There’s no denying that everyone has felt the stress and turmoil of this year in a lot of different ways. It’s hard to trust people when so many forms of media add to the divide of society. In the midst of 2020, a lot of people have written great blog articles about how to care for yourself when stress levels are high, morale is low, and a lot of normal ways of coping have been eliminated by a global pandemic.

Instead of writing another article about self-care or getting enough sleep (both of which are important in the capacity you have), I wanted to share a few things that I’m loving and looking forward to right now.

Bookstagram

Did you know that there’s an entire section of Instagram that is dedicated just to books? People create separate accounts to review each book they read. The end result is a beautifully curated collection of books based on genre and interest to help you find your next read.

The thing I love about the book community is that they all believe in free access to information and the betterment of society through education. They support local libraries, small book stores and education initiatives. The optimism for a better future is infectious and the majority of people you meet in this community are so kind to others.

Animal Accounts

I love following rescue animals on Instagram. These accounts are representative of more people who are trying to make improvements in society and spread kindness. Of course you also get to see a lot of cute animals along the way!

A current favorite is @obese_beagle. Wolfgang is a beagle documenting his weight loss journey on Instagram along with cute stuffed animals and stories about his foster brothers. Even when they have health setbacks, his parents keep the message hopeful and realistic.

Community Connections

When the pandemic hit, so many people started investing more in their local businesses. Thousands of organizations started collecting donations for people who are out of work due to the pandemic. In our neighborhood, people started collecting groceries and diapers for families in the area. Every week, people are able to call a helpline to request what they need, or talk to people about their struggles. In other areas, people donate money through Venmo, Zelle and Cashapp. The result is that people are starting to get to know their neighbors better, and form new connections that they would have been too busy to form before the pandemic. If you feel disconnected from your neighbors, I would encourage you to find ways to get involved with initiatives in your neighborhood,

Preparing for More Simple Holidays

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed about all the holiday traditions we are going to miss this year. There are so many things we usually do with friends in Chicago that I was really excited to do with my daughter. However, we also spent a lot of time and money during the holidays on activities that were not very meaningful to us as a family. This year, I’m choosing to focus on things we can do to still make the holidays special. We have a new advent book to read as a family called, “Shadow and Light” by Tsh Oxenrider. We will be making a special advent wreath and decorating for the holidays with more intention. We are also going to spend more time at home baking together, enjoying our fireplace (which has been used once in the 3 years we have lived in our home) and watching Holiday movies (terrible plots but heartwarming nonetheless). We may miss out on some of the beauty and grandeur of the holidays, but I’m hopeful that we will end our holiday season with great memories and less stress.

Here’s the thing about hope: it’s really hard to sustain on your own. It’s not a mistake that everything I mentioned requires having other people in your life. If you struggle to find optimistic people that can point you back toward hope, a therapist can begin to hold that space for you. They can also help you identify ways to connect with other people in your life. If you find yourself struggling with hope, connect with a therapist today.

Written by therapist Elise Champanhet

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