2020 has certainly been a challenge, to say the least, and the fact we’re still standing is testament to both our mental and physical strength. But it’s time to let go. A new year is approaching and that, for many of us, brings with it a huge feeling of relief.
“It’s very healthy to acknowledge our feelings at this time,” says psychologist and wellbeing expert Suzy Reading, who’s been keeping her Instagram followers calm with a series of soothing practices on her IGTV feed, and is releasing the paperback version of Self-Care For Tough Times (Aster, £12.99) in February.
“This involves validating the very real sense of loss, grief and anxiety we’ve been feeling. In this last year, there has been a genuine threat to our safety – our collective physical health and for many, financial stability too.
“We’ve had our sense of self-expression, autonomy and personal freedom curtailed, and we are grieving for lost imagined futures and the opportunity to have made memories together.”
But it’s time to make space to process those feelings and move on.
“The advent of a fresh new year can help us feel that in some sense, we are turning the page,” she adds. Even though there are still restrictions and the fall out from 2020 will be real for quite some time, there is hope and change on the horizon. It reminds us it won’t be like this forever.”
Carina Lawson, time management coach and founder of Ponderlily planners and journals believes we should be grateful for what 2020 has taught us, and charge into 2021 with a renewed sense of purpose.
“To 2020, let’s say goodbye with gratitude,” says Lawson. “Gratitude allows you to experience more positive emotions, remind yourself of positive experiences – it can improve your overall wellbeing. More importantly, counting your blessings opens your mindset and attracts more positive opportunities your way.”
Not convinced? Make a list of how you showed strength and resilience in 2020. Write down everything in terms of skills you developed and things you learned about yourself. From homeschooling to picking up ways to make Zoom calls bearable, you might surprise yourself.
“Journaling or reflective practices can help us accept and move through our feelings, helping put 2020 to bed,” notes Reading. “Jot down or just think about what you’ve weathered, the strengths you called upon, and how it has crystalised what’s truly important to us as individuals and families.”
And if your New Year’s Eve plans have fizzled out to nothing, Lawson stresses now is actually a time to celebrate.
“Consider celebrating for three basic reasons – focus, momentum, and because we need something to look forward to,” she says.
Celebrations may be different, more simple and reflective this year – and that’s OK. “Celebrations can look like a card in the mail, a treat for yourself, or perhaps a day off. We don’t know what the future holds for 2021, but we do have the power to keep hope alive, so celebrate meaningfully, and as often as you deserve. Let’s welcome 2021 with the knowledge that we’re stronger, more agile, and prepared for what’s next.”