How to Break Free From the ‘Groundhog Day Effect’ (6 tips)
We are coming up to a year now of being frozen in time. In fact, it’s starting to feel very much like the start of the pandemic where the government are talking about maybe lifting restrictions if the cases continue to fall. Even though it’s lockdown number three and 15 million people have been vaccinated against the virus, it’s still not looking like we’ll see normality any time soon.
Whereas we could break up the monotony of everyday life before the pandemic, we can’t just take a quick trip out of town or spend an evening at a friend’s house for some variety. We are still faced with this vast expanse of time where we can’t punctuate the end of the day, never mind the end of the week.
So what can we do? How can we break free from this groundhog day feeling, so that we can muster up the energy to make it through the next few months?
6 Tips to Mix Things Up:
1) Create a routine and stick to it – it might be boring, but a routine gives you a specific start and finish to your day. Without it, you will just aimlessly float through the days and this will make that groundhog feeling worse.
2)Inject variety into your free time – while your routine during work hours may be the same each day, around that time is where you can be spontaneous and make each day different. While one evening, you may choose to take a bike ride, the next you could FaceTime a friend, take a bath or run some errands.
3) Pick a skill to master – mastering a skill doesn’t only stimulate our brains (which is essential for our mental health), but it also gives us a goal and allows us to progress with something. Improving with something makes us experience growth and gives us a sense of control which is essential in this environment.
4) Focus on exercise – exercise releases endorphins and serotonin (happy hormones); it helps us to sleep and actually gives us more energy. If you can, exercise for 10-30 minutes every day. You can mix it up with a walk one day, yoga the next, and a HIIT workout the next, whatever suits you.
5) Be there for others – while you might not feel like you have the energy, try helping others. Check-in with your parents and grandparents regularly during the week or research how you can virtually volunteer or help a cause. Being kind will give your days more meaning and it will help you and the people you’re helping feel good.
6) Seek help – if you’re struggling, don’t struggle alone. Ring a friend or seek support from your family. If you’d rather, reach out to an online Therapist. There are people who care about you and want to listen, and it’s okay to lean on them too. They might be able to provide you with some much-needed perspective.
Even Small Changes Can Go a Long Way
Some days will be harder than others, but even small changes can go a long way. Little things such as walking a different route every day can make you feel refreshed and ready to get back to work or juggling the family. Even if you feel like succumbing to that numbing and self-defeated feeling some days, try to do at least one thing that is different. You might just be surprised by the result.