Hope

Hope springs eternal, but more so in spring

It has been a brutally hard winter for us. The days were dark, and the temperatures were frigid. Coronavirus numbers gradually decreased as we endured our longest lockdown. Christmas plans were diminished or cancelled altogether. And we suffered for it. Mental health appeared as low as I ever remember seeing it. We weren’t sure when life was going to return to normal. On our darkest days, we weren’t sure if it would.

But spring has finally arrived. We’re enjoying unseasonable warmth. Lockdown has been eased. And most importantly, vaccinations are accelerating. As of today, 7.4% of Albertans have received their first dose, which is 80% effective against Coronavirus (Fletcher, 2021).

What these factors have done for us, is boost our hope. And hope is one of the key ingredients in mental health and wellness. When we start to look at the future as potentially better and brighter than today, our mood can lift. Hope can help us endure difficult times, by allowing us to view our troubles as temporary. If we lack hope, despair can start to set in. One of the most challenging emotions, despair can begin to steal from us our belief that we can create a better situation for ourselves.

Fortunately, many of us can now envision a better future. Therefore, our mood and state of mind has improved. As the mental health of our community increases, it can have a positive impact on our own mental health. It’s much easier to be grumpy when everyone else is too. 

However, what can you do if you’re stuck feeling hopeless?

Reach Out

The first thing to try, would be to reach out to friends or family who seem to be doing well. Some of their happiness may rub off. If you’re comfortable talking about it, you may find empathy and compassion for your feelings and situation. You may also start to learn more about your feelings. Perhaps there’s more affecting your mood than Coronavirus. Or maybe you’ve been more affected because of circumstances (living alone, living in an uncomfortable family situation, economic instability).

Enjoy the Better Weather

If reaching out to people doesn’t work for you, you might find benefits from enjoying the better weather. If you’ve been isolating yourself over the winter, you would not have noticed how much our collective mood has improved. Observing a different city than the one we remember from January may help you feel more interested in reengaging with the world.

If these tips are not especially effective, and you’re still concerned about mental health, please consider reaching out to me or another professional. We’re here to help.

For community/social services information in Alberta, dial 2-1-1.

David Ponak
David Ponak offers in-person appointments in Calgary and virtual therapy sessions across Alberta. He believes the most important thing he can do for clients is to provide a comfortable, non-judgemental space where they can relax and be who they are.

Source:
Fletcher, Robson. Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-covid-19-data-statistics-numbers-cases-hospitalizations-1.5514947. March 19, 2021.