This year, 2020, has brought more stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 than we have already been experiencing. With the looming broadcast of warnings that a surge in COVID-19 cases will make it a “very dark winter, everybody is feeling this way. Combine the stress of the Covid-19 crisis with the annual holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder during winter, and you have a dangerous combination for mental health. Happiness experts, and psychologists research offers small tips to boost mood, and feel happier and less anxious. Here’s what they said:
1. Try a two-minute morning practice.
This technique as a way to prime the brain for positivity right after waking up and feel happier the rest of the day. Start your morning by saying:“I will let go of…” — and list things that are causing worry and regret. “I am grateful for…” — and think of people of events that have filled you with gratitude. Then say to yourself, "I will focus on right now…” — and carve out only one task from your endless “should do” list to make it a “will do.” This will bring a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and eliminate the draining, overwhelming, anxiety-inducing thought process of the "should do" list. Remember, we are all human and to be kind to yourself.
2. Do a yoga class.
To be totally honest, I never think it's going to work when I'm in a really bad place, but I always feel a lot happier and more centered afterward. With stay at home orders, there's lots of free classes you can try on YouTube. Be safe, and take it easy, and keep it simple if you are practicing at home.
3. Write a to-do list for the day or week.
It helps bring a sense of accomplishment to cross off each item on the list when complete. Remember to keep the list in "small bites" that are achievable and lead up to a larger task to accomplish. This gives you more realistic goals.
4. Go outside.
Spending time in nature is good for psychological and physical well-being. It increases happiness, reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. Raking a small area of the yard for 15 minutes can do wonders, remember everything does not have to be a super task that takes hours.
Try simply doing 5 or ten jumping jacks, or personal rebounder, a small trampoline. Jumping up and down feel-good endorphins going, plus it benefits the lymphatic system. Of course, if you don’t have a trampoline, try jumping on the bed, I won’t tell your mom!
6. Put things in perspective.
Remember you are human, and do not control the entire world's ongoing. Set your own boundaries of what you can control, like clearing the clutter from a room, or managing your schedule so it brings a sense of stability in your own personal life. And of course, turn off the news and social media some, take that time and be present in the moment.
7. Spend a couple of minutes every hour to reset.
This might include taking some slow deep breaths, listening to a favorite song, reading an inspirational quote, removing yourself from wherever you are to get a change of environment. You are basically preventing yourself from ever feeling really bad by catching slips of a negative mood early. Whenever you sense yourself going in the downward direction, say to yourself, "I'm not going there, my time is to valuable to waste on negativity. I've got better things to do!" , or "Not today Satan!".
8. Count your blessings.
“Jot down all that you do have going well in life — from your health to the people in your life to simple things like the smell of your morning coffee — this list can provide a huge boost to your overall well-being.” Put up a few signs around your home to remind you of these things. Artwork can be therapeutic.
9. Start the day with a run or walk.
Fresh air, feeling good and starting the work day with a rush of energy, a sense of accomplishment and positive vibes. It helps for at least half the day!
10. Give, any way you can.
During this time of year — and in the midst of a global pandemic — giving is especially important, whether that's giving blood at the Red Cross, donating food or money to a food bank, supporting small businesses in your community, or doing a random act of kindness for a friend, neighbor or stranger.
11. Go for a belly laugh.
Watching a comedian or even a comedic sketch on YouTube can lift my mood — no need to spend hours binge watching a Netflix sitcom. Even just a few minutes can reduce stress and give a positive boost of energy. Laughter is powerful ‘medicine.’
12. Stop trying to fight the bad mood.
Give yourself permission and grace to feel bad for a defined amount of time. This is not a pity party, but rather an honest acknowledgement that you are stressed, you do feel down, you are not as happy as you would like. Often by not fighting the mood, we find that the bad mood is very temporary. acknowledge your right to feel anger, or in a bad or down mood. We are human and all have these feelings from time to time. One of my favorite times to do this is on a walk, when I think of something that really gets me, I jog or run a bit until my feeling subsides, plus at the end of my exercise time, I embrace that my time is valuable and the endorphins start putting things in a better perspective.
Focus on the positive.
Remind yourself of what has not been cancelled, lost, or damaged and focus on what you do have control over, let go of the rest . . . Spend your time with self-care, and caring for those around you. Mostly I find by doing this, and simply keeping up with clearing the clutter, I don't have time to brood in the negative.