18 January 2021

How to get through the Darkest Days

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These are literally some of the darkest days of our lives. Not only are they grim, but the sun sets so early that night feels like forever.

I’ve never been one to watch or read the news consistently, but now I can’t stop. I watch the news Monday through Thursday (taking breaks on the weekend) and read the Montreal Gazette every Saturday. The news is pretty dismal all around, but I always keep my eye out for something positive.

Here are some recent headlines that made me smile. I am sharing them with you in the hopes that they cheer you up as well.

Every December, the sun sets for the last time and after approximately 30 days of darkness, Inuvik celebrates the return of the sun at their annual Inuvik Sunrise Festival. This year, the people of Inuvik celebrated differently due to COVID, but they still had a major fireworks display that the entire community watched in awe. This story made me think about how I should stop complaining about shortened days. At least we still get sunlight during the day!

The Oyedeles, a family from Nigeria, recently made the move to Canada. This proved to be incredibly challenging as the move occurred during the pandemic and several lockdowns. They have finally found their new home in Saskatchewan and their daughters played in the snow for the very first time!

Dr. Carl Le Roux, from Vancouver stayed a month and a half longer than he was supposed to in Arviat because he wanted to ensure that the community fully recovered from COVID-19. He even missed Christmas, New Year celebrations, and his own birthday. Before heading home, Le Roux was honored with a vehicle parade to honor him and show gratitude.

Dr. Michael Gallea hasn’t been able to hug his mother since last March, but on New Year’s Day he was working at the clinic where his mother was scheduled to receive her vaccine. The two finally got to be close when Dr. Gallea vaccinated his mother.

What looks like a barrier can also become an opportunity to unite. First Nations communities across Canada are using their checkpoints to keep COVID-19 out of their communities, but they are also using them to spread joy. They are challenging one another to dance off competitions.

It’s dark at 5 p.m., but we know that the days will get longer again. We don’t hear the birds chirping as much in the morning, but we know they will return. There are many things that we are no longer able to do right now, but we must have faith that our lives will return to a sense of normalcy.

COVID-19 has turned our lives and our world upside down and inside out, but it is up to us to turn it back on its proper axis and make it right again. Reading these stories gives me perspective and makes me think about all of the things I can still do instead of looking at all of the things I can’t do.

COVID-19 and the dark days of winter are testing me. They are testing my patience, kindness, compassion, empathy, and resilience. But for every negative thought I have, I try to replace it with a positive one and, believe me, that’s not easy.

Every Wednesday, I deliver meals to seniors who are housebound. Some Wednesdays are challenging with it being dark, cold, and sometimes snowy, but I remind myself that I am doing a good deed and that most often I am the only person that these people see throughout the week. As challenging as it may be for me to go (and it’s really not that challenging), I think about how difficult it must be for them to stay home day in and out without anyone. This experience has helped me grow and I’ve made some new friends along the way.

I encourage you to revisit the way you think and encourage your children to do the same. For every problem there is a solution and for every negative there is a positive. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude are just some of the ways we can get out of our heads. Looking outward and finding ways to help others will also make us feel less sorry for ourselves.

There are brighter days ahead, we just have to get there!

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Director of Student Services
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