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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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