So, the government has announced the roadmap for returning to normality. Obviously that’s a good thing but, when you actually think about it, elements of it still seem a long way off. There’ll be no boozy Easter drinks with friends. Our favourite restaurant won’t open for another 7.5 weeks. Holidays are up in the air.
With all that in mind, it’s still perfectly OK to feel crap about things. I’ve had some terrible mental health days in recent weeks, even last week, which proves that getting closer to elements of normality isn’t enough to complete buoy us up. Obviously mental health struggles can’t be just made better by pulling ourselves together and cheering up, but a bad day can be improved with some small actions.
Here are some of the mini (and very simple) mood boosters I’ve used over lockdown 3, and will probably turn to again in the next few months.
Donate to charity
Everyone’s a winner in this scenario – the charity gets much needed donations and you get to be a good person. Obviously I appreciate not everyone is in a financial position to be able to do this, but if you are it feels great. In addition to my existing monthly charity contributions, I’ve been erring towards smaller funds when giving money. The kind of campaigns where you know the recipient will look at your donation and feel a real heartfelt thanks. Friends doing charity events, setting up birthday collections, and even strangers like this one; purely for the comic genius (and a great cause too!)
Go for a walk
This one pains me somewhat, as I’m not a walking person, and I’ve always poo-pooed exercise as a mood booster. I drive everywhere and have since I was 17. I rarely walk for fun. But working from home combined with lockdown of shops, bars and restaurants meant I was literally leaving the house once a week to go to the supermarket. Not healthy. So I’ve taken to having a walk around the streets during the day when I can (meetings and weather permitting) and I can honestly say I do feel better for it. Whether it’s nosing at people’s houses, spotting signs of Spring or just getting some fresh air, it helps.
Do something nice for someone you care about and you’ll feel warm and glowy too. Doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve done doorstep deliveries of flowers and sweets to pals, posted cards and chocs to friends who live further afield and, most recently, made chocolate cornflake cakes as a taste of childhood for a miserable husband. It’s nice to be nice.
Make an effort with your appearance
I’m intermittent with this one, typing this piece of advice whilst still in my PJs at 12.15pm! But there is something to be said for looking presentable if you feel up to it. A sweep of mascara or even the simplicity of a spray of perfume – all things that used to be a daily occurrence for me but now feel like a treat and kid my brain that I’m in control! With the change of seasons come the opportunity to wear different clothes, so brighter colours will be making more of an appearance too, which always lifts my mood.
Doesn’t have to be big or fancy (I’m not encouraging anyone to max out their credit cards!) but do something nice for you too. I find that buying myself flowers is always a nice little pick me up; it feels self indulgent and they brighten up my workspace (fancy way of saying dining table!) whilst I’m working from home.
What do you do when you need a mood boost? I’d love to hear your suggestions too.
Thanks, as always, for reading. x