Life is just a bit tough at the moment for most of us. Being stuck at home might have seemed novel at first, with no school and no work for many people. But the reality is we are cooped up, in each other’s pockets 24/7 with a constant stream of unsettling news on our TVs and phones. And it is hard to try keeping those negative thoughts at bay. So what can we do to stay positive when times are hard?
Staying as positive as possible when the world is going crazy is important now more than ever. It is a challenging task with such a shake up to routines and finances, not to mention worries about health, and not seeing our families. But I think developing some strategies to help keep a positive mindset now is essential.
9 tips to help you stay positive when times are hard
If you are struggling to bring yourself to remain positive in these crazy times, here are some tips to help you:
1 Plan ahead
Follow the scout’s motto and “Be Prepared”. By planning ahead you can help control your stress levels and anxiety in a world where people are going crazy. It will give you extra confidence that you can face any problems that might turn up.
I’ve been thinking more about meals I can rustle up from storecupboard ingredients for times I can’t get to the shops or the shelves are looking particularly empty.
BBC Goodfood website has some handy storecupboard recipes as well as some nutritious storecupboard lunch ideas.
Batch cooking a few freezer meals could be useful too and they have some delicious looking recipes you can make ahead and freeze. You can probably tell I’m quite a fan of their website.
My post about using leftovers when you meal plan has some good tips for meals you can cook extra portions of.
Some useful items to consider keeping a supply of include:
- a basic first aid kit
- any usual prescription medication
- sanitary and hygiene products
- household spares of items such as light bulbs and batteries
- pet food
- entertainment, books, board games and other activities to keep the family occupied
It’s become pretty clear how important it is not to overbuy to the extent that it creates shortages for other people though.
2 Filter information
Avoid bad news whenever you can if you feel it is starting to get you down. Focus on information that can help you rather than all the scary and conflicting statistics. Pay attention to official material that gives advice on how you can overcome or guard against being affected by the worsening of the pandemic.
Limit your time on news websites and social media or try to read more of the uplifting stories highlighting how people are pulling together.
3 Keep up an exercise routine
Exercising is a great way of staying positive, healthy, and improving your overall physical and mental well-being. It can also help keep your mind in check.
By concentrating on improving your health you will also be helping yourself keep positive. You will retain a sense of control and feel like you are moving in the right direction while everything else is at a standstill.
Although gyms are shut and you might not be able to follow usual routine don’t stop exercising. If you can get out once a day for a walk or run, use the time to explore new routes. Create a new routine you can enjoy. Try some dance workouts to lift your spirits or dig the Wii out and play some energetic family games.
Lots of gyms and personal trainers are running online classes, both free and paid for. Check out YouTube or this article of Timeout’s Best online fitness classes. Find something that occupies your mind as well as your body to give yourself a mental break.
4 Think happy thoughts
Thinking happy thoughts is not always easy when the outside world seems so crazy. You may have to try and force your mind to focus on happy things and block the rest out for a bit.
Spend more time concentrating on things you can control instead of worrying about what you can’t. Think about what you can do once the madness is over. Plan an amazing family reunion. Go through photo albums to rekindle those happy memories.
5 Keep control of your finances
Many people’s budgets are likely to be taking quite a hit at the moment. Therefore it is essential to think carefully about your finances to minimise the damage.
Keep accurate records of what you have coming in and going out. Minimise spending on non-essential items. Don’t use your credit card for impulse buying that you will regret later.
Think of the enforced change in circumstances as an opportunity to break some of those bad spending habits and lessen the unnecessary purchases.
6 Do something nice for someone else
Sometimes caring for someone else is all it takes to lift your spirits. Shift your focus to doing something worthwhile for someone else or putting a smile on someone else’s face.
See if any elderly or vulnerable neighbours need help. Or search for local volunteer groups who might be needing helpers.
Meditation is an excellent way to relax your mind and give you a much clearer perspective on things. If you already meditate it is worthwhile continuing. If you have never meditated now would be the perfect time to give it a try.
Women’s Health has a list of 12 best meditation apps you can try.
8 Continue with your work or studies
Just because you are working from home, school or university, don’t panic that everything is on hold. You can still make progress. And you can actually benefit from working or studying at home.
You can work at your own pace with fewer distractions. You don’t have to dress up. And you don’t need to spend time or money on travel. Try to maintain online contact with your colleagues or fellow students as much as possible to prevent yourself feeling too remote.
9 Try to enjoy whatever you do
Make a special effort to enjoy whatever you do during the pandemic. If you are working on something that you have to do but don’t necessarily enjoy, try coming up with fun or alternative ways of doing things. Put some of your favourite music on and make sure to reward yourself when the job is done.
Timeout has a list of the 25 best feelgood films on Netflix as well as some good ideas for books to read right now.
I’m going to be mindful of these ways to stay positive, especially at the moment while life is particularly tough. I hope you find some of these ideas helpful too.
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