We’ve had a difficult couple of weeks around the world. There’s lots of different, scary things going on, and in today’s social media world, it can be incredibly difficult to unplug and focus on your own happiness and mental health. This is essential though, for all of us. If you’re stuck in at home and looking to protect and maintain your happiness, here are a few tips and tricks to keep you on track and feeling happy.

Enforce Routines

The key word here is always going to be enforce. Routines are either a product of external stimuli or self-discipline. If you’re lacking in either department, you’re going to struggle to enforce any kind of lasting routine in your life right now. With troubling events and limitations on how we’d normally live, routine is one of the single most important things to focus on right now. Without routine, it’s next to impossible to avoid falling into behavioural ruts and problems.

Routines need to be reasonable and entirely feasible for you and your typical behaviour. If you’re someone who’s become adjusted to spending nine hours a day playing videogames, you cannot suddenly expect yourself to get up at six AM, exercise and then be frantically working for eight AM. That’s unreasonable. You’re setting yourself up to fail.

Produce a loose, flexible routine that you can stick to without feeling too restricted, live it for a few days, let it become stricter and then adjust if you want. Creating a functional, effective routine shouldn’t be a challenge, it should just be about focusing on what you need from your day and avoiding indulging in unhealthy behaviours, like obsessiveness or laziness.

Having a solid routine is known to be a potent anti-depressant. Simply going to bed and getting up at the same time daily is known, scientifically, to help with mental health issues. However, it’s vital to remember that people always overestimate what they can get done in a day. Conversely, we always underestimate what we can get done in a year. That’s something that bears thinking about, especially when it comes to focusing on a daily routine.

Focus on Your Needs

One key element when it comes to making sure you’re protecting your happiness through tough, changing times is always going to be prioritising your needs, physical, emotional, whatever. You need to make sure you’re caring for yourself like you would do anyone else you love or care for.

First step towards prioritising your needs is identifying them. You need to think about what you need, in every sense. Do you need nine hours sleep? A certain amount of social or romantic contact? Some treat foods? Time away from work? Somewhere separate to work?

All these are hugely valid questions when it comes to making sure that you’re getting everything you need. The fact is, if you struggle on, neglecting your own needs and desires, eventually, everything is going to fall apart and it’s not going to be sustainable. It goes back to focusing on what you can achieve in a year. Achieving big things across a year requires one thing, and it’s not overly disciplined, self-neglecting days, it’s consistency.

This is always going to be true, so make sure you look at what you need from your life, what you’ve always needed, where you go wrong and look to fulfil these needs and prioritise strategies that keep you happily moving forwards in your life. In spite of the troubling news, if you stop things bringing you down and look after yourself, you’ll move forward and be happy.

Guard Against Toxicity

We all have toxic elements in our life, whether they come in the form of our behaviour, family or friends. We all know when something toxic makes us feel bad, but we don’t always correctly understand the source of the upset. When you’re spending a lot of time at home and your normal routine is no longer in place, it becomes more important than ever to make sure that you’re prioritising avoiding toxic behaviours and people.

For instance, if you know that you get anxious when you procrastinate, that’s something you need to head off and put strategies in place to avoid. The same goes for things like comfort eating or taking negative feelings out on those around us.

continue to part 2