I believe that it is so important for us to look within ourselves for the answers we may be looking for when it comes to moments where we may feel lost or isolated. It’s not easy to sit and think about things when there’s an overwhelming panic that surrounds the air nowadays.
Fear can change your life, and oftentimes it’s not for the better. It’s crucial that we all take the time to relax, feel, and enjoy what we can right now. There is something you can be grateful for every single day. Find that and let your mind, body, and spirit run with it.