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Five ways to build hope

Rainbow Chalk Brings Hope

During these unusual times, and going through any tough situation, your resolve and your resilience is likely to be tested. And that’s OK. This too shall pass. 

We asked Clinical Counsellor Olivia Sakamoto to write about hope, why it’s good for us and ways to maintain a positive outlook.

Five ways to build hope by Olivia Sakamoto

True, there is a crisis that is affecting the global population. This changing environment is increasing anxiety, creating new stress and challenging a human anchor – hope.

With the media voicing the uncertainty and chaos of our lives, how can we calm this storm in our mind?

Worry drains

Author Corrie Ten Boom stated: “Worry does not empty today of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Our strength is drained through worrying about events that haven’t happened yet.

While a mixture of worries about future health, finances, children’s education, the economy, a job, extended family, relationships, exercise, routines and food may all be real, the only thoughts that are necessary are those we can address today.

One day at a time

With COVID-19 we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. And with the world’s governing powers making changes almost daily we are expected to shift with it whether we are ready or not.

It’s tough. Really tough. In extreme cases – an essential worker on the frontline or someone grieving where hope is low – it can be hard getting through a minute, let alone a day. If this is you, one way of coping is to acknowledge that you got through the last hour or the last 15 minutes and celebrate it. It’s a small step I know, but those small steps can help, even if it’s the thought of, “I got through it and I can get through the next 15 minutes.”

You are vulnerable

It’s important to remember, especially in this crisis, that our self worth or identity is not measured by what we do, what we own or our position in society. These things can fluctuate.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with an accumulation of achievements, setting goals and working towards achieving them. It is important however, that we do not come to the belief that without them we lose value and have no purpose. If we are not careful with our thoughts surrounding our value and identity it can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.

It’s far healthier to reflect that we are precious to someone; and are of immense, immeasurable value. Not just to society and the people we care about. But most importantly to ourselves.

Try to protect a routine

Young people can struggle with problem-solving during this crisis. Not being able to socialise with friends can quickly be replaced with staying in bed, social media, TV, and eating to distract them from the confusing world.

Keeping routine will aid in settling anxiety; for young and old. Routine in sleep (getting up and returning to bed around the same time), eating, exercise, study, hygiene and human interaction will help keep the mind and body healthy.

Being out of routine for a holiday can feel like real freedom. That’s why for a short time many will find breaking routine rewarding. The truth is a healthy mind and body cannot be sustained in a broken routine. Especially where sleep, nutrition, exercise and human interaction are concerned.

A great technique to lift a low mood is privately, and where possible collectively, write three things that we are grateful for in that day and read it after waking up the next day. And repeat.

Translating this into today’s crisis

In these unique days there will be things we can do and things we can’t do.

Focus on the things we can, not on the limitations. Get excited about the opportunity we have to attend to things we could not do before.

Write down the most important need for today. It could be as simple as cleaning out the kitchen and spending time with family. Then break it down into smaller parts.

One drawer and a cupboard between 9am and 9:30am; another set between 10am and 10:30am and even invite the family into today’s goal. Put some music on and reward yourselves with a small snack or walk together after the task.

If it’s your health, then write down a day’s food plan, schedule in a 30-minute walk and 8 glasses of water. The important aspect with all this is that we embrace and appreciate those moments.

No matter how big. No matter how small.

If you, a family member, friend or colleague would benefit from discussing your financial situation, we are offering free of charge, 45-minute financial consultations (via phone or video conference) to those who are affected by this COVID-19 crisisClick here for more information.

You can read Olivia’s article about strategies to reduce anxiety and stress here

Olivia Sakamoto

Olivia Sakamoto

Olivia Sakamoto has been a Clinical Counsellor for 11 years working in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) industry, helping professionals with anxiety, depression and workplace stress. Olivia specialises in children, marriage, relationship and family counselling and has a Master in Counselling from Monash University (Vic).

Connect to Olivia via LinkedIn

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