A year into this pandemic, many of us are feeling flat, fatigued, and fed-up. There's light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long.

Consultant Psychiatrist and author Professor Jim Lucey explains why hope is essential to our wellbeing and how ideas of hope being lost don’t account for the fact that it’s innately human.

"It was essential for being alive in the first place. It was always there. All we’re doing is restoring hope, in a sense, hope is the definition of living."

Informed by his many years of helping people in recovery from mental health difficulties, Prof. Lucey has seen first-hand how hope has fuelled those journeys. He shares advice on how we can reconnect with our own sense of hope and reminds us that it’s not some celestial idea, but something very much rooted in the ordinary.

"The real achievement in life is to be ordinary. Lower the height of the hurdles you’re trying to climb and jump more fences. Be ordinary. A life that is ordinary is renewed every day, a life that’s extraordinary is dashed every day."

So much of what we talk (and think) about at the moment has to do with an understandable impatience to get to a place where we can see family, socialise, or travel again. It can feel very far away some days. Prof. Lucey is clear that we can’t hope for the past, we can only hope for a better future and try to build it with a better present – he suggests the following four steps as a starting point:

"Eyes open, feet on the floor, head in the shower, glad rags on – that’s a hopeful thing to do."

Prof. Jim Lucey’s book "A Whole New Plan For Living" is out now.

To help build those daily moments of self-care and hope, You OK? is encouraging you to 'Take 5 For Your Mental Health’ every day. Over the next 10 days, we’ll be sharing mini pods focused on practical exercises to help with the stress of lockdown. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or check out rte.ie/lifestyle.