How to find hope when times are hard
Happy New Year everybody! Though I'm guessing it doesn't feel particularly joyful at the moment for many of us. It looks like the hangover from 2020 is going to be drag on a little longer.
At times like this, it's really hard to be hopeful. Most of us are living under very tight restrictions, just like we were back in March 2020, plus we had the least Christmassy Christmas for a very long time. Nearly a year has passed and it feels like we're back at Square One.
However, it's at times like these, we need to hold onto hope. Hope that one day life will be back to normal and this will all be a distant memory and a few pages in a history book.
This all sounds a bit easier-said-than-done because manifesting hope out of thin air might feel a bit futile. So here's a few tips and reminders to make finding hope a little bit easier:
Consider how different things are
When we were in lockdown back in March, Coronavirus was a phantom disease that we knew very little about. Now we know a LOT more about it, and know what measures we can take to protect ourselves. Doctors have tried-and-tested methods of treating it. And not only that, we have TWO vaccines that are available to us. It might feel like Square One, but it really isn't. There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Surround yourself with optimism
Boris's speech last night, I watched the news for the first time in about two weeks and I felt like a bowling ball had been dropped on my chest. The news is depressing and heavy. With most of us in lockdown, there's very little news, and most of the news is meaningless conjecture which fuels our worries. We don't need to be consuming this pessimism and negativity every day. Read positive books, watch TV shows which uplift you, unfollow social media accounts which drag you down and leave you riddled with anxiety. Replace all the negativity with optimism and hope will develop a lot more naturally.
Spend time living in the moment
In a world of uncertainty, the present moment is one guarantee we have. Embrace this mindful way of living and focus on the here and now. Enjoy savouring the last few sweets in the Quality Street tin, feel every drop of water that trickles over you in the shower, marvel at the beautiful frosty mornings. This will help you to naturally feel more optimistic and focus on the good stuff.
Put what's out of your control to one side and focus on what you CAN control
Your mindset, how you fuel your body, who you spend time with, how you spend your free time. These are all things you can control, and you have the autonomy to make decisions to do things which nurture and support you. Diverting your energy to the areas of your life that are within your control make it so much easier to handle the ups and downs of the world, because with every new dose of chaos and frustration comes the gentle realisation that it's beyond our control and it's ok.
Set time aside to worry
This might sound counter productive and a little bizarre, but doing this actually helps you to worry less. Set aside 15 or 20 minutes every day to pour all your fears and concerns out onto paper. Firstly, this will stop them cluttering up your head and free yourself from having them constantly swirling around your head and weighing you down. And secondly, it allows you to view them with a bit of distance and a renewed perspective. You might even be able to come up with actions to solve them and they might not seem as big as they did when they were bouncing around your mind.
If you're not feeling particularly hopeful and the thought forcing optimistic feels futile and exhausting, it might be because you're lacking the resources in general. Actively taking steps to cultivate a positive, more hopeful mindset takes all sorts of mental and emotional energy, so if you're lacking, you won't have the fuel in your tank to keep you going. Temporarily forget about being hopeful and focus on what YOU need, what you can do for yourself, what needs of yours need to be met and refresh yourself. This will make being hopeful a lot easier.
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The advice given is not intended as a replacement to more in-depth medical interventions. If anxiety or depression is having a serious and detrimental impact on your life, please make an appointment with your doctor or GP, or get in touch with any of the support services listed below:
⭐ Mind – www.mind.org.uk – 0300 123 3393
⭐ Samaritans – www.samaritans.org – 116 123
⭐ Rethink – www.rethink.org – 0121 522 7007
⭐ Gofal – www.gofal.org.uk - 01656 647722
⭐ Young Minds - Youngminds.org.uk
⭐ Find a counsellor near you:
🗣 British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy - www.Bacp.co.uk
🗣 Counselling Directory - www.Counselling-directory.org.uk
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