What a time to be living, when all the stores are closing, joblessness is rampant, and no matter where you look, all you see is COVID-19. The news reports show numbers rising, and we’re forced to stay indoors. In this time of uncertainty, many people and I are wondering how to stay motivated; when stress, anxiety, and fear overshadow our life.
I know, I have been struggling with this pandemic – not knowing when I can go back to work, or if I even want too. I have made it my mission to work from home, even when the world pieces itself back together. But the struggle is maintaining a positive outlook and keeping myself going.
Depression is a demon, continually holding me back, that I have been fighting for as long as I can remember. I feel him creeping behind, ready to pull me down at the first sign of failure. In this climate, it feels as if I’m a moment away from homelessness, and I need to stay afloat.
I know I’m not the only one struggling in this time, and I give 6 tips to help fight through COVID-19.
1. Give Yourself Daily Goals
Like I say in my article on building a writing routine, it is crucial to give yourself small goals to accomplish throughout the day. They don’t have to be anything spectacular; it can be as simple as taking a shower and getting dressed.
I find it helpful to write down my goals in a checklist, marking them off as I go.
My goals for today, as I write this, are to finish my homework assignment, work on my article, and promote myself on social media. They are simple – vague even – and they are doable. The act of checking things off your list is motivating all on its own. At the end of the day, you can look back at what you’ve done and say, “Look at me go; I’m doing things!”
This is a writing blog, so I highly recommend giving yourself at least one writing goal, be it writing 500 words, editing that chapter you’re working on, or reading a chapter out of that book (you know the one I’m talking about.)
Anything to keep momentum on your projects, and distracted during COVID-19.
Every day since the stay at home order, I have been maintaining writing at least a little every day, whether it is taking notes for these articles, working on these articles, or completing school work.
2. Stay Connected
With social distancing being the new normal, it feels impossible to spend time with friends and see family that doesn’t live with you. As someone who deals with depression, this can be especially hard. Depression tries to make you feel disconnected, and at times like this, that is even easier.
Reach out to your friends!
A quick text or phone call can help alleviate that impending loneliness. Just texting your best friend can help remind you there is more of a world outside of your house. It gives you something to look forward to when everything is said and done.
I am fortunate to be living with my fiancée in this self quarantining era. She keeps me motivated and pushes me toward my goals. She is my biggest support and driving force. When depression or anxiety rears its ugly head, I can talk to her. When times are tough, it is crucial to reach out. You are not as alone as you seem.
3. Stay Active
Disclaimer: Do not put yourself at risk! Maintain social distancing standards, wear a mask when applicable, and always wash your hands!
If you live in an area where you can take a walk or go on a run: do it!
Make sure to take the proper safety precautions, but getting outside and moving alleviates a ton of stress and allows you to keep your oxygen flowing. It is easy to get stuck: sitting, writing, watching tv, playing games, and eating, being at home all the time. Your bottom can get sore after all that staying in place!
My fiancée and I try to go on a walk or run every day around our neighborhood. Sometimes we will take two or more – it allows us to keep our bodies moving and get a change of scenery. Moving and staying active helps me stay focused on my goals. It gives me a chance to move my muscles, making it easier to start my next writing session.
Sometimes, it may not be possible to go outside, or you may be in an area where you must stay inside – in this case, take some time to do indoor workouts. Make a space and do some burpees, yoga, or any exercise you enjoy.
When it is raining, I do burpees in my room.
4. Clear Your Mind!
Anxiety is high, with the impact COVID-19 is having on our daily lives.
Where am I going to get money to pay rent?
Will I find toilet paper when I run out?
I hope I don’t get evicted.
Fear is rampant in our minds, and it is hard to focus on anything. For some, it may be difficult just getting out of bed. I find it difficult thinking about the future, and wondering if the world will ever return to how it was.
We need to find moments to clear our heads. I like to take a moment to meditate when I feel the anxiety gripping me. My mind races at 100 mph, and it is impossible to get any work done. I will take a few deep breaths and allow my mind to slow – witnessing my thoughts and letting them go.
Working with a slowed mind allows you to focus on whatever task you have at hand.
Working on this article, I found out I am getting furloughed from my job, and immediately I felt my mind rushing to worst possible cases. I’m going to be homeless tomorrow! After meditating, I can see, I will not be homeless, and everything will be okay. I can work on this article and share this information.
5. Use Different Spaces
Using different spaces is the opposite of how I spend my time – stuck in my room in a tiny apartment. I work, write, watch tv, eat, play games, read, and sleep all on my bed. Doing this all the time – every day – drives me stir-crazy. I need to get out and do something else – see another part of the apartment.
I recommend dedicating different parts of your house or apartment for various activities. Try doing work on the kitchen table, playing games, or reading in the living room – save your bed for sleeping time. Maybe you only have a single room to roam; in that case: use different corners of the room for various activities if possible.
The purpose: add variety in your daily activities to give the feeling of movement in your day-to-day. If you give yourself a space dedicated to writing, every time you enter that space, you’ll enter your writing flow-state. It is something that’ll happen as you build consistency.
6. Have Fun!
COVID-19 is a massive stress on everyone, and it can be near impossible to focus on anything.
Writing might seem hopeless when the world feels as if it’s falling apart. It is okay to feel overwhelmed at this time, and not accomplish all your goals.
When I feel overwhelmed, I’ll pull out my phone and play Assassin’s Creed: Rebellion, or invite my fiancée to race in Crash Team Racing. The point: focus on activities that bring you joy, or provide you with a distraction.
Work does not need to be done 100% of the time, every day. It is not possible. You need to have fun and focus on yourself. The world may feel as if it’s dying, but you’re still here, and you’re still important!
For those who have made it this far, I share a poem I wrote when the world first started shutting down.
At World’s End (COVID-19)
By C. D. Baron
It is moments like these that define us –
Moments at world’s end, people turn against people,
Hoarding supplies- survival of the fittest.
Fear mongering, and misinformation run rampant.
Everyone’s lost within the chaos.
Events being canceled like a failed tv show
And businesses close to stop cross-contamination.
When really media and scientific observations don’t line up.
One says fear; the other says it’s no worse than the common flu.
Government conspiracies and world war 3 around the corner.
What is really happening behind closed doors?
It is times like these when compassion and community should stand together.
We are not each others enemy,
No, only as one can we survive.
Stand together as sisters and brothers
Show love toward one another.
COVID-19 is causing mayhem in everyone’s life. It is causing anxieties to run high, and depression to inflate worry. I hope that by sharing my experience with the pandemic, I can help other’s get through it. Stay safe! We will get through this together!
Feel free to comment below to share how you have been coping during this time, and share this with your friends if you find it helpful!
Thank you for your time!