positivity during covid

Beyond COVID: Harnessing the Power of Anticipation

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After months of record-breaking infection rates in many parts of the world, the distribution of a vaccine has initiated a much-needed wave of positivity in the midst of COVID. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Living under the threat of catching and spreading a deadly disease, combined with the ongoing disruptions due to lockdown, have taken an emotional toll on managers and employees alike. It’s no wonder that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has so many anticipating a return-to-normal.

Anticipating what one’s life will look like post-COVID can be a powerful exercise and a potential mood-booster. Scientists have shared that when people anticipate something positive, the brain releases dopamine, often referred to as the feel-good molecule. On the flip side, the inability to anticipate something positive due to uncertainty, which has been a constant during COVID, can lead to anxiety.

Anticipating something positive not only helps individuals feel good, but anticipation can also be a great motivator. Sports psychologists often have athletes visualize victory because of its ability to trigger determination.

Additionally, there is evidence that anticipation can help people push through a stressful event and recover faster from a negative experience. In fact, teaching employees how to harness anticipation could play an important role in helping them face the next few weeks, which have been predicted by some experts to be the darkest days of the pandemic due to spikes related to holiday travel and increased time spent indoors.

Below are several questions developed to inspire post-COVID anticipation. These questions may be appropriate to ask employees during a one-on-one or team meeting.

  • What do you look forward to doing after COVID? If you had to rank these activities, which ones would be included in the top three?
  • Who would you like to visit?
  • Are there any hobbies that you want to start or return to after COVID?
  • Is there anywhere you want to travel? If so, how will you get there?
  • Are there any positive lessons that you have learned during COVID that you want to carry over into post-COVID life?
  • Is there anything you can do now to start planning for the things you look forward to post-COVID?

While the vaccine distribution feels like the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel, the present reality is that COVID-19 continues to be a threat. This is not the time to relax one’s vigilance. In fact, at this stage of the game, guarding against caution fatigue is as important as guarding against COVID-19. But, as long as people continue to follow safety precautions, like wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing, then daydreaming about a future without COVID-19 can be beneficial in supporting wellbeing in the weeks to come.

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family, and personal needs to become healthier, happier, and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness, and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals, and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit www.workplaceoptions.com.