With national lockdown restrictions in place across the UK, it’s not always easy to stay positive.
To help us all feel more joyful, we spoke to the team at Mind for their expert-approved tips on staying positive. From heading outside to talking to loved ones over the phone, there are many things you can do to keep your spirits high.
“We’ve all had to make relatively sudden and big changes to our lifestyle, including our work. Adjustments to our routine, unfamiliarity and uncertainty can stir up a range of emotions, and affect our wellbeing,” Rosie Weatherley, Mind’s Information Content Manager, told our sister site Country Living.
“It’s vital that we’re all taking steps to look after our own mental health at the moment, as well as keeping an eye out for loved ones.”
Take a look at their eight ways to stay positive…
1. Write a list of the positive things in your life
Before you begin your day, cultivate an attitude of gratitude by making a list of the positive things happening around you. Whether it’s a good book you finally finished, or the soul-soothing sunshine beaming through your kitchen window, writing down everything positive will help you remember what really matters.
2. Soak up nature
Nature performs some major miracles for us. In fact, according to a pioneering study earlier this year, nature prescriptions could be a cheaper way to improve the UK’s mental health.
Boost your spirits during lockdown by heading outside, opening your window or simply listening to the sweet sound of birdsong online. There’s never been a better time to make the most of the beautiful British countryside.
“If possible, get some nature into your day. Take a walk to a nearby park, river or green space and make the most of any outside space you may have, such as a garden,” Rosie says. “Even something as simple as looking after an indoor pot plant or counting the birds you can see from your window can help.”
3. Take things slowly
As as a society, we put so much pressure on getting things done. Lockdown can be challenging for everyone, so it’s important to put your mental health first. If you need to take some time out remember that it’s OK to take things slowly; read a book, run a bath, head outside for a winter walk.
4. Read a positive news story
The news can be overwhelming at times. Keep an eye on where you’re sourcing your news from, plus how much you’re consuming. Try just reading it once a day (for example in the morning or evening) to keep abreast of what’s going on.
“Feeling well-informed can help us cope with uncertainty. But make sure that you’re turning to reliable sources of news that reflect facts, not rumours and speculation. If you’re finding the news difficult to cope with, think about taking a break or only checking at certain points of the day, for a limited time,” Rosie says.
5. Maintain regular social contact
“For many of us, we’ve gone without face-to-face contact with our loved ones for several months. Social contact is really important for staying well. These measures, while absolutely vital to tackling the pandemic, are particularly challenging for those with mental health problems because of increased disruption/loneliness/lack of support system.”
Need someone to talk to during lockdown? Here are 6 virtual groups to join if you want to make friends.
6. Follow a routine
Your morning and evening routine can affect your emotional wellbeing, energy levels and motivation. Whether you’re working remotely or serving as a key worker, following a daily routine will help you to stay positive and distracted.
“It’s good to plan how you will look after yourself. Try to follow a routine, maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep and incorporate some physical exercise into your day if you can – whether that’s doing an online workout, or even simply dancing around your home, cleaning or gardening,” Rosie adds.
7. Limit social media
Social media can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be the root of many anxiety-related issues. Be careful how often you’re scrolling. Try putting a screen time limit on your phone to stop the temptation of opening up social media apps, if you feel that may help.
Rosie says: “Social media could help you stay in touch with people, but might also make you feel anxious including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries. You might decide to view particular groups or pages but not scroll through timelines or newsfeeds.”
8. Know when to ask for help
Asking for help is a sign of strength and courage, so don’t be afraid to call on the help of experts if you’re finding it all a bit too much.
“Self-care is really important – there are lots of things we can all do to try to stay well – physically and mentally. Taking steps to maintain wellbeing can help you cope with the challenges of staying indoors.”
If you are worried about a mental health problem and need information and support, you can call Mind’s Infoline on 0300 123 3393 (9am- 6pm Monday to Friday).
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