How to stay positive, no matter what
Resilience during a pandemic
A pandemic of this nature is something we have only really seen in movies or read about in history books. But here we are, 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic that has changed our lives – a lot.
Here are a few tips for staying resilient and positive and making sure you not only survive, but actually thrive during this time.
- Make a choice
Consciously make a choice that you are not going to let the ways of the world get you down. By choosing to stay positive, you are already making an effort. It’s very easy to get bogged down by the negativity of it all, but if you truly decide you are going to do what it takes to stay positive and thrive, you’re halfway there.
- Get out
This is an obvious one, I know, but go and climb a mountain, swim in a river or picnic in a park or botanical garden. Get out and change your perspective, see something new, and get some fresh air. It has been proven time and time again that spending time in nature is uplifting and puts us in a better frame of mind.
- Connect as much as you can
You may not be able to have big all-day braais or attend weekend festivals for now, but don’t forget to connect and socialise anyway – even if it’s via Zoom. Have a glass of wine and a Zoom chat with a friend once in a while, send long emails, post a letter, make a phone call. Reach out and seek out meaningful interactions with the people you love. There are also ample opportunities to connect with likeminded people online, via webinars, workshops and online retreats. You are not JD Salinger – make and strengthen connections.
- Disconnect as much as you can
Spending so much time at home, alone or with the same people day in and day out can unfortunately suck you into the blue screen – whether your phone, TV or laptop. Constant scrolling on your phone especially, has negative effects on your psyche. Try as best you can to disconnect, even if it’s for a couple of hours every evening, or if it means switch your phone off at 7pm every night. Read, chat, write, declutter your house – there are more important things to do than stare blankly at your phone for hours every day.
- Do familiar things
Studies have shown that when we are feeling down in the dumps, familiar things can make us feel better. This might include watching reruns of Friends, wearing your favourite t-shirt or making yourself a familiar comfort meal.
- Do unfamiliar things
By contrast, trying something new has the same effect – it boosts the mood! Try to do something every week that you’ve never done or haven’t done in years. Rollerskating, knitting, hiking, writing poetry, skydiving or camping – what are the things you enjoy doing or want to try, that you’ve just not gotten around to? Do them!
- Practise gratitude
Another simple but very effective way to improve your mindset is to be grateful. This takes some practise – we tend to always see what’s not working/right/great/pretty. Purposefully seek out things you are grateful for and feel and express real gratitude. Whether it’s your partner, your health, your home or your most amazing buddy – be grateful.
- Be of service
Finally, something that has been shown to instantly increase feelings of happiness and fulfilment is giving back; being of service. There are countless opportunities to do this – whether through donations or volunteering. Choose something close to your heart to make it even more meaningful. Join a dog kennel building day, volunteer at a soup kitchen, make cake for the retirement village near you – it doesn’t matter what it is or how big the gesture, just doing something nice for someone less fortunate will give you a different perspective, increase your gratitude and elevate your mood.