7 top tips on how to stay motivated and positive as we enter lockdown: the sequel.
It feels a bit like Groundhog Day as we start a second lockdown. We were spoiled with the weather throughout the last one, making an enormous difference to our outlook, but with colder, darker days ahead, it will be more important than ever to stay positive and keep motivated. Some of us will be furloughed again, others will continue to work through. Whatever your situation, here are our top tips to see you through to December.
1. Routine is paramount
It’s important to stick as closely as possible to your usual routine, maintaining some kind of structure. Consistency in your daily schedule will make things feel more manageable, indeed studies have revealed that our bodies tend to function more efficiently when we maintain a regular pattern of eating, exercising and sleeping. Furloughed or not, perhaps use the time you would normally commute to take the dog for a walk or do some kind of exercise, this will raise endorphin levels, your ‘feel good’ hormones, giving you an instant buzz. There is so much content available online and something to suit everyone, from Zumba to Hit, Body Combat to Yoga – join our online events programme!
2. Get some fresh air
Exposure to nature is known to have untold benefits to our physical and mental health, lowering blood pressure, reducing muscle tension and restricting the production of stress hormones, so wrap up warm and get outside for some natural medicine.
3. Take regular breaks
It can be very easy to lapse into lengthy sessions sitting at your desk. Regular screen breaks will not only give your eyes a rest, as well as release muscle tension in your back, neck and shoulders, it will ultimately improve productivity and quality of work. Think of how often you step away from your desk in the office, to go and grab a coffee, speak to a colleague, or have a quick team meeting. These screen breaks are just as important at home or in the office.
Similarly, sitting in front of the tv watching Netflix all day isn’t ideal for your mental or physical health, a tv is just a screen of a different kind after all.
4. Stay connected
A recent study found that, shockingly, loneliness can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, so its essential to stay connected to colleagues throughout the day. Why not schedule a team coffee break on Zoom every so often. There is more than enough technology at our fingertips to facilitate this so make use of it as much as you can.
Make time too to connect to family and friends, particularly those who may be isolated or shielding. By doing so, you will be boosting someone else’s wellbeing as well as your own.
5. Designated work area
One of the few plus sides of lockdown part two, is that at least the kids are at school this time, but there are still plenty of distractions. Many people are continuing to use their office whilst making sure they are being safe and adhering to government guidelines.
Perhaps you are furloughed but your flatmates are still working, in which case you may feel guilty about lounging around on the sofa while they maintain a nine to five. Try and find a scenario whereby everyone in the household feels comfortable and at ease in a harmonious environment for all.
6. Plan and prioritise
Some people may benefit from making a list of daily tasks and checking them off as and when they are achieved, this can be as useful when not working as it is when you are.
Furlough is an ideal time to get all those jobs done around the house, perhaps some decorating or decluttering. Setting goals for ourselves and achieving them helps us feel proactive and like we are making the best use of our time.
Don’t beat yourself up though if your to-do-list has outstanding tasks at the end of the day.
7. Try and focus on the positives
The future is uncertain, but then it always has been. Try not to worry about things you have no control over. Negative emotions are as much a natural part of life as positive ones but when the bad start to outweigh the good, that’s when alarm bells ring. Doing something every day which makes you happy is a good place to start. Getting plenty of sleep, regular exercise, fresh air and a healthy diet will all a contribute to a better sense of wellbeing and with that the possibility of a greater sense of positivity.
Be kind to yourself, you’ve already survived one lockdown, you’ve got this.
Image credit: Halfpoint via iStock