2020 was not ideal. I’m sure the vast majority of you can agree with me on this.
Overwhelming feelings of confinement and frustration settled in quite frequently, and I personally found myself stuck in the mud more often than not.
I hit a point of feeling like every day was the same.
My anxiety—escalating. My mind—spiraling.
After coming to the conclusion that I wanted to proactively shake those unsettling feelings, I decided to try and make some changes to my daily routine and mindset.
With the external world on hold, I was forced to interact with my internal world in a way that I never really had before.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m perfect or that I somehow managed to defeat 2020. There were definitely too many tough days to count. However, I did find that reframing the way I viewed each hardship was a huge factor in finishing my year off strong.
I’ve picked up a few lessons that I’m hoping to actively keep in mind as we progress into 2021. Here are some tips that have allowed me to reframe and recenter my mind:
1. Stop the Comparisons
As a perfectionist one of the hardest realities I had to face was that there is always going to be someone else who is doing more than me. Going onto social media during quarantine was soooo intimidating. Many people were making these grand decisions regarding their lifestyles and career paths, meanwhile I developed the fear of falling behind in life. I have this tendency to equate my self-worth with success. This past year showed me that this is absolutely not true. My progress (internal and external) does not determine my value as a person.
2. Journal. Journal. Journal.
This is crazy to admit now, but I actually used to think journaling was dumb. Maybe it was because teen movies had me thinking that journaling was writing about boy problems using a sparkly pink pen. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Journaling has completely transformed the way I relieve anxiety. I’m the type of person whose thoughts go 900 miles per hour. By writing down all those thoughts that seemed to be piling up, I was able to dissect not only what I was feeling, but more importantly why I was feeling those things. I’m really excited to journal in this new year, and look back at my journal entries from last year to track my personal growth. If journaling really intimidates you, I recommend starting by making lists—things that make you happy, things that you are afraid of, etc.
Whether it’s cleaning the old clothes out of your closet or leaving toxic tendencies behind, decluttering helps ease the mind. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I start to unhealthily pick apart everything around me. Slowly cleaning up my physical space helped me feel more productive and less frazzled, while cleaning up my mental space allowed me to focus in on and appreciate the good things in my life.
4. Just Do It.
We all have those recipes we want to try, adventures we want to go on, and goals we want to meet. While the limitations of the pandemic may hinder you from following this tip to the fullest, there are always new fun things to try. I used to love painting as a kid. As I got older, my free time was absorbed by school and obligations. I often thought about painting again but for some reason always brushed (no pun intended) it off. Last year taught me that it’s important to do more things simply for your own enjoyment. I can’t believe it took being confined inside my home to realize this. I found a secondhand easel on Facebook Marketplace, picked up some paint from Michael’s, and at very odd hours of the night (I really just couldn’t fall asleep), I popped in my earphones and lost myself in a painting. I found it so therapeutic. This little anecdote is just me trying to say that we should prioritize doing the little things that make us happy rather than only doing those little things when we have free time.
5. Express Gratitude!
I feel like we’re living in a time where the negatives are so much more apparent than the positives. However, I have realized that the more I let myself dwell on the negative, the more negative of a person I become. Like many, I’m not a natural optimist, but I personally think optimism can be beneficial to put into practice. Gratitude and the expression of gratitude is probably one of the most wholesome things I adopted this past year. Whether it’s making a list of things you're grateful for, or sending an appreciation text to your loved ones, I think it’s important to not only acknowledge gratitude but to express it more frequently.
Written By: Shei Marcelline