How to stay positive during coronavirus and make
the most out of self-isolating
By Omri Kleinberger - Mar 19 2020
These days I wear many hats. I’m the CEO of a Holistic Wellness Company, an active Yoga and Meditation teacher, a friend to many of my students, and an ear to a lot of people who are currently feeling anxious over the new reality of staying home, not working, and not exercising.
The most common questions I get asked are: What should I do to mitigate the stress that I’m feeling? How do I alleviate the fear I have over my lack of income? Will I still have a job when this is over? How do I work out at home so I can stay in shape and use it as a way to calm down?
The anxiety and fear are driven by feelings of uncertainty and lack of control. We try to control what we can’t control—like the nature of change—and lose control over things that we can control—like our behavior—and spiral.
Now that you’ve clearly framed this predicament, you can think about how to leverage this moment to change your value system and ride the storm out peacefully. It also gives you an opportunity to level up, so that when things go back to normal— which they eventually will— you can come out of this as a stronger and smarter version of you.
Staying home is a wonderful opportunity to do things we have all been pushing off, things that aren’t that important day-to-day but now we can dedicate time to catch up on. During normal times, being at home would probably be associated with rest and recovery, like catching up on sleep or time for yourself or with family.
I believe that the difficulty most people experience right now is a lack of perspective over the perceived distress in this situation and that reframing the problem can lead to a more constructive, mindful solution.
Here are some examples of common fears people have shared with me, and I’m going to use three touch points for each: Things we have control over, things we don’t have control over, and how to know the difference.
Not having access to our usual stress relievers.
Last year I got injured, and I couldn’t practice for a long time. I was in peak physical shape, and it was much harder than I expected to change my routine— both mentally and physically— in order to allow my body to adjust and eventually enjoy other forms of movement. I very quickly realized two things: Your body benefits from a change to workout routines, and you can adjust to anything. It’s a great time to learn how to let go, there’s freedom in it, and growth.
Not having your usual routine.
They say people are creatures of habits, and I agree that habits can be very powerful engines for change, but I strongly disagree with the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. If there’s anything to be learned about the shifting landscape that is our lives in the last few years, it’s that being able to adjust and grow and learn new things is necessary for long-term success. This is a great time to learn a new language, or how to code, or how to cook, read a book you’ve been wanting to read or get in on that webinar you wanted to join.
Not getting a paycheck.
We are all going to be together in this crisis, and since this is so big and will financially impact everyone, solutions will be geared towards everyone, including you. The futurists have already reached a consensus that the world is shifting towards remote work. It’s efficient, it affords you more freedom, and it reduces costs. Times of crises are great opportunities to rethink strategies, re-plan your overarching goals and vision of the future. Yesterday, you were working at a desk. Tomorrow, you could own an online business. This is also a great time to understand the importance of saving and the value of managing your money wisely. We will all go back to work at some point, and by then you should have a better financial strategy for your future.
Not being able to see friends.
This is a great time to reconnect with people you haven’t seen or spoken to in a long time. What about your childhood best friend? When was the last time you FaceTimed them and said “Hi?” With today’s technology, it’s harder to keep people out rather than in, so unless you’re trying very hard, it’s going to be impossible to not socialize online in any capacity. Get together online, watch movies together, talk about meaningful things, try to have real conversations. I heard they say it leads to real relationships. And you can still go on walks.
Most people have plenty of food at home, yet storm the shelves at the supermarket, strangely buying items they don’t need because the ones they think they need have run out. Last I checked, we live in an unprecedented age of abundance, and restaurants are still serving food. You’re not likely to run out of food. There will be food. Be mindful when you go to the store, buy only what you need, and be considerate of the needs of the people around you. This is a great time to make a difference for other people by being helpful and generous.
It's important to remember that you have control over this. You know that waking up at 2 pm and watching Netflix all day is not going to make you happy and it might even make you feel depressed because you got nothing done and wasted a day. So don't do it. I’ve been waking up at 7 am because I’ve already caught up on my sleep, and now I want to get things done. It took me years to build good habits, and I’m not going to lose all that great work just because I need to stay home for a while. Commit to being positive the way you would commit to a relationship. Some days will be easier than others, but it's something that's worth working on every day.
Most importantly, remember that not too far in the future, you’ll be back to work and normal life, and that you will look back and realize that this was a valuable opportunity. Since you are now aware of this opportunity, you can come out of this stronger, wiser, better equipped to move forward in life. If my mother can quit smoking after 50 years because of this, I believe you can turn this into an opportunity of a lifetime, and move mountains!