It’s a challenge to stay cheerful with dark nights approaching, storms outside and Christmas possibly cancelled. Here are some tips to help.
- Accept that life is a challenge. Understanding and accepting that you are less happy than usual will make you feel better, improve your mental health resilience and you will be more able to do something about it.
- Value what you have and where you are. Friends and family, simple pleasures, compared with most people in the world most of us are wealthy and free.
- Keep talking & listening. Try to spend time with those you love and those who make you laugh. Zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp are great but pick up the phone for a proper chat with no need to worry about what you’re wearing.
- Go for the Great Outdoors. Scandinavians and dog walkers venture out whatever the weather, you can too. Spending time outside surrounded by nature is good for us; proven.
- Keep moving. Exercise is a guaranteed mood-lifter. Find something that works for you. An almost daily walk round the block or try zoom calls standing up.
- Focus on the small stuff. We still have control over many things in our life and can take pleasure from small things, for example baking, gardening, your music collection or a new hobby.
- Have a purpose. Get up, get dressed and keep to a routine. If you want to take up something new make it easy for yourself, tell friends and family so it encourages commitment and try to do things together, like jogging or exercise routines.
- Help others. Whether that’s ringing a friend who you know is down, volunteering your time or giving financial help, making yourself useful will make you feel better too.
- Ask! Loneliness is damaging especially if you’re struggling. Family friends or professional colleagues will want to do what they come for you. Don’t be afraid to ask, let them help, this will help you both.
- Remember everyone is different. We are all experiencing challenging times. Fear and uncertainty affect us all differently and our experience of lockdown varies too. Societies work through heterogeneity; our differences allow it to work properly. Age, circumstances, attitude to risk and anxiety levels all influence how we behave. Let’s be less quick to judge and condemn those who behave differently. More tolerance and community spirit will help us all get through this together.
Inspired by the book ‘Happy Ever After: A Radical New Approach to Living Well’ written by Professor Paul Dolan, Head of Behavioural Science at the LSE.