There are very real challenges facing our world today. A pandemic, financial concerns, isolation, and health issues can create anxiety and fear. When the news is all doom and gloom, it’s hard for even the most optimistic among us to stay positive, but that is exactly what we must do!

Just at a time when we need each other the most, self isolation rules have been put in place leaving many of us feeling bored, dreadful, or even depressed. While this is a serious situation, there are things you can do to mitigate the damages to your health and well-being, and to emerge stronger and on sound footing. Here are my favorite suggestions:

Focus on your blessings and limit negative thoughts. Be grateful for what you do have. From the biggies – good health, a home in which to seek shelter, food on the table, time spent with loved ones, to the tiniest blessing – an emerging flower, a beautiful bird, a smile. There is always something for which to be grateful! Gratitude changes your brain chemistry and anatomy, which has an impact on your health and well-being. It helps you see things from a new perspective.

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Practice self care. Boost your immune system so it can do its job. Make sleep a priority, exercise, eat well, and care for yourself. This is a great time to practice meditation, yoga, or sound healing. Read a book, watch your favorite movie, do a puzzle, or even dance around the house. Take part in any activity that can help you relax and reduce stress.

Limit your intake. Put down the phone, reduce social media time, stop searching all news outlets. Obviously there are things you need to know about the situation in order to protect yourself and those around you, but you do not need to hear about every unpleasant detail from dawn until bedtime. Information is important, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Find the balance - connect, but disconnect.

Learn a new skill. Do something for yourself. Learn to how to cook, play the piano, speak a foreign language, or complete a home repair project. Take an online course, read a book, watch a ‘how to’ video. The possibilities are endless.

Connect with family and friends. Remember all of the people you say you want to stay in touch with but time slipped away? Well, now is the time to say hello! Call distant family. Contact an old friend. Write a letter. Video chat. My son and his friends celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day with a Zoom happy hour. Be creative and have fun!

Explore new business opportunities. The workplace as we know it is evolving. In order to meet these changes, this is a good time to develop new skills or services, or transform existing ones. Take an online class or work with a coach or consultant.

Don’t go it alone. If you feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, seek help. Reach out to a therapist, coach, spiritual advisor, a friend, or online community (a positive group not one in which everyone complains). Remember you are not alone, help is available.

And above all, be kind. This is the time for us to be united. Love thy neighbor. Reach out to those who are alone, or offer help to someone in need. Don’t hoard important items and stop making negative social media posts or comments.

We all are in this together, and we all can create a stronger, more unified, loving world.

Be well.