This past month, Building Hope asked me to contribute to their Hope in 5 article, which they have been running since the start of the pandemic. I hope it brings you some hope (and joy!) wherever and whoever you are!
While we’ve been given a ‘shot of hope’ with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, we’re likely still months away from maskless hugs, nonchalant travel, schoolrooms filled with kids and regular indoor dining at restaurants. As we proceed cautiously and hopefully into a new year, we still need to maintain a culture of mask safety and physical separation. How do we keep this up for another few months? Here are a few tips.
1). Smile with your eyes. Even babies can tell when you’re smiling — it’s all about those eye crinkles! Smiles are contagious, and eye contact can show respect and connection. Say hello to people in passing. Your light will impact them – and you, guaranteed.
2). Embrace a new normal. Creating a modified version of the things you used to do is better than abandoning what you (used to) do altogether. I am a workout fiend, but I have a 5 month-old baby, so my definition of exercise has changed. While I’m not outside ski touring all day, a 40-minute stationary bike ride provides enough endorphins to keep me happy.
3). Balance nonfiction and fiction. Read the news, stay informed, but give yourself a break, and pick up a novel that transports you. The last book I read, “American Dirt,” told the story of a Mexican family seeking asylum, and I was left feeling immense gratitude for my safety and freedom.
4). Try, learn, grow. Make something with your hands. Set down your electronics, and bake, draw, knit, or hammer! The satisfaction that comes from creating something can be transformational. I love it when people who say they aren’t creative step out of their comfort zone and surprise themselves. I strongly believe that trying new things (and especially things that make you uncomfortable) is the only way we grow. Even if the finished product is not perfect, you’ll feel empowered, and soon enough it will be a repeating cycle: try, learn, grow.
5). Think like a marathon runner. You’ve made it this far. Would you quit at mile 23? You’ve got this! We’ve all made a lot of sacrifices since March 2020. Imagine it’s 2080, and you’re telling your grandkids about this crazy time in history. I’d like to say that I did everything in my power to improve the situation. We persevered, we were resilient, and we stuck it out in the darkest hour.