10 things to do instead of doomscrolling

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When the world feels overwhelming, it’s easy to fall into a scroll hole. Here we look at some alternatives

10 things to do instead of doomscrolling

The news at the moment is… a lot, right? Both in the UK and globally there seems to be terrible thing after terrible thing unfolding and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it at times. In a group chat with friends recently we admitted we’ve been doomscrolling more, and it seems we’re not alone.

Recent research from Bupa has found a 247% increase in Google searches for ‘terrible morning anxiety’, increasing significantly since the start of 2022, and experts believe doomscrolling has a part to play.

I can certainly relate - scrolling first thing in the morning can be an easy way to peak anxiety and start the day off on a sour note. Here, we share some tips to help you stop doomscrolling, and the thing I’ve found the most helpful in changing my own habit is replacing it with something else.

So, what can we do instead of doomscrolling for a calmer morning? I’m glad you asked...

1. Read uplifting newsletters

This is my current go-to. It still involves reaching for my phone (so it doesn’t feel too different to my beloved scrolling habit) but it’s more intentional. I go straight to the newsletter folder in my email app and have a read. The trick here is to ensure you’re subscribed to newsletters that leave you feeling inspired. Some of our favourites include Emma Gannon’s The Hyphen, TED recommends and, of course, Happiful.

2. Scroll a happier feed

Social media can be a positive place to scroll, we just may need to do a little tweaking. Have an audit on who you’re following and let go of those accounts that don’t make you feel good. If you’re on Twitter, why not make a list full of accounts that feel like sunshine? If you’re on Instagram, curate your ‘following’ feed and head straight there.

3. Read something beautiful

Sometimes we need to fill our brains with something beautiful to counteract the doom. Pick up a book of poetry or essays that helps you see the good in the world. I loved Ross Gay’s Book of Delights - the perfect antidote to doomscrolling.

4. Meditate

When overwhelm creeps up, our minds crave space. Instead of filling it with fear by doomscrolling, try opening up a little whitespace. Meditation can be a great tool for this, or even just taking a few slow breaths. This can calm our nervous system and give us a moment of pause before launching into our day.

5. Make something

Being creative and making something is a brilliant way to lift your mood. Boosting confidence and giving you a sense of achievement, making something mindfully can also help ease stress. Draw a pattern, add a stitch to your sewing project, write a piece of flash fiction, anything to get those creative juices flowing.

6. Answer these questions...

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What actually is a growth mindset and how can you start using it today?

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If you find yourself saying ‘I can’t’ more than ‘I can’, getting clammy hands at the thought of a different direction in the workplace, or marvelling at the abilities of others around you while berating your own skills, it might be time to consider adjusting your mindset…

What actually is a growth mindset and how can you start using it today?

I’m sure I’m not the only person who, when faced with a completely new and seemingly daunting direction at work or in my personal life, feels cold fear flood through my veins. In recent months, I’ve encountered this sensation many times, as I’ve started to produce videos for Happiful – something I have very little previous experience of. As a result, my imposter syndrome, fear of failure, and discomfort, has been at an all-time high as I’ve waded through editing tutorials, tried to understand YouTube algorithms, and repeatedly faced my own image on the screen (not an easy task with a pesky inner critic ever-present on my shoulder).

“What an amazing opportunity to learn another skill!” my friend Becky says, smiling, when I tell her what I’m up to over coffee. Her response is positive, immediate, and in no way trying to mollify me, as I haven’t yet uttered the words: “It’s just so out of my comfort zone.”

I’m pleasantly taken aback and curious about the difference in our viewpoints. While trying to work on my own misgivings, I come to understand that Becky’s response (and her demeanour in general) is indicative of someone with a ‘growth mindset’, and I believe that I’m predisposed to wandering over to the ‘fixed mindset’ side of the street a bit more regularly than I’d like. So what can I do to change that, and is it even possible to?

Transformative coach Ali McNab believes that the transition from fixed to growth is indeed possible, and it all begins with an understanding of what those phrases really mean, and how they play out for us.

“This terminology was derived from the works of American psychologist Carol Dweck, who has written many books on the subject, having studied human development and personality,” Ali explains. “The theory looks at the way we believe in, or perceive, our intelligence and abilities, and the impact this has on our behaviours, and how we respond to challenges and opportunities to learn.”

Ali says that having a fixed mindset, in particular, can hold us back from evolving and expanding our skills. “With a fixed mindset we believe that our intelligence and abilities are static; we have a set amount and that’s it. We think our successes are due to a natural ability, and it can’t be grown or changed. We believe that we can either do something, or we can’t do something, and nothing can change that.”

A fear of failure, and avoidance of challenges that are outside our comfort zone, can come hand in hand with a fixed mindset, due to the fact that we might be scared of making mistakes or looking stupid. People operating from a fixed mindset may also give up more easily, see effort as pointless, and shy away from feedback.

Learn how to reinvent your morning as a busy parent

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Whether it’s starting your day at 5am, or fitting in a workout before breakfast, we’re all well-versed in the best daily habits for getting your morning off to a great start. And while the advice might be well-intended, unfortunately it’s just not always realistic for busy parents. So, how can you reinvent your morning while taking care of small humans, too?

Learn how to reinvent your morning as a busy parent

For many parents, the morning is the most stressful part of the day – whether that’s due to a rush to drop children off at childcare, negotiating breakfast with a toddler who just threw their toast on the floor, or trying to function on a few hours of broken sleep. Establishing routines as a family is actually really important; family routines have been linked to social skills and academic success. But, with busy lives, mornings can also help you carve out some important time for the day ahead.

The sticking point is that, all too often, the suggestions we read don’t seem feasible when caring for small children. After all, how are we supposed to do a workout or make a smoothie with a two-year-old glued to our hip? The good news is there are some simple changes you can make to reinvent your morning routine as a parent – here are some of our top tips.

1. Get up before your children

We know what you’re thinking: your children already have you rising early, but, when their sleep is in a routine, try setting your alarm clock just 10 minutes before you know they’ll stir, to help start the day with calm rather than chaos. Use that time however you’d like: to make a to-do list for the day ahead; to catch up on the news; to have a shower in peace; or to finally drink a cup of tea before it gets cold.

“If you can create some time for yourself to wake up before your children, then that’s great and can be really helpful,” says psychotherapist Sophie Harris. “However, there will likely be many times that this doesn’t happen for various factors. If this is the case, don’t beat yourself up.”

2. Get the kids involved

Many things on our morning to-do list don’t seem achievable when looking after children, leading us to start our day with a feeling of missing out. But can you get the kids involved? If you’re determined to start the day with exercise, there are workouts that can be done safely when wearing your baby or, for toddlers and preschoolers, head to YouTube – they’ll love the Hey Duggee Joe Wicks series, which means you can exercise alongside them while they burn off energy. This can apply for other things too; get the whole family out to walk the dog or, for slightly older children, involve them in simple chores and making breakfast.

3. Prep the night before

“If you have somewhere to be, organise your things the night before where possible,” Sophie suggests. “This can help reduce the overwhelming feeling that may come from busy mornings.”

Of course, when the house is finally quiet, the last thing you want to do is delve into chores

Why and how you can take an adult gap year to help discover your true desires

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Taking a gap year is no longer just for school-leavers or recent graduates. A ‘grown-up’ gap year can help you work out what you want in life, at any time of life

Why and how you can take an adult gap year to help discover your true desires

I took my first gap year when I was 19, just after sixth form. I took my second in my late 20s following a messy break-up and being made redundant. My third? My husband and I are planning to sail around the Mediterranean to celebrate a big birthday. But I’m not a permanent student or living off a trust fund; I’m part of the steadily growing trend for ‘grown-up’ gap years.

Although there are no official figures for how many of us are now taking adult gap years, a quick Google reveals the explosion of travel companies aimed at older ‘gappers’. Social media is also filled with photos and updates from older generations taking a year off. Some of us have reached a natural break in our lives, like turning 30, 40, or 50, while others are discovering there’s more to life than the standard nine-to-five.

If you’ve ever thought about taking a life break, but are put off by the thought of travelling solo surrounded by amorous A-level students, then a grown-up gap year may be exactly what you need.

Why and how you can take an adult gap year to help discover your true desires

Why take an adult gap year?

There are many different reasons to take a gap year. “You might get itchy feet, or start wondering if there’s something else out there,” says Gemma Nixon, a life coach from Durham, who’s also taken three grown-up gap years. “You could be getting married and decide to take a longer honeymoon before you have children, or plan to take the children travelling while they’re still little.”

Your desire for a gap year could also take you by surprise. Gemma says: “You might develop a sense that you’re not 100% content in your life, but you’re not sure why.”

For me, my first gap year felt like a natural point at which I could take time off to backpack around South East Asia, but my second was more about helping me work out where I wanted to go next in life. “A gap year doesn’t have to ‘bookend’ parts of your life, but can offer new dimensions to it,” says Gemma.

This yearning to take a different path is inspiring more of us to make the break post-pandemic. “As people have gone back into shops and offices, they realise their ‘old’ life is no longer enough,” Gemma says. “Many loved spending so much time with their family, and want to enjoy more experiences together, or they’ve decided there’s more to life and now’s the time to enjoy it.”

Others may have planned for years to take a grown-up gap year. This could be after retirement, getting the all-clear after an illness, or to celebrate a milestone event, like a significant birthday or the children leaving home.

What to do during a grown-up gap year

A gap year isn’t limited to full moon parties in Thailand, or fruit-picking in Australia – although if that sounds appealing, go for it! You could use the opportunity to explore a new career, or put more time into a

6 films that will change your life, for the better

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Settle down with these thought-prompting films

6 films that will change your life, for the better

Films have the ability to change our lives. With stories that open up other experiences to us, and characters who navigate the forces that we also face in our own lives, the right film at the right time can be transformative.

Here, we’re rounding up six films that will change your life for the better. From surreal moments that invite us to take a step back to reflect on the world around us, to intimate character studies that can teach us about the choices that we make, open your mind with these options.

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Since its release, reviewers can’t stop talking about Everything Everywhere All at Once, and for good reason. When an interdimensional rupture unravels reality, Evelyn must fight bizarre threats from the multiverse. What might appear at first glance to be a larger-than-life surreal, action-packed thrill-ride, has some incredibly potent messages about family, love, and the lives we choose to live. You’ll laugh and cry in equal measure, and it might even prompt you to reflect on what truly matters in your own life.


2. Amélie (2001)

For anyone who has ever felt stuck on the sidelines, like you don’t quite fit in, and for the introverts quietly going about their lives, this film will make you feel seen like never before. Watch as Amélie makes the decision to fix other people’s lives – but her endeavour leads her to discover much more…


3. The Kings of Summer (2013)

There’s something truly special about coming-of-age films done right, and The Kings of Summer is exactly that. Three teenage boys decide to leave their dysfunctional families behind and live an isolated life in the woods. With plenty of laughs, and a careful look at the relationships we have with our families, this film is the perfect prompt for reflection on the things we’re all running from.


4. Swiss Army Man (2016)

A film like nothing else you’ve seen, with career-topping performances from Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, Swiss Army Man follows Hank, as he's stranded on an island. He notices a body, which slowly starts to come to life as the two embark on a fantastical adventure. It’s surreal, moving, and sometimes uncomfortable, and it will have you questioning the reality each of us live in.

Content warning: This film contains references to suicide that some viewers may find distressing.

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