It’s that time of year again. I swear January is the looooooongest month of the year, EVERY year. It’s the month when ‘new year, new me’ pledges are born, only to fizzle out a few weeks in, and the month when some (crazy in my opinion) people even say goodbye to alcohol for a month. It’s also generally a miserable month weather wise, short, gloomy days with long dark nights, and notoriously not the most fruitful financially, unless you sell face masks and hand sanitiser. And then of course, lest we forget, this year, as well as all of the above, in the UK we are living with yet another full lockdown, constant news stories of doom and gloom, and worries for ourselves and our families health, and finances, as the black cloud of COVID-19 *still* looms oppressively above us.
So where is the silver lining? Well, I’m the first to admit here, that I have continually struggled to find it so far this year. I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder most winters, and January this year has not been the easiest to drag myself back into the realm of positivity. Luckily however, I HAVE managed to stay mostly in the light, and I thought in this blog, seen as though none of us are going anywhere fast at the minute, I would share with you some things that have helped me find silver linings, and keep pursuing goals for the rest of the year.
Top Tips for a More Positive Lockdown Experience!
- Start a Daily Gratitude Practice – Now this is a good one. There are a few different ways to go about it, but to keep it simple, at the end of everyday, I write down 3-5 things that I am grateful for that day. This can be anything from an amazing meal (mine often revolves around food), watching the sun come up, bumping into a friend..anything that day that made you happy. After a few days you will find yourself looking for the positive in lots of everyday things…and you will be much happier for it!
- Exercise- I’m very lucky, between the horses and Mavis, I’m definitely provided with daily exercise and activity, which really helps- however another practice absolutely contributing to my sanity, is a daily yoga practice. Aside from the physical benefits, yoga has a way of making you slow down and focus on the present moment, and the emphasis on breath work and breathing has a profound effect on your mood. Trust me on this one. If you don’t do it, you definitely should. I recommend YouTube videos with Yoga with Adriene, whom I’ve been following for years. She has videos for every mood or physical requirement, short ones, long ones, and they are all free! So no excuses!
- Continue to Make Plans – This pandemic will end, things will get better, and life will go on. It’s important we all remember that, and I think it’s also important that we still make plans and continue to strive for success. I have continued to plan events for this year, if I need to cancel or postpone them, then so be it. I think it’s important that we all have something to strive for and look forward to, so keep riding your horses, keep prepping and keep learning!
- Visualise Success – I’ve found it hard this last year or so to keep up momentum. I started out with so much energy and enthusiasm launching Idyllwild Horsemanship, I had so many plans and dreams, only to watch most of them fizzle out because of the pandemic. Working to keep them alive has been difficult, and something that has helped me (and hopefully will help you) has been visualising success. Visualisation has proven to be a powerful tool amongst athletes and many highly successful people across the globe. Studies have shown that visualisation increases performance by improving motivation, coordination and concentration. It also aids in relaxation and helps reduce fear and anxiety. Visualisation can start with something as simple as taking 5 minutes first thing in the morning to visualise having a good day. What did you have for breakfast, what did it taste like…your commute to work, green lights all the way, how was your work with your horse today, etc etc. It can be a powerful tool when used correctly!
- Use This Time For Self Growth – I’ve spent a lot of time working on ‘myself’ and my attitude to life and all its happenings over the last year or so. Knowing yourself and understanding how you work and why, is an invaluable tool, and being self aware is also incredibly helpful when working with your horses. I highly recommend listening to as many podcasts as possible and reading some good old ‘self help’ and personal growth books. I’ve devoured quite a few recently and it’s really helped to broaden my mind. Some brilliant podcasts include The Rachel Hollis Podcast, The Mark Groves Podcast, and for some more horse influenced podcasts about horse people and their development, I recommend Let Freedom Rein Podcast and the new Believe Equestrian Podcast is also very good! Books that have influenced and inspired me include ‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero and Make it Happen by Jordanna Levin.
- Your Support Network- A good support network is crucial right now. Felling abit odd or fed up? Talk to a friend or family member about it. We are ALL up and down right now. That’s ok. As everyone keeps saying right now, it’s OK not to be OK. It’s true. A mistake I have made recently has been trying to force myself into thinking positively and talking positively aaaall the time, even when I feel rubbish about life. While positive thinking and looking for silver linings is definitely helpful, repressing feeling rubbish, and not letting yourself talk about it, is definitely not. So let it out, and by doing so, you will then make room for the positive bits in life, that are definitely there if you look for them.
So that’s what I’ve been doing- and it has all definitely been helpful, I hope some of it will be helpful to you too!
I’ll sign off now with the news that I’ve decided to make my one blog a month into two blogs a month, which will include a regular one like this, and I’m going to start sharing excerpts from a previous (and rather long) article that I wrote for Equine Distance Learning back in 2019, documenting my travels and journey with horses, culminating in setting up the business in 2020. I figured we could all do with abit of escapism right now!
As always, I appreciate any questions or comments, and can be found and contacted either on my website, or all the usual social media platforms.
Thanks for reading and over and out!