10 Ways to Stay Positive During Lockdown!
Updated: Jun 29
It can be difficult to be cooped up indoors and the unknown element of how or when things will end can be overwhelming. There are some simple things that we can all do to make sure that we look after ourselves and remain positive during this time.
1. Stay active.
Make time to go for a walk or a run, and devise ways of getting exercise within your own home. The general consensus is that physical exercise is good for your mind. High intensity exercise releases feel-good hormones or “endorphins”. But did you know that sustained low-intensity exercise causes the release of proteins called growth factors which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. This can actually improve brain function. It could be yoga or pilates online, a dancing session or a brisk walk. Find what works best for you.
2. Stay connected
A great idea is to talk to someone who makes you feel inspired or uplifted on a regular basis, once a day if possible, and if not then perhaps once a week. By now we have probably all downloaded Zoom and made some attempt to socialise online. Houseparty is another app that allows users to do group video chats amongst themselves. You could also play games online, organise or participate in a quiz (there are some on youtube) or join an online book club.
3. Go Offline
Taking a break from technology every day, i.e. from your phone, tablet and tv, is thought to be beneficial because too much screen time can be linked to stress and anxiety. Try instead board games, gardening, baking or paper books. I personally have gone back to a history book that I never finished, and am enjoying absorbing myself in it.
4. Have a new routine at home and plan your day
Make sure that you get up, eat and sleep at regular times just as you would have before lockdown. If you are working from home, this may be easier as work can help you to stick to a routine. Make sure you get ready each day and have a list of goals for the day. This will help to keep you from feeling aimless and bored.
5. Keep a gratitude journal
Think of three good things that happened in the day and note them down. The idea of this exercise is to counteract the negative thoughts that are likely to be going on in your mind with some positive feelings of gratitude. It is important to acknowledge your feelings if you are feeling low, but try to balance the negative thoughts or try to turn them into a positive. It is recommended to do this at the end of the day so that the mind is filled with positive rather than negative thoughts as you go to sleep.
6. Limit time spent looking at the news
Speaking for myself for the first few weeks of lockdown, each time I reached for my phone the first thing I did was to go straight to my news apps and then get engrossed in the headlines. There was no good news at that time, just lots of articles which filled me with fear. If we are already anxious, looking at the news constantly could overwhelm us. It is recommended to limit checking the news, so try to limit it to two times a day.
7. Think about the bigger picture
Remember that this will end at some point, and it is recommended to not only make short term plans but also keep in mind your long term goals. Personally I found that lockdown gave me a chance to think about what I really wanted and whether I would like to make some big changes in my life. The next step would be to work out how you would get there, by breaking it down into a series of steps.
8. Try a new hobby
It could be the perfect time to try something new which you have always wanted to do but not had the time or opportunity for before. Things you could learn at home could be cooking (maybe trying out different recipes that you have never done before), crochet, learning a language, or even trying out a new TV show. There are a vast number of online course providers and also apps to try for languages and beyond.
Even if you have to fake it at first. A smile can make you feel happier. How? Because when you smile, the brain thinks that you are finding something funny and causes it to release certain chemicals including dopamine (which increases our feeling of happiness) and serotonin (which is associated with reduced stress). Therefore smiling can genuinely reduce stress and make you feel happier. Sounds like it is well worth a try.
10. Listen to happy music
Some studies have shown that upbeat music can lift one’s mood. Intentionally trying to boost your mood by listening to positive music has been found to have a possible impact within two weeks. Listening to music while working out can divert your attention from pain and fatigue. Runners are not only able to run faster while listening to music; they also feel more motivated to stick with it and display greater endurance. Music can also be used to help us sleep. Spotify users can check out the Daily wellness playlist. Alternatively, create your own playlist of tracks that bring back happy memories or inspire you.
See more of her writing: www.ayeshahamid.co.uk
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