Positive psychology vibes to avoid ‘COVID fatigue’

Date 9.10.2020

With the pandemic situation constantly evolving, it can be challenging to keep on top of the very important messages to make sure we and the people around us are healthy and safe.

Dr Katere ‘Kati’ Pourseied – Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Northampton – is an expert who is passionate about helping people understand the complexity of their emotions and thoughts, their responses to stress and how to manage these and other positive psychology concepts in life-changing situations.

To help people deal with change, heavier than usual workloads, stress and to remain positive, she gives a ‘pick list’ of tips and advice.

2020 has been a rollercoaster to say the least. The pandemic has rocked all our lives in various ways and given us many new important rules and restrictions.

Let’s face it, most of us are not keen on change. It unsettles us and makes us feel uncertain and not in control, which simply adds to feeling stressed and drained. Life can feel quite overwhelming.

So, what can you do to keep up to date and smiling whilst not driving yourself crazy and ensure you adjust to our changing lives?

A few tips to help you keep on top are below and don’t worry – you don’t have to do every one of them! Pick one or two you feel most comfortable achieving:

  • Make sure you dedicate a time in the day (preferably in the evenings) to completely switch off from everything. This includes work, social media, news, anything that occupies your brain when really you just need to be in the present moment and shut down for the day
  • Create a ‘wellbeing note’ to gather your thoughts and tasks and include a healthy diet and exercise, sleep…and minimise alcohol and caffeine! Keep it brief – this isn’t a work task!
  • Express your feelings in a safe place instead of bottling them up and just carrying on (it will only catch up with you!) Avoidance doesn’t make it go away
  • Lower your own expectations and of those you live with (this will be different for everyone). This is a very ‘different’ time for everyone so be kind to yourself and others
  • Accept the things you can’t change so they don’t hold you back, look for the upside, count your blessings, learn to forgive and share your feelings
  • Socialise (virtually where possible) with family & friends (connection is vital for our emotional wellbeing)
  • Engage in activities (books, exercise, music, online education, fresh air, meditation, yoga – keep body, mind & brain active – rewards are important to feel motivated and a sense of accomplishment)
  • Activate that ‘safe place’ (through grounding) with deep breathing, using your senses. Everyone is different so whatever sensory experience works best for you
  • Keep a diary of brief notes about what has gone well during the day and that you are grateful for, if you don’t have time for this try and consciously think about these things when you catch your mind drifting away into worry and draining thoughts
  • Pay more attention to your self-talk. If you find it to be quite negative, try to change it by focusing on the positives about you, your strengths and the things you are blessed with as a result of who you are
  • Remind yourself of the many life obstacles that you have dealt with in the past, this won’t be any different because it is something new, this too will pass it all starts with you and your mindset (the only things you have control of as opposed to what life throws at you).