As we transition out of the COVID-19 world, you may have recently heard the term “return to normal” from friends, family, or other sources. The return to normal can generate different feelings for different people. For some, it may create happiness, anticipation, and excitedness. However, for our blood cancer community, it can generate feelings of apprehension, anxiety, nervousness, or uncertainty. There are a few strategies and tools that you can use to help yourself as we return to “normal”. We recognize that a full normal may not be possible for those experiencing a blood cancer as you will still need to be careful in maintaining the measures that make you feel safe. These tools are not intended to solve the problem, but they can be used to create a more positive mindset when you are feeling down.
1) Make room for positivity
It can be extra challenging to stay positive when we are surrounded by negative news, feelings, and thoughts about our world. So how do you find the positives? Visit www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ and look at the positive things going on in our world despite COVID-19. This shows you how even when you are presented with negative news, you can actively direct your attention to the positive things that are happening as well.
2) Put your happiness on display!
One way to start forming habits to shift to a more positive mindset is by creating a stockpile of positivity or things that bring you happiness. This may include:
- Finding feel-good words, poems, pictures, memories, songs, quotes, and more. Get creative and write them on colourful paper and put them into a jar, create a vision board, or even a screensaver on your computer or phone.
- Surrounding yourself with uplifting pieces can trigger feel-good chemicals in your brain especially when done on a consistent basis.
3) Train your brain: The power of a growth mindset
Rather than saying “It can’t be done,” try saying “How can I do this?” If you look at the ways in which you can restructure your thoughts to be more optimistic, you can start to change the way in which you think about the world. This takes practice and effort, but instead of thinking negative thoughts, think about the opportunities ahead!
4) Apps you can use to boost your mood
- Headspace: A guided meditation app you can use to help you to manage anxiety, stress and improve sleep.
- I am: A virtual affirmation app which sends notifications to remind you of the positive things you are capable of.
- Happify: Science-based activities and games that can help you to overcome negative thoughts, feelings, and life challenges.
While we can’t necessarily find a solution to the pandemic, as a community we can come together to find ways to cope. To do this, we must first recognize what is within our power to change within ourselves and then we will begin to see the ways in which we can come together to find a new “normal” that we can return to.