With dark mornings and dark evenings, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking dim. The rapid increase in vaccinations should be cause for celebration, but it often seems overshadowed by the loss of employment, loss of loved ones, and a general loss of morale. Now that the brief highs of Christmas are something of a distant memory, here are six ways to keep you inspired and motivated whilst coping with so many mixed emotions.
According to Ofcom, the average time adults in the UK spend looking at screens each day is now 6 hours and 25 minutes. Many of us are online for work during the day, and even ‘winding down’ in the evening still tends to involve watching TV or aimlessly scrolling on social media. Now more than ever, it’s essential to find a hobby that doesn’t revolve around a screen. Narrow down what brings you joy and stimulates those good endorphins. Maybe create your own cookbook consisting of your favourite healthy meals, or a scrapbook you’ve been putting off for years.
Visual reminders of positive moments in life prior to Coronavirus can help you reflect and be thankful. Perfect those baking skills, learn calligraphy or create and send bespoke cards to cheer up friends and relatives. Perhaps you could even make a pandemic time capsule with letters to your future self! There’s no doubt the diary is looking emptier than last March, so fill in those pages and set daily short-term goals to help with productivity and purpose. Ticking off daily tasks, means accomplishment and releases dopamine, a chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain.
Whilst in lockdown, many of us are guilty of rotating the same few outfits or just living in our favourite loungewear. Although comfortable, try wearing clothes that make you feel empowered, motivated and ready to start the day. A change of outfit can encourage a change of mindset. Whilst dressing presentably increases confidence and self-esteem, it also differentiates work from leisure and creates a more focused, productive work environment. Try to achieve short bursts of activity every day. According to the NHS, at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity is enough to keep you feeling fit and healthy. 10-minute yoga routines (plenty of beginner’s videos are available on YouTube) and skipping are great ways to improve balance and coordination, and gently introduce some activity into your routine.
Heading outside for a brisk walk or bike ride are also easy ways to clear your mind and leave you feeling energised. Dopamine is released during and after exercise, boosting physical and mental well-being. Play your favourite music! Music can energise the body, induce relaxation, enhance concentration, and even help manage pain. Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube are convenient ways to play your favourite songs and lockdown is the perfect opportunity to create and organise playlists. As we prepare for another Summer with no festivals, music events continue to move online, with a range of livestream concerts now available virtually. Finding joy in the little things is essential for us to feel fulfilled and grounded. Appreciate your surroundings on a cold morning walk, or lose yourself in a good book before you sleep. Keep a gratitude diary, noting down the things you’re grateful for every day. Wake up early one morning and take time to stretch and be present, or step outside and watch the sunrise. Take in the silence and peace. There is always something to feel happy about. Whilst this pandemic continues to challenge our daily lives, it is important to remember this won’t last forever.