It has been the strangest year probably in most of our lifetimes so far. Very few people on the planet have experienced anything like the pandemic. Unfortunately COVID-19 has had devastating impact on our lives: socially, economically, emotionally and physically. Whilst we still have a long way to go before the world returns to anywhere near what is was before, here are our 5 top tips on how to stay positive during lockdown. Please share with anyone who you think might benefit with a read.
1. Stop talking about how you hate being in a lockdown
Don’t worry. You are not alone! I think just about everyone in the country is fed up with being in a lockdown. We are all ready for COVID-19 to disappear and never be welcome again. But, in reality that is just not going to happen. Whilst you might be fed up with being confined to the space of your home, work office, supermarket and local park, the more you talk about how much you can’t stand it, the more it will continue to control your life. There is a great statement I have read in a number of books which reads “control the controllables and forget about the uncontrollables”, in other words, focus on the elements of your life that you can change and impact and forget about everything else.
It is unlikely that you are the individual who is going to be coming up with an anti-virus, therefore stop focusing on COVID and start focusing more on what you DO want in your life. Instead of spending your energy telling people how much you are fed up, try to spend your time talking to loved ones about what is positive in your life. You could start that by telling them how thankful you are to have them. Morale of the story….you are in the same boat as everyone else, you can let COVID and the lockdown dictate every aspect of your life, or, you can accept the situation, make more time for the activities you enjoy (sorry if that only consists of boozing at clubs on the weekend) and continue to make the most of each day you are given.
2. Exercise Daily
Whilst clearly not enough of the country do it (with over 60% of the adult UK population being overweight or obese), we all know we should be doing it. I don’t believe it is necessary for me to detail the thousands of peer-reviewed articles that illustrate the many benefits that exercise has on our health (mental, physical and spiritual). However, if you ever needed a reminder, then COVID has definitely presented itself as it. Exercising daily is critical for maintaining a positive outlook on life. I am not saying you must spend hours jumping around in your living room imitating someone on your TV screen, but at the very least try to get outdoors for a 30minute walk everyday. Here are just a few of the key benefits exercise can have on our overall health:
Boosts serotonin (serotonin is chemical related to feeling proud)
Improves confidence (in all aspects of our lives)
Breaks up the day (meaning your work will have a greater focus in the afternoons)
Increases motivation (if you are exercising you are less likely to eat rubbish and sit on your butt all day)
3. Remind yourself what you have to be grateful for
You may still be in a job. You may have lost a job. Your business might be thriving, or it may have gone bust. There are millions of people who will feel the economic impact of COVID, and that is in the UK alone. Of course, it is devastating to lose your job, or even worse, see the business you put your blood, sweat and tears into crumble before you. Of course, being out of work is going to put you in a negative mindset, possibly wondering where you are going to get money to support your family.
BUT, and this is a big but, you are still here. You are still breathing oxygen. You still have the opportunity to rise up, the opportunity to speak to your loved ones, the opportunity to see the sun rise.
In times like this it is more important than ever to take a step back and look at life through a different lens. Look at the bigger picture. You are not living in a war zone, most likely you are not waking up everyday without shelter over your head or wondering where your next meal will come from. When negative thoughts begin to creep into your brain, be aware. You aren’t going to stop negativity from entering your mind, it happens to all of us. But what you can do is be aware and snap out of it, you can remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for. Over the last week I have been catching up with good friends and reminiscing on fond memories, this has been a fantastic way to bring joy into my life. Remember what makes you smile and carve time out every day for those things.
4. Find your purpose
You may already be dead clear. But that is unlikely. Whilst a select few are clear on their calling and direct their attention towards it everyday, millions of us live day to day without ever realising what it is that really lights the fire in the belly. It is a true shame to see a life wasted, never knowing what its true purpose was, never knowing what was possible if only a passion was uncovered.
For some of us it can be clear early on in our life, for many it may not strike us until we are old and grey (albeit better than never at all). Knowing what you are passionate about plays a fundamental part in day to day life and is critical for getting you out of bed in the morning. Lockdown has given us all more time in our daily lives, whether that is from not having to commute into work anymore, or not being able to go out to the bars, pubs and clubs where you may have lived on a weekend. Either way, it is likely you are going to find new time available. My suggestion…..self-reflect. Take some time to ask yourself whether you are living life on your terms, whether you are using your talent and living each day with a smile.
If you find that you are just living to live and there is nothing that inspires you right now then take time to work out what different activities you might want to try. You might want to learn an instrument, read more, learn how to cook, develop a new skill. Correct, lockdown might prevent us from doing many of the activities we love, but if there is a will there is a way. For example, if your passion is playing football and you can’t do that, there is no reason you can’t practice certain skills so you are a better player when competition is allowed.
Never underestimate the power of having direction if your life.
5. Surround yourself by do-ers
Finally, in times like these it is important to surround yourself by do-ers. Do-ers are the people who aren’t ready to take a back seat and let COVID dictate how their life rolls out. Do-ers are problems solvers. Do-ers are those with a purpose, those who are positive in nature. Of course, they could sit and whinge about how COVID has caused a decrease in their business sales, or has meant they can’t go to play the sport they love on the weekend, but instead they find new ways to bring revenue into their business and find a new sport they can take up for the time-being.
If there is one concept that has stuck with me in life, one concept that has clear evidence to support it every day, it is the importance of your environment. If your day is spent around lazy, unmotivated people who cannot be bothered to do work or exercise or just about anything else, that will eventually rub off on you. The majority of us sit in the middle when it comes to the choices we make. We can be easily swayed one way or another depending on who we are with. When spending time with Cathy we end up going along with her suggestion of a run at lunchtime, but when Laura is in the office we end up popping outside for a cigarette.
Know the identity of the individual you want to be.
Surround yourself with people who will support that.