negative news
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Jeremy Shulman, Chief Editor, Subscriptions and Product at Interactive Pro and Edology, advises how one can escape the daily negative news cycle due to Coronavirus and isolation, looking at different aspects including work, learning and how to stay informed

We’re all aware by now that the world is in the grip of a global pandemic, unlike any we’ve seen in recent years. But the point of this article is not to add to the genuine panic some of us may have for the health of ourselves and our loved ones. Instead, this article will aim to discuss exactly what you can do to combat the anxiety and pervasive uncertainty of these times, while isolated or quarantined at home.

If you are working from home and have kids (like me), these suggestions are meant to serve as options to generate positivity and creativity or even spark different ideas of your own. Let’s get started.

Get informed

At this point, health professionals are still unsure of the precise methods by which COVID-19 is spread to others, including, for example, how the virus remains transmissible through the air and on certain surfaces. This level of uncertainty about fundamental aspects of the virus is alarming, yet officials have been pretty consistent in their message: avoid groups, stay home and wash your hands.

Other than this, gathering lots of information on the disease and reading certain clickbait-style articles can leave you feeling even more anxious. To combat this, find reputable sources of information and keep up to date with what Coronavirus is, how it spreads and how to protect yourself and your family. The idea here is not to get sucked into the negative news cycle, but instead to wrap your head around the problem and find solutions that work for you.

Keep your space clean

Some will certainly take this to the extreme and bleach everything that isn’t nailed down, but you don’t have to partake in anxious cleaning practices. Instead, take the time to review your living space and methodically work through your home, assessing essential and non-essential items like clothes, books and toys. When shops reopen, you can donate what you no longer use.

If you need some inspiration, use some of your homebound downtimes to read or watch videos on the subject. Marie Kondo’s recent international sensation ‘Tidying Up’ is available for purchase on the internet to read, as well as being a Netflix show.

Become a chef

With less frequent trips to the supermarket and fewer items left on the shelves, now is the time to get creative with what you already have in the pantry. Review recipes, experiment and get the whole family involved in creating new meals that you all enjoy.

For larger families or those with thoughts of days-long leftovers, the so-called ‘dump dish’ is the perfect option. Simply assess your available foodstuffs and consider what might go well together. There are plenty of recipes available online and apps like ‘Epicurious’ or ‘Supercook’ can tell you what to cook with what you already have, hopefully curbing your desire to panic-buy everything left in your local supermarket.

Generate endorphins

Finding a way to infuse a little fun into your family routines, especially when you’re bound at home, can be difficult. Still, it’s important to inject a bit of levity into your new routine. Play more group games, watch interesting programmes, organise group chats and video calls, and find fun ways to pass the time like organising a virtual game night, and make some to just be silly.

Another activity that can help to improve your mood is exercise. With gyms now closed, working out at home can be nearly as productive with a little guidance. ‘PE with Joe’ is a daily live stream YouTube programme that people of all ages and abilities can follow. Airing at 9 am live and reposted on Joe Wick’s channel, the programme offers a 20-minute workout to get your blood flowing, improving your mood and fitness at the same time.

Learn something new

Try to turn away from an increasingly negative news cycle by finding areas of interest to explore. There are plenty of online learning tools and courses to review, so choose what’s best for you.

Specialised short courses are available through sites like Coursera or Masterclass. For university-style eLearning and degree-bearing programmes, check out a course aggregator like Edology. With a number of courses to choose from on a variety of sites, you are sure to find something that piques your interest and serves as a welcome distraction from negativity.

Though the future remains uncertain, hopefully, you can pass the time with some of the suggestions above. We must be diligent to not lose sight of our mental health and the health of our family relationships during this time.

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