You might be thinking to yourself, ‘What? How can I be happy in lockdown?’ But please bear with me, because you can, you really can. How do I know? Because the majority of my ‘normal’ life is spent living in “lockdown”. I’m pretty much housebound between being a carer for my husband who has a rare brain condition and living with my own complex disability. But, am I miserable about it? Hell no! I have learned so much in the last few years and I have genuinely learned to be happy, no matter what life throws at me.
Let me share a few things with you; ways in which we can all find a little more happiness, despite living in these unprecedented times.
“If you want to find happiness, the key is pretty simple; live in the moment. When you learn to live in the present and you appreciate each moment as it happens, then you start seeing life through an entirely different lens. You enjoy the smallest of things, which merely faded into the background of your life before.”(1)
True happiness is found when we learn to live in the present moment, but what does that mean? When we slow down and still our minds; solely focusing on the here and now, we start to see life differently and in that state you can begin to open your mind and look within yourself to find happiness.
That might sound like hippy rubbish to some of you, and to be honest if you’d said something like that to me 6 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it either, but trust me it’s true! I’m living proof of it being true, so please bear with me and let me explain further.
Start by taking the day exactly as it is.
However it is.
However you’re feeling, lean into those feelings, really feel them and let them move through your body. You might be having a ‘good’ day where your pain isn’t so bad, or your anxiety isn’t too bad, or if you don’t live with chronic illness, then a ‘good’ day would be when you wake up feeling good and energized. If that’s the case then enjoy each moment as it comes along. If you have access to outside space, sit outside and breathe in the fresh air.
If you feel up to it, go for a little walk. Listen to the sounds of nature all around you – really listen. It helps you to live in the present moment when you focus only on the sounds around you.
If today is a ‘bad’ day in whatever sense of the word, then just accept that your body needs to rest as much as possible. Don’t worry about anything, it is what it is. It’s a bad day. It will pass. Be kind to yourself throughout the day.
If today is a ‘bad’ day emotionally then check out Abraham Hick’s Emotional Scale. If you look on Google or Bing you’ll find lots of images to help you navigate through the scale. I find this really helpful on the ‘bad’ emotional days.
Simply find where you are on the scale by thinking how you feel at the moment. Then think about what’s working in your life and how that makes you feel.
Keep doing this over and over, each time reaching for a higher emotion on the scale. It really does work, try it for yourself.
The way to stay positive on a bad day is to focus on the small stuff and be kind to yourself. Look for the beauty in the smallest of things.
Appreciate and really feel the love shared in a hug from a family member or in a phone call from a friend or family member. (I’m saying family member because obviously we’re in the middle of lockdown so we’re limited to who we can hug, but we can phone whoever we want instead.)
Get yourself comfy and cosy, play your favourite music in the background and savour every second of the phone call. Feel the love coming to you down the line.
If like me, you live with chronic pain and a ‘bad day’ means that you are in a lot of pain, have severe fatigue or have general malaise, then be kind to yourself. When I have days like this I rest in my recliner and watch my favourite TV shows or films…having a ‘duvet day’ and just letting my body rest and heal itself, gathering its strength in readiness for a better day to come. In years gone by I would have pushed through ignoring my body’s plea to rest. I’ve learned the hard way that this never ends well though, it will almost certainly end in a flare up of one of my many conditions and quite frankly it’s just not worth all the added pain and discomfort. So, nowadays I just take it easy. If I need to go back to bed then I will, if I need to sleep, I will, knowing that I’m enabling my body to recover more quickly.
There are two more things to add to coping with a bad day.
(1)Laughter! It really is the best medicine. If you’re having a bad day, go onto You Tube and type in your favourite Comedian / Comedienne’s name. Sit back, get comfy and enjoy. As you laugh you’ll release the pent up tension in your body and you’ll feel so much better for it.
(2) Meditation. You may be thinking ‘What??’ But please try to keep an open mind about meditation. The most basic meditation is simply breathing exercises to slow down the body’s momentum to help you relax.
Have a look at Gabby Bernstein’s website (2) and you’ll find lots of different meditations to get you started.
I never meditated before I found Gabby Bernstein and now meditation is my go to method to slow my mind down, especially right now with all the fear that’s present on a daily basis. Most days I cope fine because being in a lockdown situation is my norm, but occasionally fear creeps in and my mind starts racing. Whenever this happens I go into a quiet room and do one of Gabby’s meditations. They work every single time without fail, so why don’t you give them a go?
Try making these simple little changes to your life and you’ll soon begin to notice how much happier you feel.