Staying Positive During Difficult Times

Friendly reminder that “doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of mental breakdown.

As much as we all knew this lockdown was coming, I think many of us thought it might be a little later in the month, if not next month. I would be lying if I didn’t say I shed a tear or two upon hearing the announcement – anyone who knows me, knows I very rarely cry! I’d been dreading the thought of this, still haunted by the ghost of 2020 lockdown past! After a momentary wobble, I put on my big girl pants and began resetting my mind.

Right now, it is OK to feel angry, cry, and feel down about it all – as humans, we cannot be happy 100% of the time – it is important that we acknowledge that it is OK to feel the way we are feeling. That being said, we have two choices right now; approach this situation with positivity and optimism, or allow ourselves to become consumed by it all. Admittedly, being positive during such a time is often easier said than done, so here are some of my top tips and favourite quotes to help.

Top Tips For Keeping A Positive Mind

  1. Acknowledge that it is OK to feel the way you are feeling. Once you have got these initial feelings out of your system, its time to move forward – although there is an initial period of grief and acceptance, try not to dwell over this for too long, to avoid becoming consumed by it all.
  2. Limit your time on social media. In times when our usual activities have been stripped away, it is easy to find yourself permanently attached to your phone. Use this time for something else; self-care, learning something new, taking up a new hobby, or reigniting an old one.
  3. Make time for self-care. It is not selfish to take time for yourself – it is needed. Whether this is a hot bath, meditation, exercise, or a hobby; find what works for you, and make sure you try to do it daily.
  4. Keep up with your sleep routine. It is easier to tackle almost all problems when you are well rested. Set a regular bedtime routine and try to stick to it. Bank extra hours of sleep if you can!
  5. Eat well. It is easy to fall into bad eating habits during times like this; whether it is skipping meals, or eating cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keep to a regular eating schedule, ensuring you still get your daily intake of fruit and veg.
  6. List your gratitudes. I end my day with this, but this is also a great way to start the day. I picked up a Happy Journal from WH Smith some time ago, which contains four different mindful activities; gratitudes of the day, goal setting and planning, a reflection of my day, and a reflection of my week. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as that, you can simply list five things that you are grateful for.
  7. Spend time outdoors. Our British weather is somewhat unpredictable, but where possible, try to get outside. Take a walk, or sit in the garden; enjoy the sound of the birds, and the fresh winter air on your skin.
  8. Create a positivity board. I personally do mine on Pinterest, but this could also be a physical board in your home. Fill it with quotes, affirmations, pictures – anything that makes you smile.
  9. Be proactive. It sucks big time that this has happened to us all, but how we react will determine our experience. Don’t sit back – make changes, try new things, move forward. If something doesn’t work, change it up again.
  10. Ask for help. I know it is cliche to say, but we really are all in this together. If you need help, or a shoulder to cry on, ask for it. If you’re struggling with home schooling, ask the school for more support- they will be willing to give it. If you’re feeling down, phone someone. Don’t try to do this alone.
  11. Don’t compare yourself. Social media is a carefully edited view of someone’s life. I’ll say that again – social media is not real life! Everyone’s situations differ; you are doing your best, that is all that matters.
  12. Get dressed. It is tempting to stay in pyjamas all day (I have been guilty of this myself), but it is easier to be proactive when you’re dressed for it.
  13. Take a shower at the start of the day. This is a great way to instantly lift your mood. Put the music on high, and start the day as you mean to go on!
  14. Keep faith. I usually start my mornings reading my devotionals. I find this gives me the encouragement and strength to tackle the day. If you’re a praying person, take time to give thanks and ask for strength.
  15. Pause before complaining. This is something I try to do, but occasionally my mouth runs away from me! Instead of complaining, focus on how you can change it. Or take a moment to refocus on what you’re grateful for.

Words Of Encouragement

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Start every day with a grateful heart.” – Psalm 107:1

“It is important to make someone happy, and it is important to start with yourself.” – Unknown

“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing your best.” – Unknown

“There is no failure, you either win or learn.” – spin on Nelson Mandela’s words

“Some days, you just have to create your own sunshine.” – Unknown

“You’re a fighter. Look at everything you’ve overcome. Don’t give up now.” – Olivia Benson

“Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase.” – Unknown

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon, they shine when it’s their time.” – Unknown

“The same light that you see in others is shining within you, too.” – Unknown

It is safe to say, this roller coaster isn’t quite over yet. Be kind to yourself. Remember, you are not perfect, nor are you expected to be. There will be good days, and there will be bad days; asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Take each day as it comes – small baby steps.

You are loved. You matter. You are appreciated.


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Child Abuse Helpline 0800 1111

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