It’s always about now when we realize how close the end of the year is. Every year we talk about about it’s a light at the end of the tunnel but this time I notice that people seem less hopeful than in year’s past. Really, who can blame them? At the end of 2019, we were filled with such hope and incredible goals for the the year ahead. We put a lot of misplaced trust into 2020. Now with 2021 peeking through the blinds, many are nervous for another year of tragedy waiting for them.
I think we can all agree that the past 9 months have really tested us. Job loss, human rights issues, an insane election and the loss of loved ones have been in the forefront of our lives. I don’t want to jinx things, but we are nearing a turn around. So many are scared to believe the end is in sight but I think we need to pull ourselves together and bring that kind of positivity back to cap out the year.
When you’re still suffering the trauma from job loss and are concerned about how you’ll be able to make Christmas special for the family this year, you probably roll your eyes when people say that good things are on the way. But it’s what we need to believe right now. Getting your mind right is going to be a huge influence on how 2021 is going to look for you. Spend the next couple of weeks ending this sh*t year on a high note, despite all the things that are still going wrong. I’m here to tell you, it is possible to find some peace within this chaos. Peace is one infectious thing that we should be spreading around right now! It starts with you.
Take a moment to highlight the good that still happened this year. It’s so easy to talk about the bad stuff that has happened. It is plastered all over the news and social media daily. Good things still happened this year. Probably even to you if you have an honest look at it all.
For example, you might have lost your job but in return you got to spend more time with your family and take time to focus on the little things that bring joy, like making pancakes in the morning.
You could have suffered more loss than ever before. That’s never positive. I think it would be toxic positivity to say “find an upside” to that. Instead, maybe think about where was something given to you? New friendships? A renewed lease on your own life? I know so many people that have adopted pets to fill the void. While a new pet of course cannot truly replace that piece of your heart that broke, you did just give something incredible to that animal and I think that is a positive.
Even those of us who have not directly lost a loved one or our jobs have suffered this year. It’s okay to acknowledge that! Just because you didn’t have the worst of it doesn’t mean that you aren’t having the mental repercussions from 2020.
I’m always happy to be transparent about my life. I did not lose my job. I did not lose a family member or close friend to COVID-19. Yet, I still found myself struggling to cope with the year. While I kept my job, not everyone at my company did. I spent months being anxious that I was next. A mental stress that got worse when I got pregnant. A planned pregnancy but the planning started before the firings did. I was a bit scared to tell my boss that I’d need to start working from home. What an easy way to slowly let me go. I’m still here obviously and I do feel secure in my position now after a lot of talks with my superiors. But I’d be lying if I said working from home doesn’t come with it’s own struggles. While it’s mostly voluntary, it’s for the safety of my baby so it still feels like an obligation that I don’t really want. It’s so isolating. I feel out of the loop as to what is happening at the office. I wonder if my co workers feel like I’ve got a pass and am taking advantage of it or if my bosses know how hard I am working while I’m at home.
Being pregnant in a pandemic has its whole set of stressors too. But my point is that I caught myself slipping into that toxic positivity where I said, “my woes are stupid because I still have a job.” Or, “why am I complaining when I’m still alive.” But since when did the standard get set so low that to be alive negated our reasoning to be sad. Your year might have looked like mine, and guess what? It’s okay to say that it still sucked while also understanding that it could have been worse.
So to highlight the good. My pregnancy is a blessing! Something my husband and I have been working towards for years. It has brought endless joy that outweighs my fears. Another positive is my mother has decided to move here so she can be apart of her grandchild’s life. My husband is finally getting the hang of how his job flows and I had the time to pick up some new hobbies while staying inside more. Once you get on a roll, it’s easy to take inventory of the good- even when it’s on a small scale.
Pausing to be intentional. What does that mean and how does it help me end my year on a high note? Well break it down. First, PAUSE. No, not like the perpetual state of waiting this year has brought us. Even waiting is something. It’s wanting to move forward but being held back. Simply stop if even for just a minute. Next, be intentional. What I mean by that is do your next action with purpose. Be prescriptive in how you treat yourself.
I think the back half of the year we all kind of went on autopilot. We started getting used to how things are, with how bad they are, and started to ignore the other things happening around us. Pausing, looking, and listening will help us realign our mind. When you add a little intention to your daily routine, it suddenly feels less routine-like. Try it. Even something mundane. Do it with purpose after being on autopilot and you’ll notice something different about it. Maybe in the way you carry out the activity or the length of time you spend doing it, but you’re going to get something out of it.
It would be great if we were always intentional with our actions. Things would be better cared for if that were how it was. Get ready for whatever life has to throw our way in 2021 by taking the time now to bring new purpose to old tasks.
Do something, just because. No real guidelines here, just do something. That thing you keep thinking about doing? That phone call, that volunteer work, sharing the compliment- whatever. Just do it.
How often do we stop ourselves from doing something because we couldn’t give ourselves a real reason or find something that we’d “get out of it?” We get in our own way of doing good that way.
Today, I’m going to take a break from my work day and go on a walk just because. I keep telling myself I’ll enjoy a middle of the day walk to help clear my mind and I never do because of my ever-growing to do lists. No more. I’m going to do it today and see what it can bring me.
What will you do this week, just because?
Give a little. In a year that has taken so much from us, considering ending the year giving a little. This is going to mean something different for all of us. It could mean physically giving something. The act of giving is proven to make us feel good about ourselves whether it’s a gift to a friend or a donation of some sort.
It can also mean giving time. We have already talked about job loss so giving gifts isn’t easy right now! But time is something valuable that we have more of than we realize. Time is easily wasted. Hours of time dedicated to just worrying, scrolling on social media, and to other things that aren’t beneficial to anyone. When we start eliminating some of that stuff from our day, or at least limiting it, more time is found. Give the gift of time- hell it could be something you just give to yourself. We have gotten accustomed to not giving ourselves a lot of our own time. Ending the year on a high note could mean you finally do some of that.
For me, giving a little means to be more flexible. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that things aren’t always going to go according to plan. You see, I’m really Type A. I plan out everything to a “T” and even make up several back-up plans for everythings so that I’m not surprised. This year even my back-up plans didn’t come into play as everything was completely dumped everywhere. I know that if I want 2021 to go smoothly, I need to learn to be more flexible. To give or to bend a little. Something’s gotta give and it’s definitely me!
As this year comes to a close, that is the main thing I will be doing to go out with a bang. A good bang. Not like, bang, here’s a pandemic.
Find something to look forward to. This shouldn’t be too hard since everything labeled for 2020 is now labeled for 2021. Take your pick! Movies, music albums and vacations galore await us in 2021 assuming we can get our sh*t together with a vaccine.
The future is never promised but there is no problem with finding something to look forward to. It’s a major motivating factor when you need just a little push to do something. Find a reason to push on!
Set New Year’s intentions rather than “resolutions” or “goals.” A word can make a big difference in your attitude about something. Many “goals” from 2020 were not met this year. That was to no fault of our own but still when you don’t make a goal, it feels like a miss or a failure. Resolutions that go unmet end up just being empty promises to yourself that lose meaning.
Instead of setting your goals for 2021, try setting intentions instead. Changing the word can change the outcome or at the very least how you view the outcome.
Here are some of mine so far:
- I intend to lose the baby weight by the end of the year
- I intend to find peace in the chaos of a newborn
- I intend to keep my marriage fun despite a baby
- I intend to do something new at work
- I intend to do more outreach projects with my church
- I intend to not lose sight of who I am while filling the role as a mom
I’m excited to give my best effort to these! My best effort is enough to have a good year no matter how I end the year.
Practice patience. Sheeeewww, this is a hard one. All we have been this year is patient yet we still aren’t very good at it, are we? Being patient is wasting time- which is often how we view it. It’s peace in waiting out the storm. Finding something better to do with our focus while we allow time to unfold what is not yet seen.
We exist in a culture that pushes “Why wait. Do it now!” I generally endorse that. But there are so many cases where there isn’t anything more you can do to speed up the process and when you’re stuck in this “why wait” mentality, it becomes so painful to hit that wall. Practice the art of patience for the sake of your mental health. Patience helps combat anxiety. Can you think of some things that you need patience for? I’m sure you can. Patience for a vaccine. Patience to find a new job. Patience for a promotion. Patience for some damn good luck!
It is more important than ever for us to work on our mentality as we draw closer to the New Year. To renew our faith in the future and find reasons to keep moving forward. For every huge downfall in history it is always followed by a period of greatness. Your period of greatness is coming and don’t you want to be ready when it arrives? Changing your attitude doesn’t come naturally but there are little things we can do to work towards that. End your year on a high note and help others do the same. We are all in this together.