Achieving a Positive Mindset Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic...

Life, for the majority of us, is pretty strange at the minute, as we each face up to the consequences of COVID 19.

Things feel messed-up, scary, almost apocalyptic, and it's difficult to digest that any of this is happening, that any of this is our reality.

None of us know when it's going to improve, if it's going to improve, and yet we are expected to simply muddle through the unknown like a bunch of deer in the headlights.

It's unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before, and that's why taking care of ourselves, taking care of our mental-wellbeing, may feel more difficult now than it has done in a long time.

It certainly feels that way for me, anyway.

Because, even though we're constantly being told that"everyone is in the same boat", it doesn't really feel that way at all.

In fact, I'm finding this to be the most isolating experience (excuse the pun), and it's pretty hard to reassure myself that any of us are in this together.

Especially when everyone is so far apart.

That's why, given the way things are right now, it's hard not to be negative.

In fact, to many, having a positive mindset within the current climate seems nothing short of futile.

I mean, we're being told to stay at home, to keep a distance from our family and friends, and to accept that the majority of our plans this year will be cancelled.

On a larger scale, things are entirely out of our control, we're constantly told of people taking ill and losing their lives, and it's difficult to see an end in sight.

But, throughout trying times like this, mindset harbours so much power, and if you can find a way to control your mindset, you'll find that it has far less control over you.

As someone who has always seen the glass as 'half-empty', adapting my thought processes so that they reach more positive conclusions has been no easy feat, but in the face of crisis, I have been trying.

I wanted to share the changes I'm making with you, the reader, in the hope that it may help you to adapt your thought processes too, should you feel that you need to do so.

Remember that free time does not always have to equate to productivity.

It's inevitable that the majority of us have a lot of time on our hands now, and in light of that, I've seen quite a few suggestions online offering different ways to spend our time during lockdown.

There are some really great ideas, be it learning something new, engaging in a creative hobby, calling up a friend, reading a book, working out from home, meditating...the list is, without a doubt, endless.

In fact, when you read the possibilities, it almost feels like the world could very much be your oyster right now. It seems as though you've been given the opportunity to grab at this free time with both hands, to start building your empire from the comfort of your own home.

So, of course, when you're doing precisely none of that, it's kind of difficult not to beat yourself up about it. You know, to not feel like you're doing something very wrong.

But, free time is exactly that - free time.

You are free to do with it whatever you wish - you don't have to "use this opportunity" to transform your garden into a home gym, or to write a best-selling novel that's ready to be published once lockdown is over.

If some days you do nothing more than survive, that is enough.

Stop worrying about what other people are doing with their time.

I've got an abundance of books in my wardrobe that serve no other purpose than collecting dust.

It's not even that I don't want to read them, they're all books that I have every interest in - I just can't seem to motivate myself to actually pick them up.

When I checked in with a friend last week, she said she always had her head buried in a book given the circumstances, and I instantly felt like I should be doing the same. This would be the perfect opportunity to work my way through all of my books, after all, because I have the time on my hands to do so.

But, I still haven't so much as picked up a new book, and why?

Because, I haven't had any desire to.

It's not easy, I know, logging onto social media and seeing what others are getting up to, particularly when you don't feel like you're getting up to much at all.

But, seeing a screenshot of someone else's calorie-burn for the day does not mean you should be doing exercise. Seeing someone else's batch of cookies does not mean you should be baking, and hearing about my friend reading a book does not mean that I should be doing the same.

There is no right or wrong way to spend your time; do what you need to do, when you need to do it - things that are good for you as an individual.

Try not to measure your life in years.

As human beings, we seem to be determined to slot things into brackets of time, even when they don't necessarily need to be.

At the end of each year, we reflect on whether that year in particular has been up to standard, and we look ahead to the new year, each harbouring hopes and dreams of what life could bring for us within that 12 month period.

That's why, when something like this happens, we are prone to writing off the rest of the year, too (and understandably so).

It's really easy to conclude that 2020 has been, and will continue to be, a total catastrophe, because a lot of the hopes and dreams that we had for such have been put on hold. It doesn't help that the situation at hand is indefinite, and nobody can be absolutely sure when things are going to improve.

But, telling yourself that things simply will not get better this year has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and having such a mindset holds no benefit at all.

I understand completely that this is easier said than done, but try to recognise that this pandemic does not have to define your year.

In fact, years don't have to be defined at all, and taking each day as it comes (as much as I hate that saying, and I really do), can feel a lot less daunting in the face of a crisis like this.

Find what you really love, and love it with your whole heart.

In hindsight, I really have taken so much for granted, and it's taken something as drastic as a nationwide Lockdown to make me realise such a thing.

But, whilst there is so much that I miss, I feel like I've naturally come to some conclusions regarding what it is, exactly, that I derive the purest, simplest kind of happiness from.

The walk that I take on an evening is quite literally my sanity, taking that limited time out with nature, with fresh air, with very few people around. Writing music for the sake of just writing music, not over-rehearsing songs that I think the audience at gigs will enjoy.

Spending time alone, rewatching Prison Break for the hundredth time, reading up on conspiracy theories (there's even some about the pandemic), or even just listening to a Meditation Playlist on Spotify with my eyes closed.

Sometimes, when we have plans ahead or perhaps work the next day, we find that the spare time we do have is full of busy, worrying about getting X, Y and Z done before that time runs out.

But, given all this time that we have, it's much easier to simply notice. To tune into our own emotions, to recognise what it is that we really enjoy, whether that be through having the time to do it, or through losing that thing during lockdown, and missing it as a result.

Remember that this is temporary, and it will pass.

Without a definitive date on which things will 'return to normal', it's easy to feel like this is a forever thing. It's scary, the way life has just changed in an instant, the way everything we thought we knew feels somewhat irrelevant, now.

There's no avoiding it - we're living and breathing this global pandemic at the minute. It's on the news, it's on the radio, it's all that we, as people, talk about, and it can feel very claustrophobic to live amongst, because it's almost as though there is no way out.

In the face of uncertainty, it is natural for us to panic, and feeling overwhelmed, anxious and helpless in a climate such as this one is to be expected.

I don't know a lot about the virus, and I'm not educated enough to estimate the impact that this will have on our lives once it's all under control.

But, what I do know is that humanity harbours a lot of resilience, and we will come out of the other side.

No matter what takes place on this Earth, it sure as hell keeps turning, and I guess we've just got to keep turning with it, too.

Living in this world can, without a doubt, be so scary, especially during a time like this, but living in our own heads can be even scarier. And so, if you feel confused, if you feel like you've got no idea what to do for the best right now, I'm here to tell you that it's okay.

You do not have to take the weight of the world on your shoulders.

You do not have to start a hobby, a business or a revolution from your bedroom.

Just stay safe, and stay home.

All the love (more so now than ever),

Chlo xx


County Durham, United Kingdom

© 2020 this japanese crane - chloe nattrass.