As you move into another cold week of February, what do you need? Taking a moment to scan your body, how do you feel? Scanning your mind, what are your thoughts and emotions?
Some of us might be feeling like we need to vent a little steam. Some of us might be needing to let go of the fear of the unknown that we’ve experienced over the last 11 months. Others may need to release themselves from the mistakes made along the way. Many of us may need to somehow muster up the strength to keep moving forward.
2021 may or may not be much different from 2020. We don’t know what the future holds. But we know where we’ve been and where we are. Here are some ideas for working through the baggage of one tough year as we move forward through the next with hope and resiliency.
Pause and take stock of all that’s happened for you since the pandemic started. Make a mental list of all that you have lost. Money, jobs, feelings of security, connection with others, comfort in moving about in your community. Feel the feelings that come up for you. Honor your experience and your reaction to it. Know that you are not alone.
Vent off the steam, safely and respectfully:
– Journal all your thoughts about the last 11 months, without censoring your thoughts or your language. Use color to express your feelings, images to convey your thoughts, even textures (cloth, glue, glitter, stickers) to represent the ups and downs of the journey.
– Make an angry song playlist. Perhaps include a little Simple Plan, Twisted Sister, P!nk, Chumbawamba, or Pat Benatar. Dance and shout along with the lyrics.
– Do some rigorous exercise, like running, push ups, jumping jacks, or even just pushing against a wall. Get out into the extreme temperature and challenge your body to move and stay warm.
– Find someone you trust that you can vent with and who will just listen without judgment or “one upping”.
Let go of the fear:
– Breathe. deeply. and often.
– Practice mindfulness of emotions to acknowledge your fear and trepidation and make space for it without letting it become you
– Focus on your strengths and the skills you’ve used to get through tough times in the past
– Focus on what you can control, rather than what you can’t.
– Do something everyday that allows you to feel successful and productive.
– Make a plan to take small steps to move past your fear and do the thing that scares you.
Release yourself from mistakes you’ve made:
– Practice self-compassion mindfulness
– Use reframing to change “I shouldn’t have done that” to “I did the best I could with what I had and knew at the time”.
– See mistakes as opportunities for growth rather than as failure. Nobody ever learned to walk without ever falling down. It’s the getting up and trying again that allows us to learn and make progress.
– Know that making mistakes connects you to all humanity. Everyone makes mistakes. Over and over and over again.
– Forgive yourself and say sorry when its warranted
Muster up the strength and hope to move on:
– Turn to focus on what you have gained over the past months. Identify the ways you have shown courage, perseverance, and creativity in getting through the pandemic. Bring to mind the knowledge you have gained through suffering. Remember that an unbroken seed never grows. Only a seed that has been broken can grow into a beautiful, strong tree.
– Pinpoint and celebrate those new or renewed strengths and skills you’ve shown. Think about how you can keep showing up with the help of these strengths and skills.
– Reach out to someone you trust on a regular basis for comfort, connection, and a good belly laugh.
– Make a plan for today. Keep a schedule and balance rest with productivity.
– Make a plan for the coming week, month, and year. Setting goals can help give us a sense of purpose and hope. Start identifying the steps you can take now and each day forward to accomplish your goal.
– Know that this, too, shall pass.
You are strong. You are resilient. You can do this.