Now more than ever we have had the chance to step back, re-evaluate and think about how we want to live in the future. Yes, at some point the world will re-open, and yes at some point we will all end up back on the merry go round of work, home, family, life.
But, having had time off the merry go round, having had time for yourself, how do you step back on and not just survive– but thrive? Check out our 10 top strategies to help you thrive:
1. Love what you do, ok its cheesy but it's cheesy because its true. Work is such a huge part of life that one definite way to thrive is to love doing it. That may not be easy if you don’t currently have a job you love. But you don’t need to stay there, yes change is scary and you may feel financially tied to staying – but are you really or is it a useful crutch to not face change. Think about what you really want to do in life and create a plan to get you there, it may take a while it won’t be overnight, but whatever it is you can do it. If you love what you currently do, then great you’re on the right track and can move onto our next strategy.
2. Create a cheerleader group for you, everyone has them you maybe just don’t realise it. That group of friends or family members who pick you up when you’re feeling down, who always think the best of you and who encourage and support you. This is your cheerleader group and they are so important to your mental wellbeing. Identify these people and make sure that you spend time with them and that you see yourself how they see you. Try to reduce your exposure to the toxic people in your world, you know the ones, they see only the doom and gloom they tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams, they encourage you to stay down and resist growing. Your cheerleader gang are your rock, your go to when you’re feeling down. They will keep you up and ensure that you thrive.
3. Look at your options- you really do have some, we all feel hemmed in at points in our lives, looking at what needs to change and feeling helpless to make any change. But you really do have options in every area of your life and actually realising that can be incredibly empowering. That’s not to say your options are appealing or easy, in a lot of cases they may not be, but the point of this exercise is the knowledge that you do have options for whatever issue you may be grappling with. Take a pen and paper and write down the issue at hand, you always have at least 2 options and probably more. Option 1 is always do nothing, ok not appealing maybe but this option lets you explore the issue fully and appreciate what the good and bad maybe in making no change to whatever situation has arisen. Option 2 is always do something and this may be several sections. What is the something you can do to make a change; it doesn’t need to be a good option or a happy option the point is to note what the option is and then explore it. Work through your issues in this way and not only will you feel empowered that you have options, but you may also discover solutions you hadn’t thought of.
4. Don’t be scared to ask for help, remember that cheerleader group? They are your rock they want to see you succeed and they want to help you get there and stay on top so never be afraid to admit that your struggling and never be scared to ask for help. Its inbuilt human instinct to help others (for most of us) so learn to know when you need help and go ask for it, it will always be available.
5. Eat well, yeah yeah it pops up everywhere, but it really does matter. If you don’t have a balanced diet with all the nutrients that you need how do you expect to cope with busy times and to thrive. Many of us are deficient in nutrients and in the habit of grabbing a bar of chocolate to eat on the run. The key to eating well and feeling better is to plan. If you know tomorrow is a long busy day, take food with you to resist the urge to grab a pizza and some chocolate. You needn’t spend all day in the kitchen cooking you can easily prepare a pile of nutrient rich snacks that are easy to eat on the run and will actually feed your body. Think about fruit like bananas, add a couple of pots of yoghurt, make a couple of sandwiches, add a little cheese. None of this requires mega prep time and will work out cheaper than popping to the corner shop or takeaway while you work.
6. Walk, I resisted the urge to say get exercise, instead I’m saying walk. Everyone can walk, everyone walks. But there are benefits to the humble walk that we all take for granted. It can be done anywhere (within reason of course), you don’t need equipment or fancy clothes, you can do it now right this minute- no gradual build up required, it burns calories- really burns them, you get fresh air, you get head space because your brain isn’t screaming at you to stop like it might be if you were running and most of us can fit it into our day even if it’s in short 15 minute intervals.
7. Be present, sounds a bit airy fairy but in reality, to thrive in the here and now you really have to be in the here and now, and guess what, so few of us actually are. We waste so much energy thinking back over past events, we don’t put them behind us we carry them forward and expand energy being annoyed or upset about something that happened in the past and we have no ability to change. When we are not looking back, we are looking forward, using energy worrying about tomorrow or next week or next month. How often are you actually in the here and now, thinking only about today and how you will thrive in this day only. A great and very famous book that illustrates this strategy better than I ever could is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Toile, this is a world leading bestseller read by millions and if you want to thrive, I’d say its required reading.
8. Switch off, yep the lot, tv, especially the news, especially now. Switch off your phone, laptop etc. Unless you’re an emergency service you really don’t need to answer every call or respond to every email.Try switching it all off and just be, be still, be alone, be calm. In this world of busy we are constantly bombarded with news (none of it good or happy news) contact from people, most of its silly meaningless contact, constant noise and distraction. It’s so important to find a small chunk of time in your day when you don’t access your phone, you don’t check the news, you just chill, relax and switch off the world.
9. Lower your expectations, you are your own biggest critic, you expect too much of you and you can’t thrive when you constantly put yourself under pressure to do better. Start by cutting right back on your “todo “list. What really needs done today, what will cause you serious issues if it doesn’t get done? Well those are the only bits on your to do list that you need to do. Try to give yourself 1 or 2 items a day to do instead of the crazy list of 20 things, most of which don’t really need done, won’t get done and you don’t want to do. Cut yourself some slack, its ok to take your time, its ok to slow down and its ok to make yourself your priority.
10. Look for opportunities, they are there always, you just need to look for them. Remember the old saying “every cloud has a silver lining” it’s an old saying because it's true. Although the coronavirus has been hell for many, there will be others who will use this opportunity to grow, make changes and to thrive. Whatever the issue or the problem, park it to one side and ask yourself what the opportunity for you is here? you might be surprised what answers you get back to this very powerful question.
I hope you will try to work through these 10 strategies even just as an exercise to see what your outcomes might be. Now is the time to adopt a thriving mindset and put yourself in a position to make changes that result in a happier more content you who thrives not matter what is going on around you.