6 Ways to Stay Positive in Tough Times
Whether you’re unemployed, or hate your job, stressed about course work deadlines, or find yourself forever alone, it can be hard to stay positive in tough times. In the past year, I’ve experienced all of these – bar hating my job – and I know how hard it can be to keep an upbeat attitude. Sometimes it’s just all too tempting to drown yourself in a puddle of Tumblr, TV and Ben and Jerry’s. So below you will find a list of my slightly unusual suggestions for keeping that chin in the upright position.
1. Lock yourself out – And throw away the key, at least during the day. Unless you have an actual reason to be inside your house i.e. laundry, waiting for a parcel etc. get out! GET OUT NOW! If there’s something I’ve learnt from the last month and a half of unemployment, it’s that the novelty of sitting around in your PJ’s all day wears off fast. Shower, put on something nice, and go outside. Even if you take your laptop with you, and go sit in the library or the local coffee shop, that’s fine. Sitting inside the same four walls day after day, will do nothing but crush your soul.
2. Score everyday– Make a list of things that you need to or want to achieve in a day, and then do it. If I were working, I would be doing this anyway, but as I’m not, it’s a habit I had let slip until the last few days. There’s something oddly satisfying about ticking things off a list, even if those things include job applications, laundry and getting Sim Zapp Brannigan up to job level 8 (it was a challenge, I can tell you). It’s one of my favourite ways to keep myself motivated, because at the end of the day, I get to know exactly how much I’ve accomplished, and what I need to do tomorrow.
3. Talk to strangers – Not something I would recommend for those of you under the age of 18, but for adults, talking to strangers can be a lot of fun. Yesterday, I saw a man sat at one of the DIY photo machines in the middle of Boots (a British pharmacy chain for American readers), looking very confused. He kept glancing at the woman behind the counter, but she was dealing with a mile long queue, so I asked him if I could help. He was so shocked that someone had noticed him, I had to stop myself from laughing. It was an easy problem to fix, and he was incredibly grateful. It felt good to be helping someone again, and I wish I’d had longer to stop and chat.
4. Rant like you mean it, then forget it – I mentioned in last week’s Tip Tuesday, that I keep a diary. I use it as a safe place to jot down anxieties etc, but I also use it as a place to rant. The trick is to scribble everything down, then close the book and forget about it. Don’t re-read an entry until at least a year has gone by and you’re in a happier mood. It takes a fair bit of discipline, but once you get into the habit, it’s a great release method, even if you only write half a page every few days.
5. Dance like a crazy person – I have a confession to make; I am a long time watcher of Grey’s Anatomy. I have a tendency to watch it in season long marathons, and when I do I will openly yell at the screen. Judge me as you wish, but it happens that this tip is something I’ve stolen directly from the show. There’s nothing quite like slamming on some tunes, dialling up the volume and bouncing around a room to get the endorphins going. Dance like an idiot, and laugh at yourself. Laugh at everything, and if you can, do it with someone else and laugh with each other.
6. Burp like Christmas – This is my childish and inappropriate way of saying, appreciate the little things. I’ve recently discovered Sainsbury’s own gingerbread ice cream (£2.50 for 500ml), and was both shocked and elated to discover it’s effects. Other things I’ve grown to love include, witnessing two grown men do a secret handshake, Bubble tea (or in my case, bubble juice), my flatmate’s facial hair (and that he lets me stroke it when I want to appear menacing, or thoughtful) and one-over-one-under cuddle. They are a fantastic breed of cuddle.
I hope that this article proves useful, and that some of the things on my list will help brighten up this dull winter for you. Remember if things get too bad, there are people who can help; friends and relatives who love you, and there is no shame in seeking medical assistance if it’s needed. You wouldn’t ignore a month long headache, so don’t ignore a heartache.
Of course these are just a few ways to keep your chin up. I’d really like it if we could extend this list in the comments. What do you do when you feel low? How do you stay positive in tough times?