Hopefully, you have already read Your guide to feeling good during a pandemic: Part One, if not we suggest starting there before jumping back into this article. It will help you label some of your less desirable feelings and give you a few mental strategies for coping with those feelings.
Beyond those ideas, we hope you can use the below practical tips to add more joy, fun and excitement to the days that are all feeling a bit the same.
Find your mood cures to create daily joy
Everybody should have a list of go-to’s that lift their mood. Your list can include any readily available little thing or activity that can reliably lift your mood. Of course, these will be different for everybody but your list may include mood-lifting things such as podcasts that make you laugh, old movies you love, upbeat songs and good mood foods. Your mood-lifting activities may include going for a walk, dancing around the house, kicking a ball against a wall, an ocean swim, watching the sunrise or reading in bed.
If you have a list like this but it lives in your head, write it down. Just knowing that you have a whole list of things you can consult when a low mood hits can help you feel a bit better and you’ll be able to quickly refer to it rather than trying to recall these ideas when you’re feeling down.
You don’t need to wait until you’re feeling down to do these activities either! Fitting as many of them as you can, to create joy in every day, is the best way to avoid low moods altogether.
Need some inspiration? Try these.
Revisit the familiar in new ways
Ian Bogost is a professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and he has discovered a very simple trick to unlocking fun.
What he has learned is that “fun is the aftermath of deliberately manipulating a familiar situation in a new way.” And not only will this one idea create whole new worlds of fun for you, but it also helps you to be less distracted!
If you’re struggling to come up with new activities that you (and your kids) find fun then simply start by taking an activity you already enjoy, then mix it up a little bit.
For example, if you and your kids have enjoyed going for walks around your neighbourhood then you could try going for bushwalks instead, if you’ve been bushwalking already, try some new walks, then try printing out a scavenger hunt to make the walk more interesting the next time and try making your own scavenger hunt after that.
Have you been rewatching some of your favourite tv shows from the past? See if there’s a re-watch podcast to go along with what you’re watching. Podcasts (often hosted by the celebrities from the show) about cult hits like Scrubs, The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, One Tree Hill and more have been popping up online. These podcasts mean you can rewatch your old favourites in an all-new way, where you’ll notice things you may’ve missed before. Revisiting the past has never been more fun.
If you’re into gaming, there are also many games that play on this idea of variating the familiar by allowing you to unlock harder modes of levels you have already completed. If you’ve made cookies a bunch of times, make a giant pizza cookie the kids can decorate instead. If you like family zoom calls but you’re running of things to talk about, add a game of zoom trivia into the mix.
You can apply this idea to just about anything fun you’ve already been doing and enjoying for a shortcut to fun that goes further.
We hope you’re able to use these ideas to inspire more joy for yourself and your family, not just during lockdown, but on any day that you need an emotional lift.
Don’t forget you can reach out to the Mums of the Shire Community for a good old ear bend whenever you like but if your mental health is suffering and you need professional support or someone to talk to please call: