Positivity in the Post-Pandemic ERA
The world has rapidly coped with the challenges of the pandemic and now, most regions are hurtling towards a post-pandemic period. With anxiety and depression increasing 25% globally during the pandemic, the end of the pandemic seems to be a welcome relief from all the mental health-related issues that people faced. However, there is an increasing concern over how to maintain positivity in the post-pandemic period since the transition has not been smooth or easy regardless of how relieving it is.
Concerns about the unprecedented increase in mental health-related issues and consequently, the solution for them had already been plaguing the world even before the pandemic. Different initiatives, strategies and plans were already in the making by various organisations and governments when the pandemic struck leading to an unexpected rise and state of emergency. With the lockdowns and the quarantines came the associated loneliness, depression and substance abuse, especially in the more vulnerable groups. However, a positive side to the entire global facing mental health-related issues is that such issues are now being discussed openly and stigma has considerably reduced.
What about the post-pandemic era? Just because the borders have opened up doesn’t necessarily mean that human beings can open up and go back to their pre-pandemic life. Many of us have gone through traumatic and life-changing experiences including but not limited to the loss of a loved one and major physical ailments. These experiences and the impact it has had on one cannot be changed just because the world is celebrating the end of the pandemic. However, paying attention to yourself and your mental health can really help. Here are a few tips on how to bring positivity into the post-pandemic era.
Acknowledge yourself, your thoughts and your feelings: You matter and the experiences you went through matter. Give yourself time, space and understanding. Do not force yourself to celebrate the end of the pandemic if you don’t feel ready yet. Be kind to yourself and find ways to express your emotions, whatever the emotions may be. Do not judge yourself or the way you feel. Allow yourself to feel and express openly and treat yourself with love, empathy and kindness.
Practice Gratitude: “Gratitude is the great multiplier” - Rhonda Byrnes, The Secret The more you give gratitude to things, the more you’ll receive things to be grateful about. Of course, it is easier said than done to give gratitude for things when you feel like you are surrounded by negativity but look close enough: there is always something to be grateful for. Your pets, your family or even, your laptop and notebook that helped you get all your work done from home without compromising your health, be grateful for them all. Most importantly, if nothing else, be grateful for yourself who has managed to successfully get through a global pandemic and thank yourself for being so amazing. The easiest way to do this is by maintaining a gratitude journal and writing down at least one thing a day that you’re grateful for.
Be conscious of your thoughts: Our thoughts form our reality and the way we word our thoughts influence the way we actually think. Recognize unhelpful, negative or de-motivating thoughts and reframe them to be more positive and optimistic. Don’t hesitate to stop and reframe your thoughts mid-sentence; this is a skill you will be able to develop with more practice. By just changing your sentences and thoughts, you will definitely be able to see a change in yourself and by extension, the world around you. Be in control of your thoughts and emotions, don’t let them take control of you.
Create a healthy routine: An unfortunate thing the pandemic has done is make most of the world lose the routine they had. In between working from home and coping with stress, most people forget to create some discipline in their busy life. Set a routine for yourself - start with something simple like when to wake up and when to sleep, then build on it. Creating a routine helps alleviate anxiety, promotes healthy habits and helps combat burnout from stress.
Do not compete with the world around you: It doesn’t matter if your best friend has already adjusted to the ‘new normal’ or if your husband seems to be doing just fine in the post-pandemic world while you are struggling. You don’t have to match your pace with everybody else’s. Everyone’s coping style and methods are different and so are their coping times. You are not in competition with the world around you or your loved ones to see who can get out of the ‘pandemic slump’ first. Take your time and let people around you take their time as well.
These are just some basic, starting tips on how to regain positivity in the post-pandemic era. A lot of grief and mental health issues cannot be solved just by following these steps. So, take a step back, sit with yourself and understand what you want. For most people, professional help is needed to get back on track after this global pandemic. Acknowledge that asking for help is not bad and that getting through a big pandemic such as this that has claimed the lives of many, is a commendable feat in itself. Do not forget, help is always there if you’re willing to ask for it.