Health Mental health General wellbeing 6 small ways to turn around your day The rise in stress and mental health issues has led to a significant drop in productivity and makes doing large tasks a lot more difficult. However, these small and little wins for the day can easily boost one’s mood and have a positive impact on their mental health in regard to productivity. By Navi Singh In the ongoing pandemic, it can be hard to find the motivation to want to commit to tasks that seem so large and overwhelming. More often than not, the isolation, lack of connection, and rise of mental health issues in the LGBT community have been shown to lead to a lack of productivity and early symptoms of depression based on the enclosed environment from the pandemic. The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor found that in the “January 2021 period, three-quarters of LGBT people (74%) reported that worry and stress from the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health compared to half (49%) of non-LGBT people.” These large tasks can make it hard for some to go on with their day in a way that seems to be productive when they feel it is not. Sometimes, there is too much effort required to want to do anything. However, consider these five small and quick tasks from LGBT HERO to boost your self-esteem and productivity for the day. Task 1: Wake up; Get Some Fresh Air Waking up can be difficult for many, especially for those in the LGBTQ+ community that are dealing with anxiety and depression. At times, all one wants to do is lay in bed and do nothing. However, this type of behavior will feed into an enclosed and isolated environment that will negatively impact one’s mental health even more. So instead, let’s try to get up, stretch those limbs, freshen up, and go outside on a walk to get some fresh air. A calm and relaxing walk has the potential to improve your cardiovascular health and make those joints and muscles stronger by releasing natural pain-killing endorphins to the body! Overall, your mood will light up. After about 20 minutes when you come back, you might want to treat yourself to a nice cup of tea or coffee, kickstarting your day the right way. Task 2: Send That Email (maybe just the important ones)! After a nice and brisk walk, the most dreadful thing in the world is seeing a pile of emails in your inbox just waiting to be opened and responded to. However, take five minutes of your time and simply look through these emails and respond to those you see fit. You don’t have to respond to every single email. Just respond to those you find important. Not taking the time to do anything with those emails will only lead to more time spent on them sitting in your inbox and more time spent thinking about sending those emails. So take five minutes and complete a little milestone for the day. Task 3: Read or Listen Whether one is in school, working at the office, or any job so to speak, reading is a necessary aspect to make sure one understands their tasks and what to do with their knowledge. However, too many, this type of reading is no fun. It is more like academic reading or the reading you were told to do for homework. This type of reading seems so mundane that it can make you feel that you are dragging yourself throughout the day. So instead, let’s simply take ten minutes, pick up our favorite book or one that we want to read, and start reading. But as stated before, reading can be exhausting. Other alternatives to reading could be things such as listening to an audiobook, podcast, video essay, or any form of listening. Read and listen for enjoyment; for the little details that don’t matter but make the story interesting; because you want to read or listen and not because you have to. Ten minutes a day in a new book or audio file and you'll be onto the next and feel more productive in no time. Task 4: Stretch Amid this pandemic and with everything going remote, sitting down for hours at a time can be exhausting and painful for your joints and back. To add to this, the lack of using these joints will eventually lead to more stress and pain over time. Instead, let's take five to ten minutes and stretch those muscles and use those joints. When you feel as if you are completing nothing for the day, a simple stretch can have the capacity to elevate your mood mentally and improve your health. For example, to help your lower back out, try doing a cobra pose. If your legs feel stiff, just bend over and try to stretch your toes. There is no wrong way to stretch; simply work on what you think needs to be worked on. Simple exercise like this can boost the brain plasticity and neural connections in your brain. So next time you stretch, think about all the productivity you are getting done with a couple of simple poses. Task 5: Hobbies When you feel that you have not been doing much during the day, brainstorm the hobbies you have always wanted to do or have been neglecting to do. Things such as a simple journal entry, listening to new music, doodling some art, or anything that you have been working on can change both your mood and your thoughts on productivity. A hobby can be used for a myriad of things from learning a new skill that can be applied in real life or simply want the time to enjoy a task that doesn't feel like excessive work. What hobby you choose to do does not matter, but the benefit you get from partaking in a new activity will do wonders for you. Even when you feel as if you have not been as productive as you wanted to be, spending ten quick minutes on your craft will help boost your need for productivity. Task 6: Call One of Your Loved Ones Increasing connections in different environments help protect LGBTQ+ youth from negative mental health outcomes. Connectedness is defined in many ways: school, family, home, foster family, friend groups, and society in general. The increased isolation from the pandemic and the increase of lack of productivity due to the inability to connect to these communities has led to a harder time for LGBTQ+ people to be able to stay productive on days where it is difficult to do anything. However, talking to a loved one, whether five minutes or an hour, a phone call or text can lead to a hopeful transition into connecting back your loved ones from a period of dreadful isolation. The pandemic has been hard for many but the impact it has had on the LBGT community should not go unnoticed. The rise in stress and mental health issues has led to a significant drop in productivity and makes doing large tasks a lot more difficult. However, these small and little wins for the day can easily boost one’s mood and have a positive impact on their mental health in regard to productivity. Moreover, the following links are guides that relate to this article on the impact of how isolation has affected LGBTQ+ people and its influence on productivity. What's Next? SUPPORT: If you just need someone to talk to, you can call Samaritans on 08457 909090 or LGBT Switchboard on 0300 330 0630. You can find more LGBTQ+ support services on our Find Help page. The LGBT HERO forums are here for queer people to connect, ask personal questions and seek advice.