10 Hopeful Messages to Brighten Your Day

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Christina Plante, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center
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collage of person expressing every emotion

As each week goes by, I am finding positive messages help me get through the day and remind me to slow down and be patient. I thought I would share some of my thoughts in case you could feel a little better!

1. Remember this is temporary.
Focus on what you can control and break things down into small pieces. I find when uncertainty hits and things feel out of control that structure helps. Make a daily schedule for yourself or break down something big into to small tangible goals. By no means do you need to be super productive and carry on with work and life like everything is normal. Take things day by day and task by task and pay attention to when you need a self-care break.

2. Find gratitude in the stillness.
Being still is not the typical way that most Duke students operate. It may be rare to stop and slow down to reflect on your goals and focus on your needs. What are you grateful for in the stillness? Find something you are grateful for everyday to help balance out any other feelings of COVID-19.

3. Seize the pause as a time for reflection.
There is nothing like a global pandemic to give you a huge reality check on your life and what is important. What are you noticing about your priorities and what is truly important to you? What are you discovering about yourself during this time? Have you had a sense of clarity about something?

4. Lean into your strengths and use them as tools to help you focus your energy.
Strengths are wonderful tools you can use to help manage change and transition. What are you really good at? How can you leverage that to make something in your everyday life more manageable? What can you offer during this time?

5. Practice what grounds you and remember you are connected to a wonderful community.
When you feel like you are floating 10,000 feet above the universe, what helps bring you back down and re-center? Maybe it is a friend or family member, faith, meditation, hobby, or exercise. Write down a list of things that ground you and know you can reach out to your Duke community for support.

6. It is hard to face this new reality, but have courage and be brave.
Give yourself time to heal. There is no doubt that ourselves, Duke, and the world are undergoing many changes with lots of uncertainty. This is the time for resilience and courage to embrace the unknown. We are all going through loss and grieving the rest of the spring semester. This does not go away overnight. Ride the wave and lean on your support system.

7. We are all in this together and you are not alone.
Don’t forget we are here for you. One beautiful thing about Duke is that we are part of an unwavering community. How are you staying connected to Duke friends, faculty, and staff while we are remote? What do you need from Duke to make this transition better? Be intentional and ask for what you need!

8. Connection is more important than ever.
Take the time to deepen your relationships with family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I am seeing now, more than ever, how connected humans need to be to other humans. COVID-19 has changed our relationships overnight. What virtual tools have you tried that you like? How are you checking in on those you love? Instead of letting this push us away from each other, how can we grow closer together?

9. Support one another without trying to fix.
Sometimes you just need someone to listen. When processing today’s events remember that not everyone is looking for a problem solver and an answer. This is a time to listen and just be there for others the best you can. Also, protect yourself if you don't have the stamina for a tough conversation. Take a break from your virtual tools, media, TV and reach out when you feel like you have more to give.

10. Find small moments of joy in the wait.
Waiting is hard but there is also so much happiness and joy to focus on. In the mist, search for silver linings and what good you can see. It doesn’t take much for something to bring you joy, just keep looking for it.

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