We can all probably agree that 2020 has been difficult, to say the least. With everything that’s going on in the world, a lot of people are looking for ways to feel happier right now. The good news? Dr.Joanna Petrides, a psychologist who specializes in anxiety and human behavior, says these simple changes may lift our spirits and help us become happier.
- Create an actual self-care routine- Taking care of yourself and your own needs should be a priority and Dr. Petrides says to get the most out of your self-care activity, make sure it’s something that “enriches you and feeds your soul.” That can be anything from gardening to calling your bestie to catch up, as long as it “gives you a good feeling.”
- Don’t look at your phone when you wake up- So many of us do this first thing, but it can be bad for our mental health. Dr. Petrides warns that emails and messages “create this sudden surge of to-dos and can really put us in a mood even before our day has begun.” So try to hold off on checking in until the start of your work day, or at least until you’ve had coffee.
- Prioritize pleasure, and not the to-do list- It sounds great, but how do we make that happen? She suggests starting with your “must have” - the thing you’re not willing to give up or miss, then shifting your schedule around to balance other responsibilities.
- Go outside and get lost on a hike- It’s not just about getting out and moving, straying from your regular route brings benefits as well. "This act of being mindful let’s you switch off the background static that’s usually rolling through your mind." Dr. Petrides says. "So whatever you do to get away, make sure you do it fully, and give it your 100% attention.”
- Remove toxic relationships and draining activities from your life- Focus your time and energy on the people, relationships and commitments that lift you up and encourage you, not hold you back. If you feel dread thinking about them, it may be time to reevaluate.
- Always practice creativity- We spend a lot of time using the analytical side of the brain, but Dr. Petrides explains that it’s important to do things that get your creative juices flowing to boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment.