Confinement: an Opportunity for Stress or Personal Growth?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world find themselves confined to their homes. For active people, confinement can be experienced as a source of stress.

Is it possible to turn a negative situation into positive results?

Many of us would like to improve our physical, mental, social and even spiritual health, but we think we don’t have the time. During the confinement, we have time!

Good nutrition, rest and exercise are possible during confinement. We have time to plan balanced meals and snacks with original recipes. We can maintain a routine of hours of sleep and rest periods. Exercise is always possible with a routine of stretching, sit-ups, squats, etc. either with our program, or a television or Internet program. The exercise could be an hour’s walk if restrictions permit. Scheduling these activities could guarantee a satisfying day.

2. How can we improve our social life during confinement?

With today’s social networks, we have time to send emails and text messages or make phone calls to friends, family and colleagues. This is an opportunity to renew and improve our social contacts by sharing how we deal with the situation. By focusing on the well-being of others, it helps us feel better. Helping each other is a way to be socially active. The physical distance of two metres from other people does not mean a social distancing with our current means of communication. It was during this period that I just opened a Facebook account which, like my Twitter account, allows me to be in social contact with others.

3. How can we improve our mental health by being confined?

The continuous flow of information and our restrictions can generate fear, anger, anxiety and stress. These reactions are normal under pressure. These feelings must be expressed even briefly to be relieved.

Let’s express our negative thoughts and emotions.

If we have negative thoughts and emotions about what is happening, is it possible to take control on them. We can reduce this negative feelings by being able to express our thoughts and feelings through messages and telephone conversations with our friends and family. We could write our thoughts and feelings in a daily journal. When these thoughts and emotions are expressed, they are much easier to manage. We can then decide to let go and follow a healthy daily routine.

Let’s focus on the present moment.

Another way to develop our psychological health is to live the present moment to the fullest. The new trend in positive psychology is to practice mindfulness, which means that our thoughts and feelings are focus on the present rather than worrying about the past and being concern about the future. This is done through meditation, muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises. When we enter the air into our lungs, we can feel the tension. When exhaling, when the air comes out of the lungs, we can feel relief and relaxation. Other people use yoga activities to get a relaxing state.

Let’s do things we enjoy.

For some of us, it could be a matter of completing puzzles, reading or listening to music. Practicing a hobby or carrying out the task we wanted to complete for a long time brings satisfaction. When we are involved in a pleasant activity, it puts us in a zone or a flow where we are completely in the present moment.

Let’s laugh every day.

Developing a sense of humour reduces stress and improves our psychological health. Having the chance to laugh every day by looking for gags, watching comedies and sharing jokes is a form of relaxation.

4. How can we improve our spiritual life?

If we are focused on what is important to us instead of saying that we are experiencing anxiety and stress, we will experience joy and motivation. Happy people have a life with meaning. Some authors talk about spiritual development or a life with meaning. Thus, caring for one’s well-being, the well-being of others and the development of one’s children or grandchildren put a focus in our life. For others, the important thing is to be calm, to help others and to contribute to a greener, more generous community and country where mutual support, optimism and compassion is the norm.

During quarantine or confinement, we may choose to cope with the restrictions as opportunities for physical, social, psychological and spiritual growth. Despite the limits, let’s seize the day and focus on what’s important: loving and helping each other. Happiness is in the hands of people who are resilient and show compassion for others. The moto of the day can become:
It will be okay🌈🌈 !

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Psychologist and Professor Emeritus in Education from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Writing on Personal Growth, Resilience, Retirement, Travel and Happiness

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Dr. Léonard Goguen

Dr. Léonard Goguen

Psychologist and Professor Emeritus in Education from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Writing on Personal Growth, Resilience, Retirement, Travel and Happiness

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