Guiding Conversations to Positive Topics

It’s hard to get too excited about Friday while working from home or following the guidelines of physical isolation during the pandemic, but before jumping on a virtual happy hour call, it may be helpful to have some topics ready to steer the conversation away from the only thing anyone is talking about.   Of course, we can’t ignore the obvious strains and stresses of the current situation but having other things to discuss can lighten tensions or frustrations and give everyone a much-needed break.

Many people find that if they can share a few things they are grateful for, the mood of a discussion can shift towards something more positive.  It’s important to stay informed but spending too much time reading or listening to yet another piece of negative news can be harmful to one’s overall well-being.  Everyone has a different tolerance to stress, anxiety and worry and it’s important to engage in activities that provide a break from COVID-19 over-talking. 

Try asking friends or family members about what they have been doing during their isolation.  Sharing new routines, exercise ideas, good reads or even their favorite Netflix series can be a welcome distraction.   Some may be able to show off their new project; a painting, their sewing or knitting or suggest a new recipe that worked out well. 

Having an optimistic outlook can be as contagious as negativity and people can help one another through this difficult time by sharing some of their positive experiences in quarantine.  But if going online to meet virtually with friends feels like a burden or a drain, it’s ok to politely decline an invitation.  Practicing self-care also includes recognizing what serves you best and while joining a group of friends online may seem like fun to some, others are happier having a phone conversation with just one close chum. 

Using this time at home to try something new can be surprisingly fulfilling as well as a good distraction from virus numbers and politics.  If ever there was a time to stretch yourself a bit and learn what you might be capable of doing, this is that time.  Learn more about ways to take care of yourself, cope with stress and help others by following this link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Or visit Psychology Today for more tips to manage COVID-19 stress here.