Staying Distracted in Stressful Times

With all of the scariness and unknown going on around the world right now, I didn’t think it made sense to write something business as usual.

What’s going on feels a little unprecedented, which is why it’s important to rally around one another. It’s forced me to change things up, to re-work my day-to-day life and find a new normal. But sometimes, these things happen, and I think it presents a good opportunity to be forced to take a step back.

A time like this makes me remember what’s important and what isn’t. Spending time with our loved ones and eliminating distractions can be a very powerful and significant change. This time brings about stress and anxiety as well. Stressing about the fate of our world and loved ones and not knowing what’s to come can definitely cause panic.

So, create a circle of positive distractions. Here are 4 ways to keep busy and motivated during a stressful time like this one.

1. Get Active

The self-quarantine doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for awhile now, which is why it’s important to keep active.

Just because your gym or yoga studio is closed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay moving. I’ve found lots of benefit to exercising every day. Not only does it keep me busy, but it has a whole host of other benefits, such as clearing my mind and limiting anxiety. Exercise not only increases your physical strength, but emotional strength, as well as boosts your body’s release of endorphins and serotonin, the components known for reducing stress and anxiety.

So, get out there and move your body, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. There are lots of different ways to get active even while quarantining, such as:

1. Going outdoors and running or walking;

2. Searching for workout videos on YouTube such as HIIT, cardio, or yoga;

3. Using things you already have in your house, such as resistance bands or a staircase;

4. Stretching for 15-20 minutes

Get moving — you will be glad you do!

2. Connect with Others

Just because you may not be able to physically hang out with friends or family doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and connect.

If you live with people, take this time to re-connect with your loved ones. Consider having an at-home game night or think of other activities you can do inside your home. We often get into the habit if going through the motions of our life and forget to connect with those closest to us. Whether you live with your kids, a partner, friends, or extended family members, it’s good to take some time to just truly hangout with nowhere else to go (since we have nowhere else to go anyways).

Also, check in on people who may live alone. This can be a very isolating time for social people who are always out and about, or for people who don’t live with others. Whether it’s a FaceTime, call, or text, make sure to contact those who you love.

Set up a group chat or weekly check in with colleagues and friends! Share some laughs, stories, or give updates on what you’re doing. I’ve heard lots of amazing stories of people who’ve set up fun activities in their communities to keep people feeling positive and hopeful during these uncertain times.

3. Limit News Consumption

Now, I’m in no ways saying that you should tune out the news and live in your own world. But, constantly watching the 24/7 news cycle and stressing about each story is distracting in a bad way. Stay informed and check in daily, but certainly don’t be checking in every minute or every hour.

In the age of instant news and Twitter and Facebook feeds constantly feeding us information, it can be hard to differentiate the good from the bad, and especially hard to draw the line of when too much news is too much. News stories can increase personal worry, stress, frustration, and cause us to feel unsafe. Bad headlines typically outperform good ones, which is why watching the news can sometimes feel like doomsday.

Instead, switch off the news and unplug from social media apps once in awhile. Try not to engage in negative news headlines, especially before bed. Try your best to fill your feed with positivity.

4. Stream Events Online

Even though festivals, movies, concerts, and a whole host of other things have been cancelled, there are lots of things to do online!

Museums around the world are letting people take virtual tours, musicians such as Luke Bryan and John Legend are live streaming concerts from their homes, and some movies are even coming straight to Netflix.

The internet is a vast place, and you can access almost anything — so use that to your advantage! There are podcasts, movies, TV shows, concerts, articles, and a million and one more things going on every day. Maybe you should even consider doing a live stream of your own! Do you have any talents or things you love doing with your friends? I think it’s a great idea to spread positivity during this time, whether it’s in the form of a song or good laugh.

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