Waiting It Out Until Spring: Holding Onto Hope When Things Are Hard

A plant grows in the springtime, proving that hope is possible.

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For many, winter tends to be the most challenging time of year. The days are shorter, and it’s unbearably cold. The wind feels like it rips straight through to the bone. It can feel downright miserable. This tends to be more noticeable after the holidays when there isn’t anything to distract from those winter winds. It can feel absolutely bleak.

The Day He Saw His Shadow

A tradition many celebrate to get through the winter is Groundhog Day. It might seem like a goofy holiday as it centers around Old Phil the groundhog, leaving his burrow on the second of February. Phil either remains out of his lair or returns if he sees his shadow. If the latter takes place, legend says there will be six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t, then an early spring is on its way. While Phil’s predictions’ accuracy is only around 35 to 41%, the tradition serves to remind us we’re almost out of the winter’s grasp — only six more weeks of slush, snow, and road salt on your car.

Traditions like this one might seem silly; however, there is a lot this holiday can teach us about when things might seem neverending. Groundhog Day occurs during the midpoint of winter. February 2nd is also the same day other traditions celebrate this midpoint, such as Imbolc, a traditional Irish holiday, and Candlemas, a Christian holiday celebrating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. This celebration focuses on the transition to the next season. Many take down decorations, light candles, and throw a feast.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

As in every journey, there also tends to be a midpoint regarding treatment. It’s that middle section where you are nearing the woods’ end but not entirely out yet. You might find yourself struggling to continue because things feel difficult. You’ve given everything you have to survive. You might be close to a breaking point, but you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Winter won’t last forever. The woods do have an exit.

You might feel overwhelmed by the length of winter, or maybe the opposite is accurate, and you feel this way during the summer. The truth that you can find during this time is that every difficult situation has an ending, eventually. Things don’t last forever and ultimately reach their conclusions. When times get tough, sometimes the best thing you can do is wait them out. Soon, it’ll be March and then April. Before you know it, the trees will start budding again. The grass will grow back. You won’t see snow unless you choose to venture into the mountains.

What We Can Gather From Groundhog Day

There might be some days where you also may feel like hiding back in your burrow for six more weeks. That’s okay. The important thing is to keep holding on to the idea that spring will come again like it does every year. Have faith that you will eventually feel warm again. When things become difficult, you have the power to make it through by taking it a day at a time. Whether you deal with job loss, feel the urge to use again, or there’s an illness in the family, it is possible to hold on to the light at the end of the tunnel.

When things seem bleak, we must remember that this life stage is only temporary. Seasons change, and so do aspects of our lives. Things might feel difficult right now. It might be hard to even get up in the morning and go about your day. You might feel afraid for the future, worried that you won’t make it through. However, by holding onto the affirmation that there are only six more weeks of winter, that there is an ending to the most challenging time of the year, you can make it through the worst of the weather.

Spring Is Coming, Don’t Worry

When things feel their darkest, it can be impossible to believe that plants will soon be sprouting again and color and warmth are on their way. The days are getting longer. The days will become warmer. It’s an inevitability. You’ve powered through many winters. You’ve trudged through feet of snow. You’ve walked against raging winds that burned your ears and froze your toes, but you made it through, and if you can make it through a Colorado winter, you can make it through anything. Holding onto the hope of spring, the hope that the world will be full of life again, even when it doesn’t feel like it, will get you through the worst of times.

Winter can feel like forever, but it won’t last forever. Life does move forward even during the darkest times. Things might feel impossible now, but days like these are why we must hold onto hope. Even though February can feel like the coldest, most grueling month of all, spring is just around the corner. Whatever circumstances life throws at you can be taken care of one step at a time. Other circumstances might leave you waiting until it all blows over. During this midpoint, we must remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Soon, leaves will begin sprouting on the trees. Everything will be raw and new, but eventually, it will grow into something strong and beautiful. If you’re still weathering the storm, call Jaywalker Lodge at (855) 529-9255. There are plenty of reasons to hold onto hope when things feel their worst, and we can help you count them.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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