Updated: Aug 4, 2020
I would like to begin by saying that: finding positivity does not come at a cost of suppressing negativity. We live with both, always. Emotions, hormones, doubts, fears, hopes, passion. It is healthy and normal. Yet most of us will be guilty of honouring the negative side too much 'airtime' in our minds, so remember to find positivity. Seek it out.
Because you do deserve it.
There's no denying that the last few months have been a test on our mental and emotional stamina. In my Discussion with Michael Watson we touched on the effects of the uncertainty and pressures of current times as we begin to ease Lockdown restrictions.
When the anxieties about public health, restrictions and isolation have reared their ugly heads, I return to three guiding principles amidst the Corona-chaos;
Me and my partner are safe; we are healthy and have stable work and a home,
My family are safe and I can contact them anytime,
I can message or call my friends anytime.
I know that not everyone is fortunate to have even these basic principles though, and your principles may look different to mine. My guiding principles are therefore a reminder to be grateful. What are yours - when was the last time you had to ground yourself to them?
On the other end of the scale, with social media ever-present, it can seem like a never-ending race to demonstrate who has the 'happiest', 'fullest' life. Comparison really is the thief of all joy. We can't be seen to be too happy on social media at risk of appearing ignorant or narcissistic, and we can't be too sad for fear of being boring or melancholy?
In times like this it can seem too easy to allow destructive thoughts to filter in to our mindspace*, I know I have experienced a few over the last few weeks. Yet .. there's always a 'good news story' happening somewhere, so, what is your good news story?
One #humpday Wednesday, I asked some of my followers on Instagram some questions via my Story feature. I wanted to help people stop for just a moment and consciously acknowledge some positive aspects in their life, perhaps when things might not seem so positive.
Tell me something that made you happy this week?
I ran my first 5km today
When my daughter said there was no one she'd rather have spent lockdown with than me
Getting to go back to the gym after having to wait for my COVID results to come back negative!
I got test results that said a lump I found is not cancerous
Pubs open in 2 days
Back to work off furlough
I found a hidden snack size snickers bar in the back of the cupboard
Getting a hair appointment booked!
Seeing you! (although was that last week..)
I watched a video of Benedict Cumberbatch trying to say 'penguins', best thing everrr!!
BodyJam 93 practice
Have my dog over for the week, happiest when he is here
Getting back to exercise after a week off (Metafit last night killed!) but made me feel fab! Also toilet training our 9 week old pup has been such a proud moment!
Sunrise on Ben Vrackie
Got an interview tomorrow for a senior job
Got a Costa coffee... sad I know
A new piece of furniture
It's clear that people were willing to share their honest experiences. The range here is pretty big - joys like getting a coffee, watching a sunrise, or experiencing a health gratitude .. What I did not ask was what were the negatives they were experiencing right now, this is just one side of the story. But the point is, if you feel like you just can't find anything positive right now - just take another look - there's always something no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant.
Inspiration can come from many places too, even when it seems like it's not coming from within. Be mindful.
Tell me something that has inspired you this week?
Podcasts featuring strong women
The hope that the new cystic fibrosis drug that's all over the news is bringing to people
My partner Nicola
My best friend Kelly's fitness journey this year losing 10kg and smashing her goals!
Looking at old weight loss photos of myself!
You! Plus slowly starting to see small changes to my body
The kindness of others
During these times picking up your chin and looking forward can help too; purpose is one way to initiate a positive mindset.
Tell me something you hope to achieve (or hope to achieve) this week?
Get my fitness mojo back
Go to the pub
Surviving a week back at work, hitting 18-20k steps each day
Ran a 12.5km ... longest run in over 8 years
Move my lazy butt back into doing more exercise with no gyms. I miss them!
Complete half of my CIPD report, exercise at least 3 times, take a nice walk!
Getting my ass into gear & get my steps in
10,000 steps each day in July plus 1 workout per day
Drink more water
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those that gave a response. Some of these are quite humbling responses, and I hope that if you find yourself relating to any of these then it gives you some encouragement.
One mantra I like to remind myself of is to try to seek opportunity in adversity, find that silver lining if you will. Have you managed to seek out any 'opportunities'? What has been your 'silver lining' recently?
I would not feel right if I didn't also mention the Black Lives Matter movement gaining traction in recent weeks as the Coronavirus pandemic is only but one important matter occupying the headlines. To find positivity or opportunities in this might seem uncomfortable but I hope this time we live in right now will be historic. As a white person, I have taken this time to educate myself through books, television/ film and listening to BIPOC voices via social media channels. Other [white] people may choose not to do this through ignorance or scepticism - but I urge you to allow these messages to infiltrate your consciousness. It may feel uncomfortable or beyond our control right now, but awareness and education in itself is a contribution. Do not let white fragility be the reason [we] can't be part of the change.
It's not my intention to fill this blog with cliches. Finding positivity is a very personal task, and is specific to your own circumstances. So I apologise if you came here with the expectation of hard and fast answers.. cheat codes. There is none. Guiding principles and mindfulness has been very helpful for me (plus the odd Fab lolly) but I challenge you to find, or share with us, what works for you.
* Next week will be continuing this theme with a follow-up to this post named 'Self Care Central'. I hope you enjoy it.
Despite social distancing, Zoom calls and instant messages, the last few weeks in Lockdown have been quite lonely for most. Remember that friends are just a message away if you need to talk, or if you need to, talk to me on Instagram.