10 Ways to Shine Your Light in Dark Times
By Allan Weisbard L.C.S.W.
Since 1963, autumn has been a difficult time for me. Two months shy of my 13th birthday I lost my younger brother to cancer, then shortly afterwards, President Kennedy was assassinated.
During this dark time somehow my family, and the country made it through. In the Jewish tradition, I remember lighting a candle for someone who’s passed to help us navigate the darkness.
That year deepened me emotionally and laid the groundwork to my becoming a therapist. Now, as I remember these events of 57 years ago, I realize that’s where I developed my long-standing interest in resilience. We all need adaptability as we patiently make our way through this long, dark winter.
When darkness looms shine your light. I am a train enthusiast, many times I walked through abandoned train tunnels aided only by my flashlight. I’d journey into the heart of the darkness, although it frightened me, I was compelled to turn off the light for just a moment. As soon as I turned the light back on, I had a sense of relief, and easily saw my way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
All of us struggle with darkness, when we make our light shine bright we can dispel the shadows. Here are 10 tips to help you SHINE YOUR LIGHT, even when it feels like you’re in a long, dark tunnel.
Cultivate Healthy Optimism
This perspective can be as simple as remembering to tell yourself, “I will get through this.” To strengthen my resolve, I remember “This too shall pass” as well as the Serenity Prayer.
Clearly Communicate Your Boundaries
Realizing our COVID precautions are not just for ourselves, but a sign of love and respect for family, friends, and community, makes it easier to be firm in our limits. The coronavirus doesn’t own us, we have control over our actions and the risks we choose to take.
Remember Kindness Goes a Long Way
Many of us in our community are having a difficult time financially and emotionally. Are there ways in which you can give to others? A powerful practice is to be kind to somebody every day. Remember to thank those who have done something special for you.
Be Grateful and Appreciative
When I feel down, I find things for which to be thankful. I consider how much more terrifying the 1918 flu must have been for our ancestors. With modern medicine and technology, there is no better time to be living through a pandemic. We have a vaccine on the horizon, video conferencing, movies, and online ordering at our fingertips.
See the Silver Linings
How have you benefited from the new and unexpected perspectives that ‘sheltering in place’ has brought to your life? It’s easy to concentrate on what we have lost. I know that I have gained a more leisurely lifestyle with more time to explore new interests. I have been using a music app that will help me (hopefully) improve my singing. What have you gained? (No weight jokes please).
Challenge Your Pessimistic Thinking
Replace negative, self-limiting thoughts with positive self-talk. Focus on what went right instead of what went wrong. What are some of the changes the pandemic has brought to your life that you appreciate? Find something that can bring you joy each day. Appreciate fresh air, foliage, clouds etc.:
Maintain a Sense of Awe
A sense of awe is valuable for getting through hard times. A walk in the woods, gardening or watching nature-oriented shows is soothing. A recent study showed that those who participate in walks actively seeking out moments of awe, increase their positive emotions and decrease distress.
Maintain Social Connection While Physical Distancing
Many people have re-connected with friends and relatives utilizing zoom. A continued sense of social bonds is a key to happiness. Is there someone you can reach out to?
Curate Your Exposure to the News and Social Media
Find some good news, it’s out there! Share with others the optimistic stories you have found. Feel free to take a news sabbatical. Read news articles from different sections of the paper such as science, health, or book reviews.
Imagine Positive, Joyful Outcomes
Make a positive Post-Pandemic Plan for yourself. I have travel in mind, but I am truly looking forward to visiting friends and family, without worrying about COVID. What are some of the activities you are looking forward to? Inside the word emergency is the root word emerge. How do you want to emerge differently from this crisis/opportunity?
I encourage you to choose a couple of ideas from this list and give them a try. I’m optimistic that when you do, it will strengthen your resilience. If you are still having trouble getting your light to shine, reach out to a friend or a professional for help.
Allan Weisbard is a licensed clinical social worker who counsels his patients to reduce stress while increasing their resilience. Check out his website at www.HealthyOptimism.com to read tips on how to become more resilient.
More Co-op News
June's Change for Good Recipient is
Our Family Farms, an Oregon 501(c)3 non profit organization, is hard at work educating and inspiring farmers, policy makers and the community at large to support regenerative agricultural practices.
Photography by Chelsea Whitney Art
On May 1st, several Southern Oregon businesses came together for a block party to provide a space to gather as a community after a rough spell due to the pandemic and fires. The May Day Block Party was hosted on Main St in Phoenix, where the scent of food trucks mingled with artisan goods such as local cheeses, locally farmed flowers, and even fresh-baked pastries.
May's Change for Good Recipient is
Rogue Valley Farm to School educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals.
"We inspire an appreciation of local agriculture that improves the economy and environment of our community and the health of its members."
April's Change for Good Recipient is
Visit Rolling Hills Farm and learn more about owner Dave Belzberg, who the Ashland Food Co-op is so honored to partner with for more than thirty five years.
Visit Magnolia Farms and learn more about owner Elissa Thau, who the Ashland Food Co-op is so honored to partner with for more than twenty years.
Visit the Emerald Hills Ranch and learn more about this fourth generation ranching family that the Ashland Food Co-op is so proud to partner with for more than twenty years.
Katie Falkenberg's photography and filmmaking has taken her all over the world, and lucky for us - she's been calling the Rogue Valley home for a couple years now. Exquisitely and harmoniously capturing the world around her, she is documenting not only through the lens but also through her peaceful and loving spirit. Katie reached out to us in hopes of collaborating after falling in love with the co-op soon after moving here.
March's Change for Good Recipient is
a division of Ashland Parks and Recreation, that encompasses demonstration gardens, a nature playground, and approximately 14 acres of Natural Area that is managed for wildlife preservation and public education.
February's Change for Good Recipient is
Since 2005, Rogue Valley Mentoring (formerly the Rose Circle Mentoring Network) has trained over 500 adults who have mentored over 2,000 youth in our valley; letting young people know that they are not alone. A caring and compassionate ear shows them that they matter, and they they are experts of their own experience.
The Ashland Food Co-op acknowledges and shares our community’s concerns about protecting against the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The safety and health of staff and customers is a top priority for the Co-op.
As coronavirus cases increase in Jackson County, the Co-op is taking extra precautions to protect shoppers and employees.
To ensure social distancing in the store, the number of persons allowed in the store at once has been reduced to 50% capacity. Understandably, this may lead to a short wait outside of the store, but please be assured the line moves quickly.
In order to keep the wait as short as possible, here are a few steps you can take to help out: