We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the onset of the current COVID-19 nightmare. These have become long, painful months at many levels. The casualties of human lives, the health threats and issues, and social isolation.
The impact of the pandemic has been cumulative and it’s affecting most of us. The increase in anxiety and depression levels in most of the population has been well documented. And it’s still lingering!
The question is how can we best cope and regain some level of control and HOPE? Yes, hope.
Why hope? Having hope is strongly associated with improved coping skills, problem-solving, and resiliency. The power of hope includes two components. One is the agency element which includes the motivation and what we control. The other is that with the hope we define a specific journey of how to get there.
Hope, as any energy, can be fed or nurtured. Some way to build hope is to stay connected to others as we clearly cope better that way. Also, spirituality is proven to serve as added fuel for hope. Then comes an element of how we can reframe the situation to elicit what we can control. This latter is achieved by having a sense of self-confidence in our ability to build on our strengths and on our resourcefulness.
Other specific tools include looking back at human history as a way to develop perspective. For example, when looking back at history, we can identify challenging periods that lasted for many months. In doing so, we realize that all these “crises” were eventually overcome. In Miami, for example, we had very challenging “Miami Vice” times that lingered for a long time. However, not only we survived it, we conquered it and turned the page!
In line with looking back in time, look forward in time. Visualize a soon-to-be future where we can imagine our lives being back-to-normal. Take this a step further and identify how can you even improve upon important elements of your life (family, health, professional, spiritual, etc.) and how you can start contributing towards this.
Of course, it’s a lot to digest. So, break these actions into small steps that are actionable to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Part of these actions is to share your goals with others and to also use the right language (not I might be able to do this but “I will”, “It’s possible”, and “I can”).
Focusing on the above elements and nurturing them will help. Additionally, we can further propel hope by accessing valuable resources such as a clergy member, someone we trust, or a psychologist. Reach out and seek counsel, help, and perspective. This is not only a sign of courage and insight, but also it’s smart and it works!