So Long 2020, Here’s to Making the Most of 2021
By Caitlin Brown
Oh, what to say about 2020 besides we’ve had enough of you! It’s been an unprecedented year for all, and one we hope to never see the likes of again. It’s stretched us to the brink: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s required us to re-draw our physical and social boundaries, making the various spaces traditionally allotted for work, school, extracurricular what have you, and just plain old fun, all come together in one familiar place: home.
What has that meant besides the crash course on Zoom: meetings, school, fitness, family functions, social gatherings, and, most recently, holiday gatherings; an uprooting of everything we value most: socializing with our friends and family (loved ones), travel, eating out, going to the gym, the office… just having the personal space to wear our many hats with the freedom we’ve come to know and enjoy. Depression has become a problem for many.
Our mental and physical health have been compromised with the kitchen sink. So, this New Year will be very much about healing, hope, new beginnings in a literal sense, and righting the ship.
This year’s resolutions are going to look a bit different for most. We are more concerned with healing ourselves from within than willing new material things (the latest shiny, new toys) into our scope. We are more focused on how do better, how to heal ourselves from the year we have endured, how to make the most of what it’s taught us going forward and how to best make up for lost time.
In a world spinning off its axis—and beyond our control, most of us have gone deeper (within) and become more intentional about the things we can control in our lives… the things that matter.
For this new year, resolutions and goals start with mending ourselves, after all, how can we best for those who need us, without being our best selves. In 2021, let’s focus on mind/body: what we can control and implement a strategy in terms of our health so we can get back on board and stay on board.
Be gentle with yourself in setting goals. If this year has taught us anything, it is to be reasonable with our expectations. Here are a few suggestions:
We have all felt isolated this year. Contacting people we have lost touch with — maybe they are by themselves — and asking (the Meghan Markle op ed is still in my head) how they are makes a difference, not just in their lives, but in ours too. It’s a time to reach out and connect.
Bundle up and get outside
Walking, running, hiking, biking, — even sledding — really helps clear our minds and gets us back into our bodies.
Meditation is a great way to lower stress and be more present. Even just a few minutes of deep breathing is enough to quiet the mind.
Savor the moment
It’s easier than it sounds, especially now. But if we practice purposely bringing our attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, we learn to be at peace with where we are, and less apt to jump ahead.
Start a journal
The new year is the best time to start a journal. Your journal is the best place to let go of your mental clutter. Just put your pen to paper and start writing freely, without worrying about how it sounds. I promise you it will make for some good reading when we put all this craziness behind us.
Put gratitude into practice
Put gratitude in practice. If we commit ourselves to this and make it a habit, it changes our perspective. No matter where you are in life, there is always something to be grateful for. This year especially… we are reminded how lucky we are for our health and loved ones.
Perform random acts of kindness
Do something good for someone else without expectation of reward. Your reward is what comes with making someone’s life a little better.
Tell those important to you that they are loved
We never know how much time we have with the people that matter most. Make the most of every minute and tell them they are loved.
Appreciate what you have
Being content with what we have makes us not need the next thing. If we focus on how fortunate we are to have what we do, we are less inclined to feel something is missing.
Learn a new hobby
Try a new hobby this year. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or bad at it, as long as you have fun with it.
Switch up your exercise routine by incorporating something new and exciting. Try a new workout. There are so many options online right now, many of which are interactive. Choose ones where you’ll receive more personal attention from the instructors. Moving is so important for our minds and getting the serotonin going is important for our mental health.
Of course, resolutions are personal and there is no one-size-fits-all, but I think we can all agree that this year taught us the importance of being kind to ourselves. So, let’s keep that going, while keeping hope alive for a silver lining and a better 2021. Cheers.