From the very first announcement of restrictions, through to the current unlocking, I think we can all agree we’ve overcome a plethora of new challenges, whilst there are others we’re still actively working on. Either way, we should be proud of how we’ve all adapted to change.
As government guidance alters and the much-debated views surrounding the terminology and arrival of “Freedom Day” ensue, is it a time for social liberation, freedom fear, or both? If you’re feeling uncertain, anxious or a tad conflicted with mixed emotions, the good news is our brains are designed to bounce back! With help and support from friends and family, alongside the tips we’ve compiled below, we can always get through it together.
Stats show the average share of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder, from January to June in 2019 was 11%, compared to 41.1% in January 2021. This is a massive increase, plus an important reminder that the people around us need as much support as we can give them.
Understanding that everyone copes and adjusts differently, here are seven tips, ideas and activities to encourage positivity and a happier outlook, as we navigate the next stage.
Surround yourself with amazing people who help you to grow and provide good energy. When we socialise and meet people, we gain more function and connectivity in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and other parts of the brain. Some people might have smaller networks than others, so be sure to check up on your friends. Maybe invite them to do something fun if you notice they’ve been quieter than usual.
You never know how much it helps someone when you send them a little text message or ask them to hang out. It also immediately helps to stimulate your brain regions, too. Win, win.
Take care of your body and yourself. Sport and exercising reduce anxiety and depression, whilst releasing those much-needed endorphins. It also improves your self-esteem and mood. So, combine this with nutritious meals and plenty of hydration, and your body will reward you in the most positive way.
Let’s go outside! Especially now the sunshine has returned, stimulate the senses with a trip to London’s botanical gardens, Hampstead Heath, another cool park, or a concert.
A subject that doesn’t get mentioned enough is how talking to a therapist can help a lot. Therapy can often enable you to get to know yourself more thoroughly, or it can help you to view things from a different perspective. This also gives you the chance to work in new ways, the opportunity to solve problems you’re experiencing, or the capacity to develop skills to cope with things that can’t be changed.
Try to meditate. Mindfulness and increased wellbeing can really enhance your state of mind, whilst breathing methods and relaxing exercises are another option. Research has proven it helps people to feel calm and to become more aware of thoughts and feelings, with the additional ability to improve the effectiveness of therapy, if you’re already doing this.
Break your routine. We all love a daily routine, but this can also trap you within a circle of feeling like nothing is changing. Begin with small alterations. Take a different route when you’re on a run, enjoy a little holiday, plan a road trip, go to a new lunch spot where you can try new food, go to a different park for a walk, or update the way your living space looks for a quick boost.
Try and help someone. This might sound like a strange tip for your personal wellbeing, but assisting a friend, family member, or even someone you pass on the street that needs a helping hand (no matter how simple) can make you feel good, bringing a sense of achievement and good vibes for all.
Don’t forget, we’ve all been through a lot, so providing a little extra thought and support, whenever we can, remains invaluable for everyone right now. We hope these tips will be helpful along the way!