• Joe

Top 5 tips to stay motivated and positive during lockdown

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

We all have good days and bad days, which affect our motivation and mood. This has never been more true than the challenge we are currently facing.

I know that I have felt overwhelmed and stressed at times trying to balance work, staying healthy and keeping in contact with everyone - all whilst barely leaving my small flat. But that's to be expected. This is a challenge we haven't had to face before, and whilst it's likely that life will be different for a while, there are some simple things we can do each day to feel better about our situation and maintain a positive mindset.

Read on to learn about 5 of the best things you can do to feel good and overcome the lockdown slump. Maybe even try this week's challenge to help you reinforce a positive mindset.

Tip 1: Routine is king

Right now it's easy to feel helpless with coronavirus affecting everyone and the feeling that there's nothing we can do about it. But, establishing a regular routine can help us to feel more in control of our situation and the things happening in our lives.

When you were a child, routine was reinforced to provide structure and discipline to the day. We were told "you must go to bed at this time", "do your homework after school", "you can play with you friends but must be home by 6pm". By having this routine, children never have to worry or be anxious about what they should be doing and when, because they already have a structure in place. We as adults need to employ a similar approach to avoid the feeling that we are becoming overwhelmed by the current situation, and to regain that control of our own destiny. Often routine is thought of as boring and constricting, but this is contrary to the truth - Establishing a good routine opens up the path to fulfilment and freedom as you build confidence and feel more productive.

How can I plan my routine?

Routine and structure will be different for everybody but in essence the most important aspect is to allow certain times of the day for certain tasks which feed the different parts of your brain, for example:

7:30am - Wake up and breakfast

8-9am - Exercise/active time

9-11am - Work

11-12am - Creative time (read, write, draw, play music)

12-1pm - Lunch

1-4pm - Work

4-5pm - Go outside

5-7pm - Disconnect from technology and spend time with your family

7-8pm - Dinner

8-9pm - Mindfulness/Meditation

9:30pm - Go to bed

Each part of the day serves to meet different needs and help you to feel refreshed and motivated. Of course, everyone is different and each routine will vary as a result. But, having the routine in place helps you to feel empowered and motivated to have a great day. So each morning try and write down your plan for the day to give you some structure, even if it is just a few key points. Some from of structure is better than nothing.

Tip 2: Try something new

Being on lockdown presents many challenges, but it also presents an opportunity to focus on yourself. What's that one thing you have always wanted to learn, or that one fitness goal you've never had the time to work towards?

Plan time into your daily schedule to challenge yourself with a new goal or even a few goals if you're feeling ambitious. This will help to keep you focused and maintain your motivation, as well as giving you a sense of fulfilment and achievement once you have completed that new goal.

Here are some great new activities you could try:

Use the time you have to bake or cook some exciting new dishes. Since being in lockdown we have been doing a family MasterChef where we are challenged to create a new dish each week to fit a different theme. We have made some exciting dishes from things like pavlova, lemon drizzle cake and intricately decorated biscuits. Here is the recipe we used for a delicious lemon drizzle if you want to have a go yourself - https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/lemon-drizzle-cake

Take some time to learn a musical instrument. I have always played the guitar and love the simplicity of the instrument and it's also great for beginners. When I make the time to play, I use the app Yousician to help me improve. This is something I really recommend for people who are just staring out - https://yousician.com/

Give yourself a new fitness goal. This was perhaps my biggest new challenge during lockdown, and has been fundamental in keeping me motivated. I have always wanted to learn yoga, but have always struggled to find the time. Now having so much more time at home I was able to start learning and found this fantastic YouTube channel - Sara Beth Yoga

I have that found since starting yoga, I have much more control over my mindset and motivation, as well as my body feeing much stronger and more flexible. Without a doubt this has helped me to stay positive and feel good, and I would really recommend Sara Beth Yoga as she has some great short yoga sessions for beginners!

Another great thing you could focus on is to start learning a new language. This takes consistency and daily practice, but with the help of apps like Duolingo or Babbel it becomes much easier to practice daily and begin learning.

Having these new goals can distract us from the negativity in the media and allows us to focus on the things that really matter to us. Each day you will see progress, which in turn will motivate you and help you to achieve this new sense of accomplishment. I know that for me this has been the key to staying positive whilst in lockdown.

Tip 3: Stay connected with the people you care about

One of the hardest challenges with being on lockdown in your own home is that you can't physically go and see other people. I know that I have missed seeing family and spending time with my friends, especially when the weather has been so nice.

But thankfully we live in a digital age where the online possibilities are almost endless, so we have plenty of great ways to stay connected and have fun with our friends and family. I'm sure you have all done a million pub quizzes, but have you tried some of these other fun ideas: Virtual Bingo (Boozy or not, your choice), MasterChef/Bake off style competitions, Virtual boards games, Virtual card games or even Charades. The choices are endless really, but staying connected with your family and friends, whether it's through Zoom or Facetime, allows you to disconnect from the negativity in the world and remind you of what's really important.

Tip 4: Exercise, exercise and exercise

Making time for exercise everyday is key to helping you deal with your daily challenges and will make you feel much better about yourself. It doesn't have to be something strenuous every day but at the very least getting out for a walk or short run each day will clear your mind and allow you to reset. This is because when you exercise, your body releases a chemical called endorphins, which reduces your perception to pain and brings about feelings of happiness. On top of this, the sense of accomplishment after completing exercise improves your self-esteem and therefore enforces a positive mindset, which will stay with you for the rest of the day.

Trying a daily workout like PE with Joe Wicks will get you into a great routine and seriously reinforce a strong, resilient mindset, which will help you tackle any challenges thrown your way.

Tip 5: Reinforce a positive mindset

Your brain is incredibly powerful and can change the way you think, just by the way you talk to yourself. We often pay far more attention in our daily lives to the negative things that happen and sometimes even one bad thing can ruin your whole day.

An important part of developing a positive mindset is focusing on the good things in each day. Here are three easy ways you can starting harnessing the power of positive thinking.

  1. Talk yourself up - Be proud of what you do and what you achieve each day and make sure you tell yourself just how awesome you think you are. If you make a regular habit of it you will soon start to believe it. If faced with a difficult challenge tell yourself "I am strong" and "I can handle this" and it will help you to frame the challenge in a more positive mindset.

  2. Today is going to be a good day - Each morning presents a new opportunity and a fresh start, so make sure that from the very beginning you set your intention for the day by telling yourself "today is going to be..." and finish the sentence however you want the day to lead you. "Today is going to be productive", "Today is going to be a good day" or "I am feeling confident today" are good examples and by doing this you, again, frame your day in a positive mindset and therefore positive thoughts will follow as you work through the day.

  3. Daily positive reflections - Throughout the day, many different things can happen and your mind can easily get distracted. By taking a moment to self reflect at the end of each day, you can ground your thoughts. Use this time to focus on the good things that have happened and the things that you are thankful for. By doing this you affirm the positivity within your subconscious mind

I know it might sound bit wishy washy, but hear me out and try it for yourself, I promise you it will make a difference and you will feel better for it. What better way to start than by trying the weekly challenge below.

Weekly Challenge

Following on from the final tip, I want to encourage you to reframe your mindset and reinforce positivity every day. For this weeks challenge I want you to do 2 simple things which will help you feel positive and boost your self confidence.

  1. Every morning set your intention and tell yourself that "today will be a good day".

  2. At the end of each day, either write down or say to someone (or even yourself) 3 positive things that have happened or things that you are grateful for from that day. Some days this will be easier than others but it will help you to focus on the good things. For example today I enjoyed eating the lemon drizzle cake I made on the weekend, I am grateful to be able to walk outside to the beach and I felt productive at work today.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog about staying motivated and positive during lockdown. I would love to hear if this blog has been useful to you, how you may have changed your daily routine or even if you have any other tips.

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