Coronavirus. COVID-19. The pandemic. For the last year, it’s all anyone has been able to talk about. In a way, it’s addictive. It’s the one thing you know you can bring up when the conversation has died down, just before the awkward silence creeps in. You know as soon as you mention it, the socially awkward crisis is averted. But after a while, there’s only so much COVID talk one can take before it becomes another overused, triggering topic. So even when you feel those words creeping up on your tongue, remind yourself that there is a whole world still happening out there. Thus, here are some tips to give you the other kind of distance in this pandemic that you actually need.
1. Stop Watching the News
When you’re already Corona-ed out for the day, don’t bother turning on the TV. The last thing you need after a full day of constant hand-washing and mask-wearing is to turn on the news and listen to people dishing out the same depressing information as the day before. This is not to say that what they’re saying isn’t important—because it is. But watching the news once a week is plenty to stay updated and aware. The other six days will only make you more stressed and upset than you really need to be.
Typically speaking, watching the news can oftentimes be depressing. That’s because, for whatever reason, the media loves to harp on what’s wrong with the world as opposed to what has been going well. Regardless of where you consume your media, there is always a tendency to exaggerate the truth, creating a warped representation of reality. In the minds of the news generators, they believe that they are simply making a story more exciting. But for the viewers, they’re flooded with large amounts of overwhelming information that, 99 percent of the time, needs to be watered down.
If it’s a matter of feeling like you’re “missing out” by not watching the news for a night, think again. Odds are you’ll find yourself much happier and relaxed if that screen stays off.
2. Stop Talking About It
For most people, it has become a habit to talk about COVID-19, whether it be out of stress, boredom, confusion—the list goes on. A study from Pew Research Center found that 44 percent of Americans brought up the pandemic most or almost all of the time. The truth is that even months later, the concerns are as big as ever for contracting the virus. Many can’t get the virus off their minds because it’s always right in front of them, acting like the annoying little brother you never thought you’d hate to have.
Though COVID is cause for major concern, especially when considering the health of friends and family members, it should not be a topic that comes up as frequently as the weather. In other words, if you’re talking about it just to talk about it, it’s time to find a new topic piece.
Most people are already exhausted enough from the constant COVID chatter, so bringing it up won’t do them or yourself any favors. It’s an extremely tough topic, and you don’t want to have to guess their comfort level as you discuss it. Even though COVID has become a second nature conversation piece, dig deeper and avoid putting your friends into panic mode. Ask about what they’ve been doing in their free time, or how their families are. Ask if they’ve watched any good movies recently, or found any new songs. Not only will it be a relief for them to talk about something pleasant, but you’ll feel just as refreshed when thinking about the positives in your own life.
3. Give Yourself New Distractions
Now more than ever is the perfect time to do something YOU want to do. With all this extra free time, why not take the opportunity to bring some added happiness? Substitute the energy used for news-watching and COVID talk and put it toward something you want to focus on. Take this time to focus on your family and build your relationships. Perhaps you’ve been looking to ask that guy out from Starbucks. Maybe you want to start training for a marathon! Whatever it is, allow yourself to do something for yourself. And once you start, you won’t be able to stop. When you bring yourself to the attention of all the possibilities that lay at your feet, you’ll find that there’s no need to let this virus be a second thought. It’s time to take this period of your life and use it toward self-growth and awareness. Who knows how much you’ll surprise yourself.
Cleansing Yourself from COVID
The pandemic may be on every news station and billboard, but that does not mean it has to take over your life. Though it can get difficult to stay focused in a time of so much uncertainty, putting yourself and your mental health first is all you need to get through it. Therefore, watch TV because it’s something that’ll ease your mind, not frighten it. Drop the Corona convo when you can and opt for something later. And above all, allow this pandemic to fuel your own goals. When distancing yourself from this pandemic, six feet should be the bare minimum.