Life as we know it has been put on hold; the pause button has well and truly served its purpose.
Being on lockdown has been an incredibly strange thing to have to face and many people are struggling to know how to fill their time and structure their days, wondering when life will return to some form of normality. Amidst this new way of life that we have all suddenly had to adopt, there has been an enormous amount of pressure on individuals to use this time to be their most ‘productive selves’ or do all the things they always wanted to do but ‘never had the time’ to.
Being productive is synonymous with success, yet it seems exceptionally unrealistic to expect everyone to be their best selves whilst trying to navigate through a global pandemic. This self-destructive expectation can lead to many people feeling inadequate or a failure.
What is of paramount importance during times like these is to shift your perspective inwardly and focus on your mental wellbeing and your overall happiness. In times like these where there is an immense amount of suffering, we must take care of ourselves, and that starts with the mind.
Your mind is your greatest asset.
It discovers new things, creates new ideas and therefore is fundamentally the part of you that you need to take the greatest care of.
Your mental wellbeing is just as significant as your physical wellbeing, which is something many people tend to forget as the mind isn’t seen as a tangible thing like your body is. Yet, the intangibility of the mind is why it requires the most care (this is when the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ philosophy needs to vanish) because your happiness will determine your livelihood. If you’re unhappy, every cell of you will feel it and it can cause consequences that can be harmful, whether that be subconscious or not.
We all owe it to ourselves to take care of our minds – that is the most productive thing we can do.
One of the main ways to take care of your mind and wellbeing during this pandemic is to focus on life’s little pleasures.
As so much of our everyday lives has been taken away from us, we must turn our attention to the things that have always been there but that have previously gone unnoticed and underappreciated.
Whether it be the tantalisingly tasty smell wafting through the kitchen as you bake your famous banana bread or the warmth of the sun on your skin as you spend some time outside, the feeling of reading a book without any distractions or spending quality time with a beloved family member, these are things that will help keep your mind healthy and happy.
Give it a go
A brilliant way to make sure you are appreciating these little things in all their glory is journaling, or just spending the time to reflect on your day. If you sit and dedicate time to deciphering what it is that makes you happy throughout the day, it enables you to rethink your priorities in life and remain grateful for being able to do these things.
It’s easy to let negativity and hopelessness, from the media and elsewhere, consume us. Journaling can help you remain positive by focusing on the present and being mindful.
Everybody’s preferences are different – one person’s idea of a good day may be another person’s worst nightmare – so it is vital to establish what makes you feel content. Life is full of little pleasures if you make the effort to identify them and now really is an ideal time to discover your own personal indulgences and let your own quirks and characteristics shine through.
You will learn a lot about yourself in the process, and that is probably the most productive thing you can do at a time like this. Go wild with it and stay safe.
More from Macmillan
Many students would benefit from a little more self-compassion. Discover three strategies to bring more self-kindness to your studies and life in Stella Cottrell’s blog Bring some self-kindness to your study.