March 19th, 2020

Rediscovering how to make yourself feel good

By Ms Susi Curzons

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Health Anxiety

We have entered a period unlike anything most of us have experienced before. It’s time to go back to basics on making ourselves feel good.

Doing positive things, particularly for other people, makes us feel good. This is nothing new, in fact it’s something that we learn as children, yet it’s also so easy to forget. When the difficult times come, it is more natural for us to seek comfort and continuity - play another episode, eat something easy.

This of course serves a purpose, it’s important to not be too hard on ourselves and have time to relax, disengage and enjoy whatever simple pleasures we have. But during this period of isolation and social distancing, a lack of activity can exacerbate mental health challenges such as loneliness, anxiety and boredom.

Below, we list some ways in which you can redirect energy that is spent on negative feelings to more helpful and enjoyable projects.

Help those in need

As has been well reported, the next few months are going to be particularly difficult for the over 70s and those with longstanding health conditions. Scores of local Facebook groups have been created to assist those advised to stay at home and charities like SilverLine allow you to chat to older people who might feel lonely.

Aside from organised activity, you may want to consider checking in with an elderly neighbour, perhaps slipping your phone number through their letterbox telling them to ring you if they need anything. Something as simple as calling a grandparent for a chat can make a huge difference to their day, as well as yours.

Create a to-do list and a reward list

Achieving something you’ve been putting off is a sure way to lift your mood and keep your mind occupied. For many of us, getting started is the tricky part. A helpful tip is to create a rewards list as well as a to-do list: clean out the fridge, watch a film. This makes the to-do list far less off-putting and provides extra motivation.

We recommend writing it down, not just having it in your head. Being able to physically tick things off a list heightens the pleasure of completion.

Try something new

You might find that during this period your mind is not being stimulated as it was before. You’re not having as many conversations, seeing as many sights, facing as many day-to-day decisions. This is what makes it so easy for us to get lost in a spiral of unhelpful thoughts and feelings.

But even in isolation, there are so many new things you can try. Yoga, painting, beginner coding - there are thousands of Youtubers out there that are desperate for you to watch their tutorials, why not give one a go.

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Sometimes situations make it difficult for us to automatically feel good. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, we just have to work at it. The tips above are by no means a guaranteed solution for all mental health struggles, but they’re worth a try if you’re finding yourself down during this rather strange situation.

smiling woman in front of a blue wall

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