There’s no denying that life has well and truly been turned upside down, and anxiety levels have never been higher. It can be tough to stay positive in times like this, but it’s something that can really help you.
Here are my top tips for staying positive and protecting your mental health.
1). Limit your news intake
You don’t have to be glued to the news 24/7 – you’re not irresponsible or ignorant if you choose not to watch it. It’s important that you’re clued up on key updates from the government, but you don’t need to torture yourself looking at the latest stats. Ask a friend or family member to let you know of any important government updates, or check the news just once or twice each day, for just ten minutes.
2). Remember that this will pass
You have never not made it through something. Every tough thing you’ve gone through, you came out the other side. And we will come out of the other side of this. Nothing is permanent, everything is temporary. There will be a time when this is nothing but a memory.
3). Keep in touch with people
Humans need human connection. And that doesn’t have to stop just because we’re in lock-down. Get on Zoom, get on Whatsapp Video, get on FaceTime, get on House Party – whichever tech you’re using, try and speak to someone every day.
4). Accept your emotions
None of us have been through this before. It’s really strange, and completely normal to feel a mix of emotions. Some days you might feel okay. You manage to get some stuff done, the sun’s shining, and you have a good day. Other times, you might feel blue. You cry, you get frustrated, you feel scared. Both of these are okay. Experience the emotions – they’re part of life – and move forward. You will be okay.
5). Go easy on yourself
There is enough for you to deal with right now without putting pressure on yourself. If all you do all day is sit on the sofa and binge Netflix, that’s okay. If you want to set yourself a challenge – whether it be a fitness challenge, writing a screenplay, or developing a new skill – that’s fine, but do go easy on yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat your bestie, or your four-year-old self.
6). Try mindfulness
There are lots of ways to practise mindfulness. You can try meditation with an app (Calm and Headspace are both great), you could bake, read a book, listen to music, do a puzzle, write, do some gardening, or watch the clouds drift past.
7). Focus on the little things
The sun shining, a great coffee, a fun film, a virtual pub quiz, listening to the birds sing, playing Animal Crossing, a walk in the park, a good hair day. Take a couple of minutes at the end of the day and think about what you’ve enjoyed about the day.
8). Seek out positive news
The countries ahead of us are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It looks as though social distancing is working in the UK. Thousands upon thousands of people all over the world are recovering. The good news is out there, you just need to know where to look. Here are a few sites to check out if you need a bit of a positivity boost: Tank’s Good News, Some Good News, Positive News, Good News Network.
9). Look for the helpers
Nothing lifts my spirits more than seeing the country – and the world – come together. It’s things like this that bring out the best in humanity, and it’s happening everywhere. Tom Moore, a 99-year-old veteran recently raised over £17m for NHS Charities Together by walking 100 laps before his 100th birthday, LEGO have started making face masks for health care workers, thousands of doctors and nurses have come out of retirement to join the frontline, cider companies are making hand sanitiser, and British Gas engineers are delivering food parcels to people in need!
10). Make a post-lock-down bucket list
Give yourself something to look forward to for once this is over. It could include anything you fancy – going for breakfast with your friends, getting the whole family together for a pub lunch, going to the cinema, travelling to New York, taking a trip to the beach, having a picnic in the park, going to your favourite book shop, grabbing a coffee at your local cafe. One day, we’ll be able to do this, and it’ll be magical.
Written by Abby Sweeting, Student Engagement Officer, Careers+Placements