After Canadian sports show host Michael Landsberg shared his lived experience with depression and anxiety in 2009, he became a passionate mental health advocate. In 2016, he founded #SickNotWeak, a charity focused on reducing stigma and encouraging open conversations about mental health.
Michael and the folks at #SickNotWeak are doing great things, and one thing they promote is “Change is hope”. What could this mean exactly at this time when many people continue to feel anxious, down, and stuck in a rut as the pandemic continues with no clear end in sight?
The good news is that the change they speak of refers to changing just one thing. Something. Anything.
It doesn’t need to be a complete overhaul of your routine to shift your outlook and improve your overall mood. Some creativity and flexibility will be in order, and the shift doesn’t mean that you’ll no longer have stress, worries, or bad moods in your life. We all have these – it’s about how hopeful we feel that we will manage them in positive ways and things will get better.
A friend recently told me that the same guest room converted to home office, the identical daily routine, and the same old pyjama pants of many months were getting to her and she was feeling down and unmotivated. Her idea? Going to the public library to work a few days a week. She said the change of scenery made a difference and she looked forward to getting dressed in what she calls “real clothes”. It wasn’t a huge change but enough to get her out of the rut and help her feel more hopeful.
What could your “one thing” be? It’s totally up to you, but here are some suggestions:
- Your supports. Book an appointment with your doctor or a counsellor if you want to talk about what you’re feeling. Even just making the phone call or sending the email may help you feel that you’re moving forward. This is especially important if the changes you’re experiencing are impacting your day-to-day life – that’s a sign that more support could be helpful.
- Your coping strategies. Think about what has worked for you in the past that you could go back to or try something brand new like journaling, meditation, or different spiritual practices. It will take time to make these into habits – just starting is progress and hope.
- What you are eating. Try something new for breakfast or look up some recipes for a long-forgotten small appliance in the back of your cabinet to mix things up a bit.
- Your surroundings. My friend tried the library, but any safe new environment is worth considering. You could even try just working in a different location in your house – whatever it takes.
Check out #SickNotWeak for more about Michael Landsberg’s journey and how they are making a difference.
Artwork by Brittney Monteath (scarrsanity.myportfolio.com)