Time to be honest

I’ve found it a challenge to write a positive blog post this week, against the restrictive backdrop of another lockdown and the unrest of the US election. The news is filled with so many all-consuming reasons to be miserable, and the presence of social media ensures that those stories are with us constantly.

However, one thing that has helped me is to remember the huge number of things which haven’t been banned or restricted, and to focus on the silver lining rather than the cloud.

There is no denying that times are tough for a lot of people at the moment, whether financially, physically or emotionally, but we still have a choice. We can choose to dwell on the circumstances which hold us back (and which are largely outside of our control), or we can choose to celebrate the good things which still can and do exist.

How to stay positive

Putting together a gratitude list has helped me to stay, if not persistently positive, then more optimistic than I might otherwise have been.

Here are my top 5 things to be thankful for, which cannot be touched by a pandemic or political unrest:

• Sunshine – bright, crisp winter days with sparkling frosts. A feast for the senses.
• Laughter – even if remote or socially distanced, there is nothing like a good belly laugh to lift your spirits.
• Kindness – nothing can take away the warm glow of doing something wonderful for someone else, or someone showing you that they care.
• Ingenuity – adversity brings out the inventor in us, prompting brilliant ideas and solutions that might otherwise have remained undiscovered.
• Love – whether across the miles or for those in our own households or support bubbles, love prevails.

Now, that might seem like a pretty sentimental list – and that’s because it is. It’s a list based on values, principles and the underlying things which I believe enable us to be happy, despite everything going on around us.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and I would love to hear about the things that keep you going through tough times. If you have any tips or suggestions that you would like to share, please get in touch.

Keeping a level head

Anxiety is a very real problem for many people right now, and if you are one of those people who is really struggling, then please do seek help. There is no shame in it and plenty of organisations that you can turn to.

We can all help ourselves to a certain degree by monitoring what we watch, what we read, and how long we spend seeking out information which reinforces our fears and worries. Surrounding ourselves as much as possible with positive influences and information will help our glasses stay half full, rather than half empty, and make us better equipped to cope with the world around us.

To seriously misquote Rudyard Kipling, ‘If you can keep your head when all others are losing theirs, you’ll be a survivor, my friend’.

Keep smiling.