We are living through one of the most challenging times we have ever faced. Many of us have never experienced something like this before. The pandemic has brought about many government restrictions that cause us to feel like we are under control, and it challenges our well-being and mental health. The first six to eight weeks following our first official lockdown were very uncertain times of adjustment, and following that point in time, I began thinking of ways to thrive during a pandemic as I could see us living this way for a long haul. Here are some ways to improve your mood during difficult times.
Consuming too much news media?
There is no shortage of world and local news media coverage on the topic, most of which is not positive news. Do you find yourself to be always waiting in anticipation for the next news media update? If the answer is yes, you are likely feeling strong emotions of fear, anxiety, anger, confusion, and perhaps a little hopelessness. These are all normal emotions and feelings since there is a lot at risk to us. It may be your health and financial well-being or the lack of in-person connection you experience with your family, friends, and a broader inner circle of acquaintances and work colleagues. Whether it is a pandemic, an economic recession, or any other significant crisis, too much consumption of news media will not help your state of mind. It will cause you to feel disempowered if you are not skilled at managing emotions that creep in resulting from a world crisis. We must be aware of the main issues however in many situations we have no control over the outcome other than behaving responsibly each day. Become aware and make it a daily habit of checking in for news only once or twice a day. Avoid dwelling on the negative and making it the main topic of a long discussion with those closest to you. The conversation only ends up spiraling into a doom and gloom loop cycle and will not serve anybody. As difficult as it is, be aware and focus your conversation on light, fun, and entertaining topics.
Let’s face it, we all have some days that are more difficult than others. There are times when I find it challenging to stay on track and complete all my planned tasks for the day. We do need to be compassionate with ourselves during such times. With that said, becoming aware of what is causing the lack of motivation or procrastination is very important to strengthening our inner game. Take the time to observe the emotion you feel during these moments as they are signals that can serve you. Becoming aware of the emotion gives you the choice of how you want to react and the meaning that you place on it. You can choose to frame the meaning you give it in an empowering or disempowering way. The practice of becoming aware and giving empowering meanings to the emotions you feel will eventually strengthen your mental fitness and put you in control of your daily emotions. Over time, you will experience much greater levels of peace, joy, satisfaction, and achievement.
Awareness is the key to strengthening your inner game, and the best method to increase your levels is through practicing daily meditation. You will find my introductory post to meditation here How to establish the practice of daily meditation. Now I do understand that this is not for everyone as I often hear from people that it is too difficult to sit quietly in stillness while thoughts race through their minds causing them to become restless. It is a common experience in the early stages like anything else. When you exercise for the first few sessions, you will not see results, and you will experience a lot of resistance that may cause you to discontinue. It is just like any other new discipline and habits you begin, and meditation is no different. Get outside to take a long hike down a scenic trail and connect with nature. Listen to the sounds or have some soft melody music playing in your ear. It is another way of calming the mind and inducing those feel-good chemicals in the brain. Daily mediation, and especially during challenging times, will reduce your anxiety, stress, and negative emotions. Plan to do this first thing in the morning, and you will set a positive tone for your day.
Regular exercise is a habit that I cannot emphasize enough. “Motion creates motion” as Tony Robbins often says. A good workout session creates feel-good emotions that are activated with the release of dopamine and endorphins. There are many exercise programs available out on the market that you can look up online. You can reference my previous posts on the topic here Fitness. Most people’s primary goal and desired result from exercise are to lose weight and get physically fit. For me, it is the release of the feel-good chemicals that have got me addicted to daily exercise as it creates an empowering mindset to kick-off each day. Being physically fit is no longer my primary motivator, it is just a super bonus on top of living a healthy lifestyle.
Upgrade your knowledge and skills
Many of us find ourselves in a financially challenging position given the current state of our economies. Businesses are collapsing in a wide range of industries. We are spending more time at home. Why not dedicate the time to learn something new? Re-evaluate what drives you, and consider pivoting towards a new path you are excited and passionate about. There is more information available at our fingertips than ever before. The how-to is always available, just become resourceful and search for it. Immerse yourself in it, create a plan, strategy and take action steps each day.
Some suggestions above are considered cornerstone habits for living a healthy, well-balanced life. I highly recommend that you incorporate some of these activities into your day if you don’t already do so. If you need a hand regarding any of these topics, please contact me directly to book a 1:1 session. firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, stay safe and be well.