Finding the Bright Side to 2020

Finding the Bright Side to 2020

Dec 30 2020

This past year was filled with challenges for everyone, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the good things that happened in the last 12 months.

From COVID-19 and social unrest to political turmoil and financial hardships, 2020 has been a tough year for everyone. The past year is unlikely to be remembered fondly by all, and for many it may be a time they’d like to forget.

Though filled with challenges, the past year also offered opportunities for growth, strength, family and community. Mental health experts advise that shifting your perspective as you think about the past year, and taking extra time to find the good parts of 2020, will help you recognize how you’ve grown and become stronger because of it.

While it’s important to acknowledge the hardships you’ve faced, also take time to find the upside with these tips from behavioral health pros.

Recognize what you’ve learned.

The last year has certainly held many lessons for all of us, whether it was how to make sourdough bread, how to sew a mask, or simply how to take care of yourself during a global health crisis. Think about it — in the past 12 months, you have adjusted your entire life due to COVID-19, from wearing a mask every time you go out in public to working or going to school completely virtually. Did you get creative with your workouts—trying something new or turning cleaning into exercise? Not to mention, you may have developed some nifty new hobbies and talents during quarantine. Or, maybe you expanded your knowledge of some new TV series or mastered (attempted?) a TikTok dance. No matter how big or small it may seem, no matter how productive or frivolous, you spent the year learning something new—and that’s worth some recognition.

Celebrate your achievements and milestones.

This was a tough year to be graduating from school, starting a new job, retiring, or celebrating any type of large milestone—professionally or personally. Though the typical celebrations filled with loved ones couldn’t happen, that doesn’t mean these events should just be glossed over. You should still be proud of yourself and take time to celebrate your achievements or recognize the achievements of loved ones. It’s not too late to tell someone how proud you are of them, or treating yourself to something nice to recognize your own big milestone from the year. Maybe you can celebrate by making your time off during the holiday break a “staycation.” If you don’t feel like celebrating now, come up with a plan to safely celebrate all of the year’s big events in 2021 when it’s safe to do so.

Didn’t have any big milestones this year? Celebrate the fact that you picked yourself up and made it through the year. That alone is a major accomplishment.

Think about how you’ve grown.

No one is leaving 2020 the same way they entered it. This year forced us to become stronger, more compassionate, and more creative with how we live each day. We made it through a global pandemic, widespread social unrest, a highly controversial election year, and more. We kept in touch with loved ones, neighbors, and strangers to ensure they were safe, and found creative ways to serve our local communities. We even kept ourselves (not to mention little ones and pets!) entertained with limited options for getting out of the house. This year forced us to grow, and while the circumstances were not ideal, the results can be.

Appreciate your resilience.    

More than anything, 2020 has shown us just how resilient we are. There is no limit to what we can persevere through, and what situation we can’t make the most of. There is nothing you can’t conquer; so take the time to recognize how powerful you are, and draw off of that strength any time you face a hard situation in the future.

As this tough year comes to a close, bid the bad times farewell while also appreciating what you were able to take from them. One quick, fun and easy way is to make a gratefulness jar or thankful list. Write down only the good stuff from 2020—then bring it back out on New Year’s Eve. There is something about seeing all of your positive wins from the year in black and white as you toast to a new year ahead. Cheers to a brighter and healthier 2021 for all!2021

Tags: , ,