There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The last 15 months since the pandemic started have been nothing short of exhausting, especially for all of us here in Ontario.
It’s completely changed the way we live and work. Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have been the storyboard for our lives and uncertainty has been the overarching theme. And it’s pretty safe to say that we’re all feeling pretty fatigued by it at this point.
But this also got us thinking: while this might be one of the most tolling difficult moments we’ll ever experience, both personally and professionally, it certainly won’t be the last one.
And in light of that, we wanted to look at some tips we can all use to stay positive during tough times.
1. Be the Hammer, Not the Nail
When times are hard, you need to become a master of your mindset.
In clinical psychology, there’s an exercise that asks you to decide whether you’re a hammer or a nail and to think about why you chose your answer.
Your answer is said to tell you a lot about how you perceive yourself and your life.
While the answers and rationale obviously vary, the general consensus can be boiled down to this: nails feel like life is happening to them and hammers feel like life is happening for them. Nails are pessimistic. Hammers are optimistic.
So, during challenging times, your ability to control your mindset is going to have a big impact on whether you feel positively or negatively.
Be the hammer, not the nail.
2. Check In On People
It’s easy to live in a vacuum when times are hard, especially during lockdowns. But don’t silo yourself.
Check in on people, see how they’re doing, keep in touch.
It’s helpful to vent and it’s even more helpful to remind yourself you’re not going through it alone. Keeping connected with people will also help keep both of your spirits high.
3. Limit Bad News Intake
Bad news is available in abundance. You can find it almost anywhere. But it’s not healthy to inundate yourself with it.
See, it’s important to stay educated and informed. But allowing yourself to be constantly barraged by bad news can take a serious toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Stay up-to-date, but limit how much negativity you take in. It’ll only serve to supercharge the fear, doubt, anger, sadness, anxiety, or whatever other existing feelings you might have.
4. Go Easy On Yourself
We’ve all got goals and things we want to accomplish. Many of us set a high bar for ourselves. And that’s an incredible trait to have! But when times are tough and things are far from normal, it can’t hurt to give yourself some leeway.
It’s not that you shouldn’t still strive for your goals. It’s just that you should try to take it easy on yourself if you fall short.
During crazy times like the ones we’re in, there are enough external pressures and challenges weighing on us without us putting extra onto ourselves.
5. Get Some Fresh Air
Being outside for as little as 20 minutes is enough to make you happier and healthier. And that’s science.
When everything else feels challenging and complicated, put yourself in the simplicity of the great outdoors.
It’s an uncomplicated and effective solution to help you recharge your batteries and get your mindset back to a positive place.
6. Make Sure to Rest Enough
In a study on life satisfaction, researchers found a direct correlation between sleep quality and overall happiness--in fact, they found it was the single most influential factor that contributed to people’s daily mood.
Staying well rested can make you better equipped to deal with tough times by waking up with a strong and positive mindset every morning.
So, while there might still be challenges to contend with, a good night’s sleep means you’ll already have a leg up in the battle.
7. Let Yourself Have Your Moments
As much as you can try to stay positive and optimistic, it’s just not realistic to think you’ll be able to do it all the time, especially in the midst of tough periods.
Sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself in a bad headspace, and that’s OK. Let yourself have your moments. Let them run their course. By dealing with them head-on, you’ll be able to more quickly let them go.
8. Surround Yourself with Things That Make Your Happy
Lockdowns mean more free time and less stuff to do with it. So, you can either take that time to sit around and get angry or find a way to surround yourself with things that feed your soul.
Maybe it’s running or biking. Maybe it’s creating art or music. Maybe it’s focusing on your career or finding ways to learn new skills.
For us, it’s coming into Project Spaces and being surrounded by our lounge and dedicated desk members, being immersed in our incredible professional community, and seeing them work hard and do what they love. It’s inspiring and it gives us a big lift.
Whatever you’re passionate about, take tough times as an opportunity to hyper-focus on it.
9. Let Go of Things That Are Beyond Your Control
One of the most challenging parts about this pandemic for a lot of people has been the overall sense of uncertainty. When will things re-open? What’s going to happen with our jobs? How long until we can see our loved ones?
And that’s understandable. But it also creates an incredible amount of anxiety and fuels a negative mindset.
You need to shift your focus to the things you can control and find a way to let go of the things you can’t. It’s not easy--it’s a hard art to master. But once you do it, you’ll be that much happier.
10. Treat Yourself
The same way you need to give yourself a break, it also doesn’t hurt to treat yourself from time to time. Feeling stressed? Feeling anxious? In a bad headspace?
Do something nice for yourself to give yourself a boost of positivity, even if it’s something you wouldn’t do during normal circumstances.
The last year and a quarter have been incredibly tough for everyone. But times like this also remind us that resilience always has been and always will be incredibly powerful, both personally and professionally. And part of that resilience is doing everything you can to stay positive in the face of adversity.
If you want to learn how being part of a coworking community can help you stay positive during tough times, get in touch today and come check out Project Spaces! We’d be happy to show you around.
Founder-friendly coworking in downtown Toronto for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. EST 2011. We create original workspaces, fill them with relentless entrepreneurs, and watch the magic happen. Learn more