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Finding hope in trying times

publication date: May 24, 2020
author/source: Emilia Stypulkowska

True to form, I was pretty optimistic at the start of the quarantine. I thought – I work from home, I’m no stranger to hanging out virtually, I have easy access to nature – I’ll be fine. I’ll just take things one day at a time and not focus on when all of this will end. And I did. I took things one day at a time. I got into the habit of walking and riding my bike every day. I set up Zoom drinks with friends. I even went on a few virtual dates. I was doing really well.

But at the start of May, I was Zoomed out. My bike rides no longer provided me with the blissful feelings that they did in the beginning. And I could no longer stand the sight of my office desk. (Even as I write this, I refuse to sit at my office desk upstairs. I am on a lounge chair in the backyard.) All of a sudden, nothing that had worked before seemed to be working to keep me in a good mood. I had hit a wall. I want to share what I did to pull myself out of the funk, in case it helps you too.

The first thing that I did was throw out my “Get Pumped” Playlist. I started checking out new songs and pulled together a brand new list. I know this tip sounds shockingly simple. Remember, your mind is inclined to dismiss the simple, but sometimes the solutions that work the best are the simplest.

The next thing I did was read a nonfiction book by an author that pulled me out of a funk back in November. Not the same book, but one of her first which I’d heard a lot of people rave about. And it reminded me of the simple truth that we all tell ourselves fearful stories. And all we have to do is imagine the empowering version of our story to see that we can find supporting evidence for either story. We just tend to put more energy into the negative one when we are feeling down.

The last thing I did was tell my friends that I wouldn’t be available over text during the work day. Our interactions can sometimes be as habitual as any other part of our life. And so sometimes our conversations can keep us in ruts. So switch it up. Don’t be a slave to habit – especially as we all crave more variety. I had some phone calls instead of the usual texts and it freshened up my day.

I hope these tips help. We need to remember more than anything to be kind to ourselves right now. It’s ok to have an off day, or an off week. We are all in this together – this I know.

Emilia Stypulkowska helps people take control of their careers by helping them navigate challenges, restore their energy, and land their dream job. She can be reached at

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