“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus
Reality is bleak, now’s the time to dig deep.
As December and the end of 2020 hurtle towards us, November is coming to a swift end. I’m not sure about you, but this week I have suddenly felt overcome by exhaustion. For those of you in the US, I’m sure you’re finding things even more tough. With Thanksgiving upon you and recommendations that you don’t enjoy the embrace of your extended family, as Covid numbers soar and a long, dark winter ahead, at times our problems just feel insurmountable.
So how do we dig deep and find our own “invincible summer” in the midst of a really dark winter?
Acts of kindness can be mutually beneficial
It might sound trite, but sticking our heads out from under the duvet, and looking around at how we can make a difference to others can be a starting point. Research is proving that helping others can actually lower stress levels, improve your mood and self-esteem, and even help build and foster optimism long term. Read more about it here.
Earlier this week I got to watch kindness and caring in action, up close… For the past 2 years I have been working with an amateur women’s rugby team on behalf of a client. They are a truly diverse group of women – university students, engineers, teachers, physiotherapists, a project manager, a young woman that lives in a shelter, afraid for her life. Some travel more than 90 minutes to get to and from practice twice a week, heading home on public transport in the dark.
As a team, their combined earning capacity is small, their needs great. For those living through dark times, the team has become their family, their life support. And together, they all rise to meet each other’s needs. Watching how they support each other in life, not just on the field, is an ongoing lesson in resilience, commitment and how when we help and support each other, we are all better, stronger.
I can say with certainty that at this time in our world, there are too many with too little, and the smallest gesture of solidarity, support and generosity is often, quite simply, the difference between life and death.
But in every neighbourhood, whether rich or poor, people are battling. We all know someone battling with “Long Covid”, grieving the loss of someone close to them, or even the loss of a job. One of my best friends is 6 weeks into her Covid recovery and still has days where peeling a potato is just too much. And I feel so helpless, stuck a continent away, as she navigates through yet another lockdown.
I may not be able to help and support her in the way I’d like, but there are so many others right around me that could do with a lifeline, a bowl of soup, a smile and a kind word.
So this week, take a look around you, and even if you have donation fatigue, I challenge you to do something, anything – the smallest gesture for someone else. It might be the spark you need. But make sure you wear a mask, social distance and stay safe.
5 things you can do to shift your “winter” energy:
#1: Help someone in need
#2: Get out your gratitude journal and start writing – once you get going you’ll be astonished at how much you really do have to be grateful for!
#3: Reach out to your friends and family to catch up (even if it’s just about nothing)
#4: A little self-nurture goes a long way: try and make at least 1 healthy choice every day, and before you know it, you’ll have started a bunch of great, healthy habits and the effects will be exponential!
#5: Get moving! Even in this cold dark winter, we need to stay ready for the joy of summer ahead. Plus, happy moving produces our feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, that make you feel fantastic.
If you’re looking for some movement options, TheOptimal.me has the perfect home workout offering with over 200 workouts you can do anywhere, anytime, plus loads of articles and information on nutrition and smart, happy aging. Why not go and take a look for inspiration on making healthy choices as you navigate the weeks and months ahead?