Thriving Through the Winter Seasons of Life

Oct 10, 2023 | Fred Toke, Lifestyle

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Today, 10 October, is World Mental Health Day. I hope this piece may bring encouragement to some.

Metaphorically, winter often mirrors life’s harshest trials, embodying difficulties, hardships, and moments of despair. It’s that time when you might find yourself laid off from your job, watching your marriage crumble, or grieving the loss of someone dear. Such situations test your mental and spiritual fortitude, demanding resilience and determination to emerge stronger. But remember, bitterness need not be your only option; you can find the strength to become better.

Here are four thoughtful suggestions to help you stay W.A.R.M. during the winter seasons of your life:

W: Walk Through, Don’t Settle In

One of the gravest mistakes we can make is allowing our adversities to define us permanently. Consider the wisdom of King David, who, in his writings, spoke of “walking through the valley of the shadow of death.” He didn’t allow himself to become entrapped in his struggles. He refused to make the valley his permanent home. Instead, he pressed on, recognizing that seasons change, and just around the corner, spring awaits. Keep moving forward, for the movement itself generates warmth.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Sir Winston Churchill

Winter seasons may be upon you now, but remember, it is a season that will pass.

A: Acknowledge the Situation, Embrace the Solution

Denying or ignoring pain only prolongs suffering. What is left unacknowledged does not miraculously vanish. Conversely, accepting reality equips you to mentally and spiritually find pathways to adapt and regain control. Healthy adaptations often involve reshaping your perspective and actively seeking solutions. Focus on these solutions and live them out.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” — Leon C. Megginson

R: Reach Out for Support

Isolation has a chilling effect, both metaphorically and literally. Emotional challenges may appear insurmountable when you face them alone. Establishing a support system not only helps you cope more effectively but also brings warmth when friends and family rally around you during your darkest and coldest moments. There is no shame in reaching out for help; isolation can lead to desolation.

“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” — S. Kelley Harrell

M: Muster Your Inner Strength

Don’t relinquish the battle just yet. Recall the wisdom of Peter, who urged us to CAST all our anxieties away, much like fishermen casting their nets. Clinging to your worries, like holding onto a net, won’t yield any harvest. Similarly, clinging to bitterness won’t aid in the healing process. It takes courage, strength, and belief to let go. Mustering is a form of exercise that builds physical, emotional, and spiritual resilience. And remember, exercise generates warmth.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” — Proverbs 24:10

Winter seasons may be upon you now, but remember, it is a season that will pass. Beyond winter, the splendid spring will inevitably arrive, and once more, the sun will shine brightly. Hang in there, stay W.A.R.M. in the meantime.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” — Richard Bach

“Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah, The King’s Cupbearer

Fred Toké aka Dr. Tokèmon

Fred Tokė aka Dr. Tokėmon is a Clinical Psychologist by training, was a former adjunct professor at Nanyang Technological University. He is also a guest lecturer at the University Malaysia Sabah’s Faculty of Medicine. Besides teaching, he also provides clinical psychotherapy services to the downtrodden and the discouraged.


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