Lessons from 2020 to take into the new year
For better or worse, we’ve all made it through 2020 in some shape or form.
The pandemic, the protests, the fight for racial injustice, and an arduous election season have tested and shaped us this year. These collective experiences we’ve all endured challenged us to assess and adapt to unplanned circumstances.
If we take time to reflect back on the last 12 months, there are several silver linings I’m sure we can find as well as character traits and habits we’ve tapped into and should develop further in 2021.
We are more resilient than we know.
It seems that every aspect of our lives, from the way we work to how our children are now learning to deal with isolation and taking new safety precautions to go to the grocery store, has changed dramatically. Those changes forced us to exercise resilience to adapt and navigate situations in which we have little or no control. Some may credit our survival mode and it is that innate ability to accept a challenge and adapt accordingly.
The importance of community.
One of the hardest factors of the pandemic is that it has kept us from friends and love ones. As social creatures, interaction with others is vital to our well-being. Fortunately, we have technology to help bridge that gap from in-person get-togethers. From Zoom meetings and hangouts to social media updates or just a simple phone call, having the tools to stay connected with others has been invaluable. While technology can’t replace face-to-face contact, we may have learned to appreciate our relationships a bit more and not to take them for granted.
Live in the moment.
2020 was the year of not making plans. Weddings, holidays, family gatherings, work meetings, all were either postponed, canceled, or modified. It’s forced us to live in the moment, which is actually a good thing. The practice of mindfulness is about focusing on the moment, not worrying about the past or future, but taking the time to savor experiences while they are occurring. This leads to more positive thinking because most negative thoughts are centered around the past or the future.
Make self-care a priority.
We’ve heard a lot about the need for self-care this year more than ever before. Anxiety and stress have been at an all-time high and the need to care for our physical and mental health has taken center stage. When our attention is pulled in so many directions, often our own well-being is neglected. Finding the right tools to manage our emotions and take better care of our health is key to leading a healthier life. Getting better sleep, eating well, exercise, enjoying a hobby, even a warm bath are all ways to practice self-care. Making daily self-care a priority will result in more balance in our lives and ultimately, more happiness.
Maybe the greatest lesson to take away from 2020 is to cherish and value what’s most important. Gratitude is a powerful way to increase happiness, it doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t take the added time to practice. Looking back on the year, take a moment to count at least three things that make you grateful.
Wishing you a happy new year made better than the last with the lessons we take with us. If you need to talk to someone about your mental health, substance dependency, or anything else that might be troubling you, help is only a phone call away. Contact Community Care Services at 313-389-7500.