March 30, 2020 Practice Points

The Importance of Finding Happiness and Stability in Unpredictable Times

Tips for maintaining positivity during COVID-19.

By Taylor Anderson

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In the last few weeks, lives have been infiltrated by fear and stress, and it can be difficult to find moments of peace and positivity. However, in a recent article entitled “25+ Ways to Maintain Positivity and Mental Health in Uncertain Times,” author Jennifer Simpson Carr details ways to manage the stresses related to this unprecedented event. Carr’s list is the product of her own experiences and tips compiled from members of the legal community on how to adjust to the new normal in the easiest ways possible.  

These tips fall into three dominant, albeit overlapping, groups. First, there are tips for things that should be done daily to enhance positivity and decrease stress at home. Second, there are suggestions for those adjusting to having their children home all day, every day. Lastly, recommendations for those who are working remotely.

Daily Practices to Decrease Stress

  • Practice gratitude. A gratitude practice can be anything that fits a person’s needs, but a good starter practice is to start each day by listing a handful of things for which you are grateful.
  • Meditate and breathe. A few short breaks to meditate or practice breathing exercises can make a big difference in stress levels throughout the day.
  • Exercise and stretch. If you do not have the luxury of a home gym or even much space to exercise outdoors, there are free at-home workouts and guided stretches online and on many fitness apps.
  • Set a routine and focus. Setting a routine when you have nowhere to go can be difficult, but structure adds stability to life. Thus, implementing a routine is important. Carr emphasizes getting ready as if you were going to the office, which should help those who are struggling to focus and start the day.
  • Stay above the fray and send positivity. As misinformation circulates about COVID-19, it is important to keep in mind that everyone is just trying to adapt to this constantly evolving situation. Therefore, Carr recommends sharing only what is relevant and appropriate and sending positive messages to loved ones.  
  • Be creative. Once work ends for the day, it is important to find time to be creative—whether that means painting, baking, or reading—it is necessary to do things that relax your mind.
  • Rest. It is important for mental and physical health to get restful sleep in the amount of time recommended by health care professionals. 

Suggestions for Those with Children

  • (Virtually) explore. Travel and Leisure’s website offers a fun and educational virtual tour through prestigious museums.
  • Take notes. For those struggling to balance conference calls with anxious children, Carr suggests keeping a notebook handy so that children can communicate their needs without disturbing their parent’s work.

For Those Working from Home

  • Create space. It is important to create a space that fosters productivity. This can mean having pictures from your favorite trip near or setting up in a room with natural light. 
  • Have fun. Carr suggests making team virtual meetings fun. Take five minutes to allow someone to introduce their children, a pet, or show the team a room in their house.
  • Listen. Having music on in the background while you work, rather than the news cycle or the sounds of a busy household, can be a way to increase productivity and positivity during the work day.

Implementing several of these daily practices has been an essential way for me to maintain positivity during this time. In particular, setting a routine has been integral to my productivity and positivity. I designate specific times during the day when I put down my work and Facetime with family members. It adds a bright spot to my day and helps me focus on work because I know that soon I will talk to someone I love! It helps me to be more productive, while allowing me to spread positivity during this uncertain time.

For many, this has and continues to be the scariest, most stressful time of their lives. Rather than dwell in this “despair,” find out what brings you peace and positivity and implement it! This too shall pass—how you choose to pass this time is up to you.

Taylor Anderson is a law clerk at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., in New York, New York.

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