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Photo credit: YOUTHOPIA/KHALISA ZULKIFLEE

Six ways to stay hopeful during the pandemic

Hope can be cultivated, even if you find yourself (and the world) in bleak circumstances.

Khalisa Zulkiflee
Khalisa Zulkiflee

Creative writer and comedian on the side.


Published: 23 September 2021, 1:39 PM

The ubiquity of online news sites and social media exposes us to many world events, including tragedies and humanitarian crises. 

It may get overwhelming for some to keep up with the news amidst the pandemic, especially when you feel there is little you can do.

If you are feeling this way, here are six things you can do to not lose hope. 

1. Identify how you feel

When you feel hopeless, life can get heavy and dull. You may even find it hard to muster the energy to do the things you usually love, or carry on with your daily routines. 

Sometimes, it may be easier to say you’re tired and stressed, rather than to name a more specific feeling. 

However, recognising and labelling your specific emotional states makes it easier to regulate your emotions and work out the most helpful ways to sort your stress. 

 

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For example, instead of saying you feel stressed, you could say you feel fear, worry, uneasiness or distrust. PHOTO CREDIT: FRIENDZY

 

It’s healthy to be aware of your emotions as they are important indicators of what’s going on in your life, and more often than not tell you what you need to hear.

This helps you move past uncomfortable feelings better and make better decisions as you will better understand what you need or want.

2. Address your negative feelings

When you suppress your feelings too often,  it could be hard to express your feelings when you want to and you may even overreact. To move on from the negative feelings, you have to address them. 

There are many ways you use to address your emotions.

Penning down your thoughts and putting your problems on paper can help you understand the causes of your stress, and see the solution. 

Other ways to help create the mindfulness needed to be aware of and understand your emotions can be through meditating and art. Art therapy has been known to be a form of healthy outlet to get feelings out. 

Letting out your emotions gives you the space needed for positive thoughts and find the correct course of action beneficial for you. 

3. Set aside time to grieve

Grief isn’t just a feeling reserved for those with personal losses, but also for events that may be out of your control.

It’s both normal and healthy to grieve for loss, no matter big or small. Especially during a pandemic, many of us may have plenty to grieve and you should make space to do so  instead of brushing it off.

As someone who reads the news daily on news sites and social media, I myself get distressed watching graphic videos of violence or sickness happening to vulnerable groups of people.

 

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Grief is a natural and normal response to loss, and is a healthy process to go through. PHOTO CREDIT: WX1993 VIA UNSPLASH

 

Even if you haven’t lost a loved one, you might grieve for the lives lost due to the pandemic or a humanitarian crisis. You might also grieve for missed opportunities and things you can no longer look forward to in light of safe distancing measures.

By setting aside a time to acknowledge the emotions you feel – even simply through therapeutic hobbies like journalling – it gives you the chance to learn to let go and look forward with renewed optimism.

4. Help out wherever you can

Many may assume that there isn’t much they can do to ease the plight of people suffering in the pandemic, but the truth is far from that. 

 

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This local Instagram account has also called upon the public to submit their hawker stall recommendations for a feature on its platform. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@WHERETODABAO

 

By posting, reposting or sharing content about the problems faced by these people, more locals are made aware and can provide support in the form of monetary assistance or otherwise. 

For example, social media has been helping our hawkers tide over this difficult period. Various Instagram accounts such as @wheretodabao and @wejiaklocal are dedicated to help preserve our hawker culture gaining traction among Singaporeans. 

Another social cause locals are supporting through social media is showing support for frontline workers. Instagram account @sghealthcareheroes is dedicated to honour healthcare workers in Singapore. 

Supporting small social causes like these may go a long way in helping ease someone’s troubles worsened by the pandemic we’re in. 

5. Prioritise meaningful relationships

Being in a socially-distanced world amid a pandemic can impact your relationships significantly. It may also be easier for you to feel lonelier than ever, which could be the start for a spiral into hopelessness. 

While you may not be able to meet physically with your loved ones, it is still important to stay connected and check in on your friends who may be self-isolated.

 

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Talking through distress can lighten your burden, and share struggles so you can support each other. PHOTO CREDIT: MENTATDGT VIA PEXELS

 

In a technology-driven world, connecting with loved ones over long distances is a privilege that we should utilise. You may drop a call, play games or set up video calls with your friends and family.

6. Understand and respect your limitations

You may wish to stay on top of updates on events happening, but it is wiser to detach yourself from the constant stream of news and social media when you feel burnt out

One way to tackle this feeling of hopelessness is through practising good self-care habits to boost your energy and make you feel confident. 

Self-care is not only eating three meals a day and staying hydrated, but also taking breaks and cutting yourself some slack.

 

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Taking breaks can reset your mood, thereby promoting positive wellbeing and alleviating stress. PHOTO CREDIT: COTTON BRO VIA PEXELS

 

While spreading awareness and educating people around you about social causes can make you feel helpful, it may also leave you drained if you try doing too much. 

It is important to understand and respect your own limitations when you begin to feel more emotionally drained than passionate at a cause you are campaigning for. 

If the content you are consuming is only making you feel awful, perhaps it is time to close the tab and find an activity that will cheer you up like an online game. You can also turn to self-care apps to help improve your mental wellbeing.

Keeping faith and hoping that things will get better can help make it easier for you to move forward amidst the negativity that surrounds us every day. 

Through these six ways, I hope you gain the strength and ability to bounce back from any obstacles the pandemic has brought you. 

If you are looking for more mental well-being resources, check out Youthopia’s resource page with everything from mental health self-assessments to tips for coping with challenging seasons in life.


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