Tips to stay positive in harder times

29 March 2022

by Beth Wilson, Digital Content Specialist, MHA

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The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely taught us that anything can happen, but, you can also come through the other side. There’s great power in positivity and I wanted to share my tips on staying positive in later life.  

  1. Connect with nature – if you can’t get outside, even opening a window for some fresh air and hearing the birds can be calming. Breathing in fresh air is proven to help you feel calm, less stressed and can improve your mood. If you are able to go for a short walk, this isn’t only good for your physical health, but for your mental health too, it’s a great distraction and can clear your mind.

  2. Turn off the TV/social media/news updates – also known as a ‘Digital Detox’. This can help you feel more productive, more calm and can improve your outlook on life and even your sleep. The news can be overwhelming at times and if you do find it’s affecting your mental health, simply cut it out of your routine and add something else that can bring you joy.

  3. Get a good night’s sleep – a lack of sleep can affect your mood. It might sound obvious, but go to bed when you feel tired. People often fight the feeling of tiredness, but get yourself to bed and you might find you can fall asleep early, or even if you’re laid in bed awake, this is still a restful state which is good for the body to wind down from the day. Also try to avoid looking at a screen up to an hour before you go to bed, having a bath or reading before bed is a great way to relax (and my favourites!)

  4. Buddy up with someone – choose a close friend or family member that you can turn to if you’re feeling down to give them a call, write them a letter or do a video call together. The phrase, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is something that’s definitely true. The charity, Mind have an online community, available 24/7 called Side by Side where you can talk to others.

  5. Practice gratitude – when the pandemic started, I started writing a gratitude list every morning. It’s a great way to start the day thinking of things to be thankful for. Some days it’s harder than others, but you will always find something. You can write this down in a notebook or journal and come back to them at another time.

  6. Find a hobby – hobbies can be a great distraction and help you to feel productive and add purpose to your day. I find crafting is really calming and I love learning a new skill. Why not try jigsaws, a gentle exercise, a craft activity or learning something new? MHA Digital Communities videos could give you some inspiration.

  7. Have something to look forward to – even having the smallest of things planned can help lift your mood. You could buy yourself a treat and tell yourself you’ll have it after dinner that day, you could book a trip away or time with friends/family. Even if a plan is months in advance, I always feel better knowing that there’s some joy coming. It’s also a great conversation piece when you’re talking with friends/family that you have something on the calendar.

  8. Donate to charity or volunteersome things are totally out of our control, like the pandemic or war and poverty and we can feel helpless. But a way to combat those feelings is giving to others. Donating money or donating to a charity shop, food bank or local organisation, these are small actions that can make a difference, and you'll feel good too.
    Volunteering is also another great way to give back. If you can't get out of the house, many organisations have remote volunteering options like telephone befriending or online support for someone.  

 

Resources to help

Books 

Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown 

Live Well Everyday by Dr Alex George 

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig 

Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King 

Why Has No one Told Me This Before? Dr Julie Smith 

The Little Book of Positivity by Lucy Lane 

Podcasts

Practical Positivity 

Happy Place 

Happier with Gretchen Rubin 

Good Life Project

Thanks a Million with Angela Scanlon 

Put on Your Positive Pants 

Charities and organisations that can give you further support 

Action for Happiness – an online community that have plenty of resources, podcasts, videos and free support available. 

Mind - provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Call their infoline on 0300 123 3393

Or email info@mind.org.uk

Samaritans - whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you, they’re available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Call their helpline on 116 123 

Or you can email jo@samaritans.org 

Mental Health Org have a kindness guide that lists things to do that improve your mood 

The NHS also have some tips to improve mental wellbeing

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