The past year has taken its toll on our mental and physical health – as well as affecting our relationships and our finances. This has left the majority of us hoping for clear signs that 2021 will be the year when we’ll finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the future, it can sometimes feel difficult to stay focussed, motivated, or inspired. While this is perfectly natural, there are a few things that you can do to foster hope, and to help the rest of the winter months feel a little brighter.
On that note, here are 4 ways to find inspiration during these difficult times.
When it comes to feeling motivated, our health can play a significant role. For instance, if we feel tired or run down, then we might have a lower mood, and feel less like doing anything that doesn’t involve curling up under a blanket.
When our mental and physical health is suffering, it can also make it more difficult to enjoy the little things, like going for a relaxing walk or cooking our favourite food. And it’s these little things that tend to keep us feeling positive and inspired.
Looking after our physical health generally means making sure that we’re getting enough exercise, sleep, and nutritious food, to keep your energy levels up and your immune system boosted. If this feels like a lot to tackle all at once, then why not start by being more active?
Doing regular exercise can help us sleep better and encourage us to make healthier food choices.
When it comes to looking after our mental health, we can often help ourselves by learning how best to manage feelings of stress and anxiety, making time to do activities that we enjoy, and trying to stay as connected as possible to the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or future.
It can be difficult to stay motivated and inspired if our immediate environment feels negative, which is why it’s a good idea to try and create as much positivity around you as possible.
This could mean limiting how much time you spend listening to and reading negative news. Or choosing to fill your mind with information from positive people, books, and films instead. It could also mean paying closer attention to how you talk.
For example, do you spend a lot of time criticizing yourself or those around you? If yes, then try your best not to. When you feel yourself going to think or say something negative, why not stop and consider how you could change it by putting a positive slant on that thought or comment instead?
And if you can’t, then consider whether it’s something that is really worth a thought at all. Taking more control over negative thoughts and comments can be challenging, but you might be surprised at how positive your outlook on life can become once you do.
The same can be said about the people you talk to or spend the most time with. If you spend a lot of time interacting with people who have a tendency to moan or complain at every opportunity, then you might find that you too begin to feel incredibly negative yourself.
It can be helpful to consider who you speak to most and how the attitudes of these individuals make you feel. Then, if possible, try to spend more time talking to the people in your social network that speak and act positively.
There are often people in our lives who can do wonders for helping us to feel motivated and inspired, and it’s important to nurture our relationships with them.
Although the future feels uncertain, this doesn’t mean that you should let go of your goals or ambitions, however large or small these might be. Goals and ambitions are what drive us forward. They give us meaning and purpose and encourage us to get up and out of bed every day.
Of course, some of our goals might be on hold at the moment while we’re spending more time at home. But we can still take certain steps to prepare ourselves for life post-lockdown. This could mean taking the time to reflect on what you really want from this chapter of your life, and what your interests and passions are.
Or perhaps it might mean arming yourself with new knowledge and skills that you can take out into the world once you’re able to. We might not be able to take the large strides towards our goals and ambitions that we would usually – but often, we can still take small steps to help us inch closer to where we want to be.
Creating a vision board is a great way to stay focussed on your goals and keep hope alive. It can also act as a daily reminder that our current situation isn’t permanent.
Whether you read a non-fiction book about a protagonist who overcomes a significant challenge to reach a better day, or a fictional autobiography about an individual that you admire, who has been through life’s ups and downs and always comes out stronger on the other side, reading is a fantastic source of inspiration that can leave us feeling uplifted and hopeful.
While our world might feel much smaller at the moment, because we’re spending so much time at home, reading can help to expand it by taking us to faraway places, introducing us to new possibilities, and showing us different perspectives on the world.
Have you struggled to stay inspired over the last year? Do you have any additional tips that have helped you stay motivated? Please share them with the community!