On the face of it, there’s not a lot of positivity in the world right now. With England now entering its third week of as many national lockdowns, it’s unsurprisingly very easy to get bogged down in the doom and gloom of it all.
Couple that with the fact that today, Blue Monday, is supposedly the most depressing day, of the most depressing month, of the year.
Needless to say, for many, it’s proving tricky to stay motivated and upbeat.
Despite all of this, there’s plenty we can all do to keep our minds active and get those happy hormones and endorphins buzzing, while we wait for better days to come.
1. Take regular breaks
With a majority of us set to be working from home for the foreseeable, it’s vital we get up and move from our desk (or sofa, or bed) every once in a while. We need to give both our minds and bodies a break, as we would when in the office.
Make yourself a cup of tea, take a step outside for five minutes of fresh air, or do a few simple stretches to relieve any tension in your neck and back.
It’s also super important to take a full lunch break, whether you go for a walk in your local area or simply make yourself a tasty lunch, your brain will thank you for it later. Step away from the desk!
2. Separate work and play
Easier said than done, when you’re working at the kitchen table! But definitely worth doing.
Close your laptop and put your to-do lists away once your working day finishes, as having them in the same room as you makes it harder for your mind to wind down for the evening.
Make sure you’re not working later into the evening just because you are at home too. Be strict with yourself and set aside time to chill out.
3. Read positive news (and avoid doom-scrolling)
With the news and social media at our fingertips 24/7, it’s easy to get drawn into reading one negative story after another, which can be truly overwhelming, without us even realising it.
Avoid constantly scrolling and keep an eye on how much news you are consuming; try checking for updates just once or twice a day, at a set time.
If you feel the need to scroll, use sites like the Good News Network, established to offer “an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media” — with cute animal stories to boot!
4. Make time to look after your body and mind
Perpetually described as the best remedy for, well, most things, exercise is key to beating the January blues, and thankfully it’s one thing we can still do during lockdown!
Get outside in the fresh air for a run, walk or cycle. Or if the cold weather is too much to handle, why not try an online yoga session or HIIT class. The options are vast, but the most important thing is to build any activity you choose into your daily routine, so you are making time to clear your head and focus on you.
For something a bit more zen, why not try out some meditation (Calm and Headspace are great, and both have free trials on currently). Or practise gratitude, which can be as simple as writing down a list of five positive things that have happened that week.
5. Keep in touch
When we’re feeling low, it’s easy to become withdrawn, worried, and begin thinking other people’s problems are bigger than your own. To tackle these feelings, it’s more important than ever we keep in touch with loved ones.
Schedule in a FaceTime catch up, drop them a text, or go old-school and send a written note (it’s nice to get post sometimes when you’re stuck at home all day!).
There are also lots of online groups that you can get involved in where you can meet new people virtually, helping you feel less isolated.
Perhaps most importantly, remember it is OK to be struggling, but know when to ask for help. Find more about who you can contact here.