When life takes an unexpected twist such as our current global pandemic, having the tools in your toolbox to cope and stay positive are a priority. The following are some ideas that are tried and tested. It’s worth noting here that what works for one person may not work for another so I would recommend trying a variety of things to support your individual needs until you find a combination that is right for you. These ideas can hopefully get you started.
1. Reflecting upon your self-esteem
The first recommendation I would make to increase positivity is reflecting upon your self-esteem – Are you someone who works too hard because you think it’s expected of you and you are attempting to be perfect at everything all the time? Does this or similar behaviour stem for some unconscious issue deep inside? We all have our own little issues in worrying we’re not good enough or that we don’t matter. Working on this is so important as if you have higher self-esteem you are more likely to consider yourself worthy of taking time out to work on yourself. A higher self-esteem improves every aspect of your life so it’s worth the investment. Similarly as described previously, reflecting on your resilience levels and how to increase them, may be beneficial.
2. Have Gratitude
However tough things get having gratitude is so helpful to improving positivity. Thinking about ten things every morning on the way to work that I am thankful for, really helps lift my positivity and also remember that it could always be worse!
3. Mindfulness Meditation
Is it time to embark on some mindfulness meditation? I would have nominated myself last year with the ‘person least likely to meditate’ award but things have changed. I am an over analyser.
I think of every possible outcome to a situation before making a decision and when something has happened, I ruminate to the point of wearing a hole in my brain cells. However now, I have set aside 15 – 20 minutes a day to just ‘be’. I have trained myself to sit in silence with an empty mind. It took a while as when you start to do this, you just think about everything you haven’t done that day (often described as your monkey mind!). Now I can sit with an empty head with zero thoughts and it is very cathartic. I should have done it years ago. If you don’t fancy the silence, there are thousands of guided meditations on YouTube.
4. Increasing Collaboration
Increasing Collaboration has a positive effect on mood. It has been a dull year and I am not myself unless I talk to friends although I have also increasingly found myself not wanting to talk, especially after long periods of not seeing people – it’s too easy to not restart (but you need to). This new year I have forced myself to take part in a couple of online courses as well as catching up with friends each week. Furthermore the collaboration that online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have brought, have led me to meet and converse with many different people; connections which may result in meet ups after lockdown and have kept me positive because I have regular groups meet ups to look forward to each week.
5. Plan Ahead
With 3 months’ worth of empty diary in front of you, it is easy to fall into a pit of lethargy. Recently I heard this phenomenon described as a ‘Blursday’. Every day is Blursday with no plans! Combat this by filling your diary. Plan ahead walks in different places and socially distant exercise with a friend – Buy a waterproof as there’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing choices! Plan one nice thing a day to look forward to and get it written down so it actually happens.
Furthermore, adding to the above point, getting enough exercise. Those endorphins coupled with a balanced diet really help to combat negativity and provide you with the energy you need to be motivated. I’ve found that with later starts and working from home, I need to rebalance my input and output so that I don’t gain any weight which has been a challenge! I have needed to consider my diet recently. The tried and tested method of smaller portions, drinking enough water and eating more slowly coupled with YouTube Zumba, have alleviated this issue. Also reflect on your sleep patterns. Are you getting too much or too little?
7. Reach out for support
It’s also a great time to address any addictions or seek counselling if needed – there are so many online support groups available and you don’t even need to leave the house. It’s becoming increasingly easier to timetable online support as there is no travel time involved.
8. Be kind!
If too much information about current affairs brings down your positivity, limit your exposure to news and negative social media. Also remember that your friend Claire who looks like she is living her best life on Facebook which makes you hate her a tiny bit (sorry Claire!), is actually crumbling around the edges. She is just not letting the world see that area of her life. Which brings me on to the mantra, ‘always be a little kinder than necessary as you don’t know what burdens others’ carry’. Kindness also breeds kindness which adds to the world’s collective positive energy.
I hope that you have found these points useful and can take at least one thing away from this article that you can either research further, try this week or suggest to someone you know is struggling. Thanks for reading and I wish you a positive day ahead.