There are times when we all struggle and don’t feel at our best. It’s not uncommon to feel this way, and while there are things that are out with our control, there are also lots of steps we can take to regain control and help us feel better starting right now.
I’ve listed a few ideas to get you started below:
1 Take a break
Sometimes taking a break from our normal situation and allowing ourselves time to think about something different—even for a short while—can help prevent brain fatigue and improve our ability to pay attention when we return to whatever we were doing.
2 Introduce ‘variety’ into your day
Something as simple as introducing variety into our daily routines may be enough to increase our sense of well being.
Researchers from New York University and the University of Miami found that having new, diverse experiences every day is linked to positive emotions and enhanced happiness.
“Even though our ability to physically move around is limited by social distancing, it is still possible to create diversity in the experiences that are in your control” —Aaron Heller, clinical psychologist and affective neuroscientist at the University of Miami. 
Aaron goes on to say, “…our work suggests that exposing yourself to sights, sounds and experiences that you haven’t had recently might similarly be rewarding. Any change, from redecorating your room to downloading a podcast out of your typical rotation, counts.” 
Other ideas re variety include:
- Listen to music. If you don’t usually listen to music, turn on the radio or tune into a music channel on the TV. There are many different music programmes to choose from—maybe even select another channel or style of music every day for a week.
- Try a new hobby, e.g. woodwork, creative writing, painting, mobile photography, etc… the possibilities are endless.
- Read a book. Choosing a book we would never normally consider may surprise us if we discovered a new favourite author or genre!
- Enrol on a free online course. There are literally thousands of free classes online, e.g. photography, languages, computing, cybersecurity, woodturning, card making, counselling, languages, etc.
- Join a virtual online choir. See “Sing the blues away” below.
3 Go for a 20 minute walk (or longer)
A brisk 20-minute walk outdoors (preferably away from traffic and noise) will help:
- improve mood
- increase energy
- lower risk of heart disease and diabetes
- boost the immune system
- strengthen bones
- speed up metabolism
Plus you will burn anything between 90 – 110 calories.
- Also, if you have a dog, he/she will love you for their walkies! Many different independent studies have shown that walking your dog creates a lifelong bond with your pet, keeping them fit and healthy.
4 Sing the blues away
All types of singing have positive psychological effects. The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals according to a study by Science: how stuff works.
The study finds that choral singing seems to have the most dramatic effects on people’s lives. 
For more about how singing can act as an anti-depressant and improve health, check out How Choir Singing Can Improve Your Health and Boost Your Mood.
- If you live in the UK, why not consider signing up to a virtual choir such as Choirantine. If you live anywhere else in the world, Google “virtual choir” and I’m quite sure you will find similar organisations where you live as well.
5 Get it write!
A recent study examined the effects of writing in a sample group of 81 undergraduates. The students wrote for 20 minutes a day for five months on life topics such as traumatic experiences and personal goals. By the end of the project, the results revealed a significant increase in well-being and improved mood among participants.
Why? Writing opens up an outlet to confess our fears and worries without judgment. Writing our thoughts down on paper or in a journal has therapeutic benefits that include increased happiness and reduced stress. 
Speaking from my personal experience, I find that writing helps me deal with challenging times by providing me with an outlet to release my stresses and cares. Writing takes me away from life’s pressures and gives me something different to focus on for a while. An hour or so in my “writing bubble” can help me to feel more relaxed. Although my cares and concerns haven’t gone away, at least I’ve laid them aside for a short time and gained some reprieve.
I’ve enjoyed researching information for this post and hope you will benefit from it too. If you have found this post helpful in any way, please let me know—I’d love to hear from you.
Next week: 8 ways to balance your social media usage
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