Keeping a Positive Mindset in Quarantine

Looking after your mental health while in COVID-19 quarantine is important. Being stuck indoors, worrying about things that are happening in the world can make it easy to fall into an unhelpful headspace.

Sometimes the simple act of refocusing your attention to the positives, finding the beauty in what we have and enjoying all the small things that still exist for us day to day is a good way to redirect your headspace to something more positive.

It’s important to acknowledge that we have no control over our situation but we can control how we react.

Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself each day while you are in coronavirus quarantine. Once you have identified the answer try to actively write it down, to think about it or put it into action. Doing this can help to redirect your headspace to focusing on the positives by engaging in activities that highlight positive things in your life.

  1. What am I GRATEFUL for today?
  2. Who am I going to CONNECT with today?
  3. What expectation of “normal” am I LETTING GO of today?
  4. How am I getting OUTSIDE today?
  5. How will I get some MOVEMENT in today?
  6. What BEAUTY or CREATIVITY am I cultivating or inviting in today?
  7. What POSITIVITY or KINDNESS am I inviting in or sending out today?

 

What am I GRATEFUL for today?

Research shows that learning to practice gratitude is a useful tool in helping people to manage hardship and stressful situations. Taking time each day to reflect on things you are grateful for, no matter how small can add up over time. 

This can help to play a part in refocusing your thoughts and feelings away from some of the negative things that come along with being in challenging conditions such as social distancing or quarantine and back to the positive things you still have going on in your life such as opportunity to learn new skills,  more time to reach out to people who you may not have spoken to in a while or a chance to engage in some positive reflection and self care.

 

Who am I going to CONNECT with today?

One very important key in keeping positive, while practicing social distancing or quarantine is to try to remain connected with others. So how is this important to staying positive you might ask?

When we experience feelings of loneliness research has shown that it can increase vulnerability to other stress happening in our lives, cause a more intense reaction to negative situations, as well as reduce the emotional boost of positives (Cacioppo,& Patrick,2008).

Creating connections with others can help us to feel less stressed and thus better able to cope with difficult situations. So how can we remain connected when we are being discouraged to leave our homes except for essential travel? 

The answer is technology! Text, email, social media, Facetime, Zoom, Houseparty, online games… There are plenty of ways you can use technology to still have a conversation and remain connected to people in your life.

That being said having a conversation via technology doesn’t quite measure up to the same level of connection as a face to face chat. If you find that you are experiencing loneliness and it’s impacting your mood, it’s important to reach out. Some helpful places to reach out to include

John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick (2008) Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, W W Norton and Co  

 

What expectation of “normal” am I LETTING GO of today?

One of the hardest challenges to keeping a positive mindset in quarantine or while practicing social distancing is the changes and impacts to our daily routines and the change in our reality of what is for now, the new normal.

Where we use to be able to go out, go to dinner with friends, not be concerned about being in close proximity to someone or even easily being able to buy toilet paper, we now have to change our expectations about all of these things.

It’s important to be realistic and remind ourselves that while this won’t last forever. For now, our expectations for what is normal need to be adjusted. Reminding ourselves of this is a helpful way to prepare for disruption to routine, disappointment in not being able to do the things you once could and building resilience to cope with some of the stresses that come along with this whole pandemic situation.  

 

How am I getting OUTSIDE today?

One of the major contributing factors to people slipping into an unhelpful or negative headspace while practicing self isolation or being in quarantine is being stuck inside.

 Being stuck inside all day can be very confining and start to feel like you are in prison which is going to have an impact on anyone’s mood after a while.  For this reason it’s important to make sure that you get some sunshine and fresh air (while still following the law) so that you don’t feel like you’re trapped in a box.  Try to schedule some technology free time each day to go outside, where you can mindfully sit in your backyard or on your balcony.  Be sure to take a moment to notice the feeling of the sun on your skin, the grass beneath your feet and the breeze on your face. 

If you have neither a backyard or balcony available to you, or you are getting sick of the backyard, maybe consider going for a walk to any of your essential travel destinations like the grocery store ( just remember to stick to social distancing rules).

You can also use our Outdoor Mindfulness Exercises guide as a way of connecting with your surroundings and disconnecting from the feeling of being cooped up inside. Read more. 

 

How will I get some MOVEMENT in today?

There is a lot of research that suggests that there is a direct link between our mood and how much physical activity we do each day. It can be very tempting when you are stuck at home to just sit on the couch and watch Netflix and while this is ok for a while, it’s important that you also make time in your day to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity in. Physical activity helps our brains to produce chemicals that have a positive impact on our mood and overall sense of wellbeing. One easy way to maintain a positive mindset in isolation is to ensure you get some movement into your day. 

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a gym style workout, there are plenty of ways that you can get your body moving. Try going for a walk or run, play with your dog, clean the house, do some work in your garden or even learn a Tik Tok dance routine! As long as you are moving!

You can also take a look at the Healthier. Happier. exercise resources, available for free from the Queensland Government.

 

What BEAUTY or CREATIVITY am I cultivating or inviting in today?

Using the time you have to create something is a great way to keep your mind occupied, feel like you are accomplishing something, and have fun! 

When we are creating something our mind becomes focused on the task, you can start to lose sense of time and self and just let your creative juices flow. There is research that suggests that being in this state is almost meditative and can reduce anxiety, boost your mood and even slow your heart rate! When you have completed it and can see, hear, feel, smell or taste the result your brain releases chemicals that make us feel happy and accomplished. These are all key things that will contribute to maintaining a positive mindset.

Our busy lives usually prohibit us from taking the time to sit down and just create something beautiful. Well now you have time so take advantage! Draw that picture, create that pretty flower garden, bake that cake, write that story, get that creativity flowing!

To get you started, we’ve created a University of Queensland colouring-in sheet! Download here.

 

What POSITIVITY or KINDNESS am I inviting in or sending out today?

Positivity can be a very hard thing to maintain during a global pandemic. With so much negativity, unease and confusion going on around us it can be easy to be impacted by it all. And to an extent negative impacts will be inevitable. This is unfortunately something we don’t have much control over right now.

However, what we do have control over is how we react to the negativity. Every day we can choose to make sure that we invite in positivity by doing one thing that sends out positivity to others. Just like it’s easy to get impacted by negative things going on around us it’s also easy to create positive impacts with our own actions. When we do things that create positivity and kindness we begin to feel those feelings of positivity ourselves.

Something as simple as checking in on someone who is struggling, donating to someone in need,  putting out a positive message or getting involved in campaigns that promote positivity all help to make things that little bit more positive. When we all add to that positivity it begins to multiply and spread and bring a bit of light to the world during this time.

 

The simple act of asking yourself these questions each day and engaging in the answers you come up for each one is a helpful way to shift your focus from the negativity of everything going on around you to the positivity of the things you do have going on for you in your life.

Being able to shift focus from the negative to the positive is a key component in good mental health. Remember all the little bits of positivity can add up and make you see that there is more positivity than you might realise. This positive mindset exercise can help you to see that despite everything that’s going on there is still something to be positive about.

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