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A Few Ways To Find Hope When Life Seems Bleak

Coronavirus cases are spiking across the United States, and with many states on their eighth month of some form of lockdown some of us are starting to suffer from depression and feel a bit lonely. And the holidays are here, so many of us will experience the usual stress without any of the usual upsides, like time with faraway loved ones. With a more isolated holiday season approaching and the vaccine feeling far away it’s hard to stay focused, stay motivated, and to feel optimistic in the midst of what feels like a never-ending pandemic. But there are small steps we can take every day to maintain our sense of hope for the future:

Exercise

It’s difficult to overstate how much exercise impacts your mental health. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, getting outside in nature, and getting enough exercise will help maintain your physical health, mental acuity and help regulate moods. The exercise does not have to be continuous; a few 10 minute walks are just as effective as one 30 minute walk. Make sure you are maintaining some form of exercise, even as we quarantine to help prevent depression and help manage your moods.

Actively Practice Positivity

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant details in his book with Sheryl Sandberg, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, And Finding Joy, that practicing gratitude helps us through grief and helps us build resilience. He mentions in an interview with Inc.com that journaling and making gratitude lists helped Sandberg cope with her husband’s death and feel joy and happiness again after a devastating time in her life.

Find Time To Consume Art  

Dr. Kathleen Murphy, a licensed marriage and family therapist told MSN.com that in dark and difficult times, she suggests reading something inspiring. All forms of art can helps us process complex emotions and circumstances, and reading, writing, painting, watching films and television shows can help us understand ourselves in this very strange and uncertain time.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in your health and well-being. According to the National Heart, Lung and Brain Institute, proper sleep helps your brain function: it prevents memory loss, improves focus, and increases your ability to absorb and process new information. It also impacts your emotional health.“If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior,” writes the NHLBI.

Set Micro Goals

If you haven’t been feeling as motivated or productive, try and get yourself out of this rut by setting micro goals. Setting small goals like sending an email or writing a to-do list will help you feel accomplished and therefore help you regain some needed confidence. Everyone is struggling right now, so setting smaller goals to help start your day will help you feel more in control when so much feels outside of our control.

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