In the uncertain times that surround our current lives, it may be hard to stay positive. Usual routines may have disappeared, and a lack of structure is confusing. It may feel like everything around you is falling apart.
It is understandable. Where there is a purpose, there is hope and with hope comes positivity. Without these two elements, your life may feel bewildering and upsetting. You may struggle with the isolation lockdown brings or in a complete reversal, may fear for your wellbeing if you are a key worker.
These are natural feelings and part of being human. While there isn’t a switch to make things “normal” right away, there are ways to stay positive in the coming weeks. One main thought to keep you in positive spirits is that this will not last forever. The world will heal, and we will return to a place of more certainty where people will recover, loved ones can be reunited, and freedom of movement will return.
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Introduce a Daily Routine
If you are still travelling to work, then you will have a set routine, but if you are at home, either working or furloughed, a structured day will result in a positive mindset.
Set your alarm each morning, it doesn’t need to be mega early, but it does need to be a time between 7-9 am. The last thing you want to be doing is languishing in bed; it serves no purpose other than to make you feel groggy. Your body clock will embrace a structured sleep pattern, going to bed and waking up at set times.
When your mind is alert, it has room for positive and productive thoughts.
Positive #1 You can have a leisurely breakfast whenever you like
Make sure breakfast is wholesome and be mindful when eating and drinking. Take time to savour the flavours. No need to skip breakfast to make the train to work, you now have all the time you want.
Positive #2 You can take as long as you want when bathing
Make showering and getting dressed a priority. I know we are all guilty of staying in our nightwear for longer than is probably socially acceptable and that getting dressed may seem pointless, but by building this structure into your daily routine you will have a purpose.
Enjoy your shower. Embrace the scents of luxury shower gels, shampoos and body lotions. Those quick leaps into the shower before dashing out the door are no more. In their place are leisurely showers or hour-long soaks in the tub, giving you the time to relax and pamper yourself. You know you deserve it.
Positive #3 You can discover new things that you didn’t have time for before
So you’ve had a delicious breakfast, and you are as clean as a whistle, but now what? For those working from home, it’s an easy answer. Brew a cuppa and settle down to zoom meetings, phone calls and keyboard bashing until lunchtime arrives.
But what if your workplace has furloughed you? How can you stay positive in these uncertain times during lockdown?
One word – Productivity. When you are productive, you maintain positivity. Remember when you passed your driving test – how positive did that make you feel. Or when you mastered a language that at first had seemed unimaginable. And not forgetting how you redecorated your bedroom and then stood back, feeling positive about your accomplishment.
Busy hands alleviate anxiety and create a quiet mind. A calm mind relieves stress and creates hope.
Hope allows the mind and body to have meaning. Meaning brings positivity into your daily life.
So let’s find out what there is that you can do from home?
Positivity #4 You can find time for your health and wellbeing
We may all cringe at the thought of leaping about in front of the television, but a healthy body is a healthy mind. It might be an old cliche, but it is the truth. There are so many online fitness programmes that you can streamline to your TV from the easy to the more hardcore but one that is popular on YouTube at the moment is the Joe Wicks Workout suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
How about trying Yoga, a less strenuous form of exercise that can be beneficial for the mind and body by releasing stress from muscles and relaxing your whole core. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable yoga pants and a breathable vest so that you feel totally free during your yoga session. A good virtual website is The Akash Between, give it a go, but beware – you may become addicted to this form of gentle exercise.
Yes, this is a form of exercise but for your mind. I had always wanted to try this out myself but never got around to it until lockdown. Sign up for the Chopra Centre who offer free meditation courses and drift away to the wise words of Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. If like me your mind flits all over the place don’t worry, you can’t be perfect at meditating in just a few days. Instead, use it as a time each morning when you can take 20 minutes to relax. Up until now, this may not have been a privilege you could have allowed yourself.
A daily walk has become one of my favourite parts of each day. Make sure you don’t miss a day because before you know it 3 or 4 days will have past. Lockdown regulations in the UK allow for 1 hour of daily outdoor exercise, so make the most of it. While you are out notice things in your neighbourhood that you may have been too busy to see before. Listen to the birdsong, embrace the turning of the season and watch the different plants appear. A fun plant identifier that I use is called PlantSnap, which makes your walk even more enjoyable.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the day to keep your mind and body hydrated.
Time for Lunch
If you have managed to fill your morning with a few of the suggestions above, then you should feel that you have achieved something with your time and can reward yourself with a leisurely lunch. Be mindful of what you are eating and take the positivity from having time to enjoy it.
If you have been working from home all morning, then this 1-hour break for lunch could be a time when you incorporate one of the exercise suggestions into your day.
If you are a key worker, you will probably want to use this time to have some space to yourself. Consider a short walk to clear your head and maybe a quick meditation session to rebalance you for the remainder of your day.
Positive #5 You can virtually travel around the world
Who knows when travel will return to normal, but you can use positive images, written text, and interactive websites to explore the world in the interim.
Be it fact or fiction you can escape to another place through the pages of a book. Positive feelings can be activated by reading fun, uplifting prose. If you love to travel, check out this list of books that will transport you to distant shores.
Watch Travel Films
Revive your travel bug with some of the best travel movies out there. Watch them and then plan for future travel for when the time is right.
There are so many museums, art galleries, national parks, religious buildings and zoos that have opened their doors via webcams that you can now virtually visit anywhere in the world from the comfort of your armchair. Just type in a place and see what comes up. From the Great Wall of China to the Sistine Chapel, these cams bring the world to you. A great blog that is going viral in the UK is Chester Zoo live webcam. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love seeing animals each day.
Catch up with loved ones
Never has there been a better time to contact people to whom you usually only send a Christmas or birthday card. These people have now become like diamonds. More valuable than any other component in your life. Talking on the phone with Aunt Flo (about anything other than the current situation), networking with work colleagues on Zoom and playing quiz games with family members via Houseparty will leave you glowing inside. And that glow is positivity.
Positive #6 You can learn a new skill
These are just a few examples, but why not try learning a new skill? Master a new language, an original recipe, how to paint/sew – many people are making their face masks with guidance from CDC, myself included – a link can is here Make Your Own Face Covering.
Educate yourself with an online course. Centre of Excellence is an excellent site for E-Learning courses ranging from Psychology to Zoology!
Order everything from your in-house shopping mall, Amazon. Why not check out a candle making kit, a macrame plant hanger kit or maybe you might want to grow an indoor herb garden. If all else fails then who doesn’t love a jigsaw, this one takes you to the Mediterranean without you ever leaving your front room!
Positive #7 You have the time to catch up on chores
When has there ever been a time in your life that you could clear out wardrobes, drawers, the loft or the garage without it infringing on a weekend? How many times have you looked at a broken item and thought you would fix it only to leave it? Now you can gain great positivity from sorting, mending and refreshing all those things that have been on your mind for so long. The result? A positive feeling of a job well done.
Positive #8 No rush hour traffic to navigate
How many times have you left your workplace only to have a commute home that is like entering the darkest abyss? Guess what you don’t have to do that during the lockdown, get up from your desk, make your way to the kitchen to whisk up a healthy dinner (or beans on toast!) and relax on the sofa.
Wind down with music or a favourite book or why not catch up on those box sets that have evaded you up until now. You are the master of your destiny, so pick something positive to watch or listen to but be mindful that you need to eliminate any negativity from entering your mind.
You control what you see and hear and to stay positive in these uncertain times you need to stay away from daily news coverage.
Yes, that’s right, you know what you are going to see and hear. Death, illness, frustration, hardship – need I go on?
Don’t tune in 24/7; nothing is going to change in 24 hours. Limit yourself to a quick burst of news once every two days to keep abreast of new developments. Be mindful of what you are listening to on the radio, television or internet channels. Your mental health will thank you for it.
Time for Bed
Bedtime may be a tricky time for some. When you are alone and the night draws in your unoccupied mind can have you thinking about stuff ranging from where you will get your next box of eggs from to whether to try and cut your hair. What you want is to be able to drift into a restful slumber thinking peaceful thoughts.
First thing you must do is put that phone down! We are all guilty of scrolling through just before lights out even though we all know that blue light from our phone activates our brains and stops us getting a night of good sleep.
Instead, listen to some soothing music, light a lavender candle, which will aid with a relaxing sleep and make sure your room is well ventilated, i.e. not too hot or cold. Enjoy a warm milky drink (not containing caffeine!), as the tryptophan enzymes contained in milk will aid with sleep and finally doze off knowing that you have had a positive and fulfilling day.
For those keyworkers who have been out all day keeping our country functioning, then this is your time to rest.
Thank you for everything you are doing for us. You are appreciated more than you will ever know.
Remember, you are not alone.
Remembering you are not alone means realising that every human being on our planet is going through the same thing. We are united as a global army trying to defeat an invisible attacker. And we will beat it eventually like the predecessors that have infiltrated us before.
By staying positive and looking towards the future, you will see hope on the horizon. While the human population is suffering the natural world is healing and becoming a better place for us to live.
Pollution has decreased rapidly, allowing the world to breathe again. Animals have reclaimed areas that they once roamed, indeed the sight of lions lying in the road in Africa or goats taking over a village in the UK makes you realise that for them there are many positives to global lockdowns.
If you are still struggling, call centres such as MIND can help you through these uncertain times.
Focus on future events
#9 You have time to plan for future events
Sit down and plan where you want to be in life and how to go about it. Think positively about what makes you happy and for every person that will be slightly different.
Have you always wanted to pursue a more varied career? Now is the time to find online courses and update your skillset.
Have you ever wanted to travel? Work out how you could make it possible, rent out your home, check out working as a virtual assistant and more importantly work out a budget.
Have you ever wanted to change your lifestyle? Now is the time, decide if you can include a new eating regime into your life or cut back on alcohol. With no pubs or restaurants to tempt you, this may work.
So there you have it, plenty of time to sit and ponder about what positive directions you may like to take in the future. Of course, if you are happy with your life as it is, that is brilliant, and hopefully, you realise that there are so many positives in just being you.
#10 Be thankful for your health and happiness
In these uncertain times reflect on the positive that you are healthy. Every morning wake up knowing that you are well and that your loved ones are safe: it is worth more than anything you could imagine. Worries about money, relationships and careers fade into insignificance when compared to mortality.
Look back on the times when you have overcome other battles in your life. You survived. Just like Anne Frank and Nelson Mandela, who were denied freedom but maintained strength and determination even in their lowest hours, you can get through this and you will.
So look for the positive in each day but don’t overwhelm yourself. Some days may be better than others. Setting yourself unrealistic goals and then beating yourself up when you haven’t fulfilled them won’t do you any favours.
Some days you may want to lie in bed all day and guess what, if that makes you happy then do it, but for now I hope that this post has inspired you to stay positive each day knowing that when this is over, you will return to enjoying life to the full.
Eat: Sleep: Stay Positive: Repeat
This advice is my own opinion. I am not a mental health practitioner, although I do have learning in counselling and psychology.
If your mental health deteriorates then seek professional help immediately.