Katherine: Yes, I hear you – even that first lockdown of 2020 soon had a Groundhog Day vibe to it, so it's understandable self-isolation would be just as trying, if not more so. The following suggestions to shift the mood are based on practices that are proven to help support our mental and emotional well-being.
1. Get creative
Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and the great news is – you don’t have to be ‘good’ at art and craft to harness it’s benefits. Find some creative outlet you enjoy – sculpting (play dough!?), drawing, dancing, music, singing or painting a piece of furniture and go for it.
2. Do the stuff that makes you happy
Research shows us that experiencing positive emotions is vital for our resilience. What are the things that fill you with love, joy, gratitude, amusement, inspiration and awe? Do those things! Who are the people who make you happy? Connect with them! Negativity is quite contagious and tends to stick to us. Deflect the negativity with regular moments of joy, filling your day with as many positive emotion experiences as possible.
3. Help others, help yourself
Research has proven that giving has a significant impact on our life satisfaction. Receiving is great too, but doing things for others causes ripple after ripple of feel-good vibes. Lending a hand takes the attention off ourselves and helps us feel useful and even somewhat in control – which is, you guessed it, great for our well-being. And great for the people we’re helping, too!
4. Have a ‘timed wallow’
Now doesn’t that sound fun! Truth is, no good will come from wallowing in sadness for over a minute. Yep, you’re allowed one minute for a bit of moping (put a timer on if you want), but after that – Pause, Reflect, Engage, and go find something else to do that sparks joy, makes you laugh, gets you busy and generally shifts your mindset from ‘wallow’ to ‘oh well – this too shall pass!’
5. Laugh out loud
As counter-intuitive as it might sound, it’s really helpful to find humour in each day. All the heaviness can be countered with a good laugh so my encouragement is to enjoy something funny at least once a day – be it a cat video, your favourite comedian, a good old ‘Rom-Com’ or a bunch of memes shared online by someone else who is probably feeling very similar you…. Laughter truly is good medicine and comic relief can go a long way in a pandemic, especially when we spread it around!
My final encouragement here, if you are struggling to cope and need help, PLEASE reach out. There are trained mental health support workers just a phone call away.
- LifeLine – 0800 543 354
- Coaches1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- Samaritans – 0800 726 666
- Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
You’re not alone. There is support out there, 24/7. We may be physically distant, but we can always connect virtually.