How to Stay Positive and Motivated During COVID-19

Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

The truth is, quarantine is difficult, and this pandemic is awful. I don’t intend to minimize the struggles faced by those who now need to figure out how to survive without a steady income, or families perplexed by their newfound duties as homeschool teachers. Our hearts go out to those battling coronavirus, those who have a loved one impacted or lost, and all of the brave responders on the front lines battling this crisis. The myriad of challenges we now face are no joke; but attention to individual wellness is more critical than ever in this time, and we want to equip you with tips and tools to make things just a little less difficult. So if you’re looking for a way to make the most of your current coronavirus situation, read on for an optimist’s take on how we can make the most of COVID-19 circumstances to further our wellness!

Set Goals

Time to get specific. Make a list of what you want to accomplish in quarantine, AND what you want to do afterward! Goals during this time might include weight loss  (lose 10lbs by the time this is over), or lifestyle changes you hope to make (finally quit smoking, kick that late-night sugar habit, etc). Just think how good it would feel to emerge from this situation as a healthier human! Also important is focusing on goals for once quarantine is over, reminding yourself that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel! Though we may not have an idea of the timeline, keeping this future-focused attitude is critical to maintaining mental health. Personally, I made a bucket list of all of the beautiful hikes I want to do this summer. It’s possible that this list may need to be revised if current restrictions extend into the summer months, but that’s okay! The important thing is that I have plans for the future, and that keeps me optimistic and motivated to make sure that my behaviors now (think: eating right and exercising at home) facilitate being able to accomplish those plans when the time comes. 

Delve into Projects

Being at home so much might finally force you to confront that DIY home gym that you’ve started and stopped progress on a million times. Take advantage of the opportunity to work on projects you’ve not had time for or have been procrastinating. Whether it’s committing to installing that pull-up bar in your closet door frame, or reorganizing your kitchen to align with the eating habits you want to adhere to, now is the time to push aside excuses and follow through.

Try Something Totally New

Now is a great time to start practicing meditation, take a wellness class online, or try a new form of home exercise. Perhaps you’ve always been too intimidated to go to the yoga class at your local gym; now is the perfect time to stream a class online, from the privacy and comfort of your living room, and see if it’s a good fit! Even better, working on your practice for weeks in quarantine will mean that when you do eventually show up to that class, you’ll be a pro.

Cultivate Social Connection

In a time where face-to-face gatherings are not possible, many people are actually finding themselves making more of an effort to stay in touch with loved ones via virtual mediums like FaceTime. Research has shown that social support can play a key role in weight loss and weight maintenance, so if you’re looking to make a change, now is a great time to dial into your social network. Many behavioral health programs such as Weight Watchers are currently conducting online meetings, and it may be beneficial to reach out to existing contacts you may have (think: teachers and peers from fitness classes you attend, gym buddies, etc) to connect online to keep motivating each other. 

Acknowledge Adjustments and Reallocate Resources

Current limitations may mean that you’re actually saving on valuable resources such as time, energy expenditure, and maybe even spending money (if you’ve been fortunate enough to maintain employment). I know that I don’t have as many errands to run, and since I’m home more, I’m not as vulnerable to impulse-purchases like Starbucks. Now might be a good time to think about investing those resources elsewhere; use that time to pick up a new hobby, use those latte dollars saved to invest in your own health, and substitute the dinner you would’ve had at Applebees with a much more low-calorie and health-conscious home cooked option. It’s all about perspective shift. Rather than “I’m stuck inside all day and tempted to be lazy,” look at it as “I am now not at the mercy of all my usual temptations – social gatherings centered around food, dates that inevitably include getting a drink together, etc.”

Hopefully this list helps you find ways to focus on the positives of your situation, and utilize strategies to further your health goals! And one more silver lining; you can use this opportunity to make some cash via HealthyWage! Their online, individual challenges provide you with the accountability and financial incentives to accomplish your weight loss goals, completely virtually! Play around with variables such as weight, challenge timeframe, and wager amount on the HealthyWager calculator to see how your return on investment could be as great as 300%!

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Kelly O'Donnel

An avid Colorado outdoors enthusiast, fitness for me means engaging in a lifestyle I enjoy! You can find me on the weekends hiking in the Rocky Mountains with a dog I've borrowed, or traveling to a new place to run an adventure race. A clinical researcher by training, I'm passionate about applying evidence-based principles to wellness.

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