- The current times have been especially difficult, but there are still some things you can do to lift your mood.
- Do more of what makes you happy, indulge in some “me time,” and seek out new creative hobbies.
- Think of three things you’re grateful for and set aside some time to express your worries.
The last year has been incredibly difficult for most of us. We’ve been constantly receiving bad news and worse news amid the pandemic, which can make it hard for us to stay upbeat.
But there is still hope for some positivity. Therapist Shannon O’Neill, PhD, shares some simple things you can do each day to lift your mood during these trying times.
1. Do more of what made you happy pre-pandemic.
Try to remember how you spent your days pre-pandemic. Recall what activity made you happy and do more of it.
Whether it be working out or chatting with friends, you can still do so safely. You can work out at home or go for a socially distanced run, and you can talk to your loved ones via phone call or online. Add another 15 minutes to your usual workout routine or talk to your friend for another hour.
2. Think of three things you’re grateful for.
Despite all the bad stuff going on, there will still be some things you’re grateful for.
Start a daily habit of expressing gratitude. You can also use an app called Three Good Things, in which you can log three things you’re thankful for.
It can be simple things. You may be thankful for that funny cat video you just watched, a hot bath, or some good food that satisfied your cravings. Just thinking about it and recalling the experience warms the heart.
3. Start the day with some “me time.”
If you feel burned out by your repetitive schedule, try mixing things up. Indulge in some “me time” as you start your day.
It can also be simple, such as taking a longer, more pampering bath, or eating a more indulging breakfast. Meditation can also help you relax before you go about your daily tasks.
4. Start a creative hobby.
Have you always wanted to learn new recipes or try painting? Go for it! You don’t even have to be good at it and you can always try out a different hobby.
“Creativity helps you focus on something that takes all your attention,” explains Dr. O’Neill.
Make sure to avoid comparing your work or how you spend your time with others — it’s not a competition. Your current priority is to take care of your physical and mental health.
5. Have a “worry time.”
Having a scheduled “worry time” each day can prevent you from spending the entire day in an endless cycle of worrying.
Set aside 20 minutes each day during which you can express your worries. You can write all your concerns in a journal or even speak them out loud. Make sure to set a timer so you can snap out of it when the time runs out.
If you find yourself worrying before or after your scheduled worry time, set it aside and remind yourself that you can worry later at your scheduled time. Chances are, you have already forgotten about it by the time your worry time comes. This will help you realize that most of your concerns are not worth dwelling on.