Alex B Cann column: Ways to stay positive

We all need a little positivity right now in the midst of another lockdown so, in his latest column, Tameside Radio Breakfast presenter Alex B Cann has some great tips you can try...

I remember when January used to be a quiet time of year in terms of the news cycle. 

We are barely three weeks into 2021, and already we’ve seen the heart of American democracy being smashed up by a ragbag collection of conspiracy theorists, a new President elected barely a fortnight later, first dose vaccinations in the UK passing the four million mark and Storm Christoph bringing flooding and two days of torrential rain to Tameside and Glossop. So much for a post-Christmas lull!

Staying positive is a real struggle for all of us at the moment in the face of a relentless cycle of doom and gloom in the national news. I talked a bit last week about trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. 

So-called ‘doom scrolling’ on social media certainly doesn’t help, and you can find yourself dragged into the cesspit of negative commentary really easily. 

In fact, it took my wife Sofia to bravely say to me earlier this week that I had got very negative about the world and for me to take stock.

I’m writing this week’s column listening to Air’s amazing Moon Safari album. It never fails to put a little glow into my heart, and sparks memories of carefree days studying at university in Liverpool. Well, drinking and studying.

Music is a huge mood enhancer, which is why I always like to play such a wide mix on my shows on Tameside Radio. I’ve always been a ferocious consumer of news, and with the death toll from coronavirus remaining bleakly high, it’s impossible not to feel at times like all of this is a never ending nightmare. The innovation and determination of science to find several vaccines is nothing short of amazing, though, and the roll-out here in Tameside seems to be continuing at an incredible pace, according to the daily updates we received from Doctor Rick for the radio.

Top tips

To try and help find that light during the dark winter months, I’ve compiled a list of six things to help you too:

1) Starting a new book and quickly realising you love it. I’ve just started ‘Rules For Perfect Murders’ by Peter Swanson, an author I absolutely love. Crime fiction is a genre I find perfect for escapism, plus it’s extremely satisfying when the loose ends are tied up neatly in the book’s story.

2) Texting a friend who you’ve not been in touch with for a while. I guess in 2021, WhatsApp is more likely, but making contact with someone who’s fallen off your radar is really enjoyable. It might make their day too!

3) A new pen. We can’t share pens at Tameside Radio due to the pandemic; this provides a perfect excuse to buy a shiny new one.

4) Avoid the rolling news channels. The endless speculation can get more wearying than the Eastenders omnibus. I still watch a daily news programme, but have cut the viewing time right down.

5) Write a letter using your shiny new pen! Royal Mail have been real stars during the pandemic, and imagine getting some post that wasn’t a bill or yet another impulse Amazon purchase. Letter writing is something I’m keen to do my bit to revive this year. I also still rent DVDs by post, because I like the old fashioned nature of the whole thing. Shame Blockbuster is no longer around, but I guess they would have had to quarantine all the most popular VHS titles anyway!

6) Don’t read the comments under news articles if you’re having a wobbly day. It will only wind you up more. Instead, put on your favourite fluffy pyjamas and make a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Go for a bracing walk. 

It’s Burns Night on Monday, so I might even attempt our very own Lisa Burns’ recipe in the Weekender section this week! 

I will 100 per cent be opening the nice bottle of whisky which Sofia bought me for Christmas. Here’s to little acts of positivity. 

Cheers to that.

You can listen to Alex every weekday from 7am to 11am and on the 'Super Scoreboard' show on Saturdays from 3pm to 7pm, on Tameside Radio 103.6FM. 

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