It’s the time of year when many of us are considering our goals and resolutions for the year ahead. We may also be reflecting on the year gone by and feeling several emotions in the process. This year, your reflections and resolutions may look a little different. It’s no surprise that many people consider 2020 to be the most challenging year of their lives, due to the pandemic and everything that came with it. The year also brought civil, political and racial unrest.
Because of COVID-19, many people were unable to fulfill goals and resolutions that they had set for themselves. The pandemic affected everything from travel to job security to the economy. Maybe you had financial goals that you were not able to achieve because you lost your job. Maybe you planned to get married this year, but the stress of quarantine led to the end of a relationship instead. Maybe 2020 was the year you finally took that trip, but it had to be canceled.
When everything is so uncertain, it can be demotivating to set goals and resolutions for ourselves. The disappointments you faced in 2020 may cause you to be reluctant to set resolutions for 2021. Yet, this is when we need goals the most. Goals give us a reason to look forward to the future. They provide a source of inspiration and motivation and give us something worthwhile to spend our time and energy on.
The solution is to take a different approach to your goals and resolutions this time around. Here are a few things to consider when setting your goals for the new year.
Take the time to process your loss
What did you lose in 2020? Some losses are life-changing, like the loss of a loved one. Some losses may seem smaller, but can still affect you if left unaddressed. Take the time to grieve whatever you may have lost in 2020 – opportunities, friendships, or even just the ability to sit in your favorite coffeeshop. If you are dealing with serious grief or loss, you may consider speaking to a therapist or counselor who can help you to process these difficult emotions in a healthy way.
Take the time be grateful
Despite its challenges and setbacks, can you find reasons to be grateful for 2020? Maybe you picked up a new hobby or interest to help pass the time. Were you able to reconnect with old friends via technology? Maybe you are simply grateful to have survived a year that took so many lives. Were you able to keep your job and work from home? That’s something to be thankful for. Did you see any remarkable displays of kindness or compassion during these difficult times? If you look hard enough, there were many things to be grateful for this past year.
Set simple, attainable goals
If it’s one thing that 2020 taught us, it’s to slow down and embrace a simpler lifestyle. Consider taking a similar approach with your resolutions. Changing tiny things about your daily habits is more likely to yield success than setting huge, lofty goals. Here are some examples of simple, attainable goals:
- Set a reading goal. How many books would you like to read next year? Break that down into monthly or weekly goals. Start slow. If you are not a regular reader, try reading one book per month or every two months. If you are a regular reader, try increasing your goal from last year.
- Resolve to attain a healthy sleep schedule. Get disciplined about having a regular bedtime and waking up at around the same time everyday. Getting sufficient sleep is the foundation for many other things in our lives.
- If you didn’t exercise as much as you wanted to last year, can you move your body a bit more in 2021? Consider free or cheap ways to get (socially distant) exercise. This can be as simple as resolving to take a ten minute walk everyday and increasing to fifteen and twenty minute walks. You can listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts on your walk. How about going jogging or starting an at-home yoga practice?
- If you are not already journaling, 2021 is a great time to start! There are so many benefits to journaling and so many things to journal about.
Resolve to take care of your mental health in 2021
Think of how you can take care of your mental health in 2021. Resolve to pay more attention to self-care and learning how to become more mentally resilient. We can’t predict what will happen next year, but we can ensure that we are able to cope with whatever 2021 brings. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy can teach you how to manage life’s inevitable challenges.
If you have been thinking about going to therapy, 2021 is the perfect time to start. Scheduling an appointment is easier than ever and you can attend sessions from the safety and comfort of your home, via video chat. Consider setting the resolution to contact us for a free consultation to get matched with a therapist who best meets your needs.
2021 may or may not be easier than 2020. The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding when or even if we will ever be able to see some semblance of pre-pandemic life. Go into 2021 with the mindset that you have become strong enough to handle whatever it throws your way.
Many of us struggle to love our bodies. Unrealistic beauty standards are everywhere we turn. Bodies that look nothing like ours pressure us to mirror what we see. Disappointment, fad diets, and toxic cycles ensue. But this does not have to be your reality. You deserve to look into a mirror and love the image that is reflected. Here are 5 steps you can take to begin loving yourself.
Step 1: Recognize The Strength Of Your Body
Our bodies are incredibly strong. The heart works incredibly hard to keep you alive. Your brain allows you to solve those puzzles, allowed you to get through high school, and your lungs are a constant reminder that you are still alive, and breathing. Your belly houses all of your organs, and provides shelter, and protects them. If you are a mother your body has done incredible things like have a baby, and feeds your body.
Your body is a safe haven that works tirelessly to keep you alive. It’s inner workings are intricate, and hard to fathom, yet we take it for granted. Your body is a living breathing love letter to you. If it could speak it would say “ you are so important to me that I work tirelessly everyday, so you can live to see another day and live your life”. Your body deserves to be loved and celebrated because of this.
Step 2: See Your Beauty
While you may not realize it, you possess a great amount of beauty. This is not fully realized as of yet, as a result you think thoughts that only harm your self esteem. These thoughts can include “why am I so ugly”, “no one will find me so attractive”, and “I hate my body”. These thoughts are not only detrimental to your self esteem, but also to your mental health. Instead try to find at least two things that you like about yourself or your appearance. This can be absolutely anything. The list can range from your lips, beard, hair, arms, eyes, or your love for chocolate!
The goal here is to see that you truly do have beautiful features whether they are physical attributes or not. By always looking for something you do love, you begin to counteract and disempower the negative thoughts. If you continue to do this you will find more things to love, and there will be a surplus of positive thoughts. The existence of your beauty is a fact, it simply has to be confirmed.
Step 3: Be Mindful of the Media You Consume
The media displays beautiful bodies, but sometimes the bodies that are portrayed are unrealistic, or hard to achieve. By consuming these images we begin to feel less than and compare our bodies to what we see in the media. This can lead to a cycle that involves dangerous diets, negative thoughts, and a lack of self love. To combat this spend time away from sources that cause you to dislike your body.
Try cancelling that magazine subscription for a month or two, find healthy diets, or surround yourself with body positive figures. Another way to do this is through social media. Unfollow people who cause you to scrutinize your body, or creators who you constantly compare your body to. Try following people and brands who preach body positivity and celebrate all bodies.
Step 4 : Remind Yourself That Looks Aren’t Everything
Looks, and physical appearance do not determine your worth. You are so much more than what you look like. To narrow down your existence to the size of your body or the level of symmetry of your face is to do yourself a disservice. Think of the most important people in your life. Do you love them simply because of their looks? Would you stop loving them if they lost their good looks? The answer to this question is most likely no.
You love the people you love not because they are attractive or look good, you love them because they bring you joy. They comfort you, make you laugh, care for you and others, and have the ability to make your bad days better. Would you tell them the only thing that makes them important in this world are their looks? If not, then why do you repeat the same message to yourself? You are more than your looks, and bring light to the lives of others. You have made someone laugh, smile, or look forward to another day. Your looks do not define you, at all.
Step 5: Forgive Yourself
It is easy to beat yourself up for all of your faults. Many of us have spent our nights lamenting over our actions in the past, and are left cringing. But no matter how cringy our actions were in the past, we need to forgive ourselves. If we do not forgive ourselves, we cannot move on. If you do not practice self forgiveness you may find yourself living in the past and unable to move forward. Practice forgiving yourself, even for the most minor occurrences. Remind yourself that everybody makes mistakes, and that mistakes are completely normal. They are what make us human. Let’s be honest, some of our mishaps are humorous so take the moment to laugh, reflect, move on, and make a point to learn from your mistakes.
Do not torture yourself when you say the wrong words, when you do something embarrassing, or when you find that you could have been nicer that one time. Simply acknowledge your mistake, reflect upon it, make a plan to do better, and move on from it. By doing this you will build up your self esteem, and give yourself permission to move out of your past.
Using these 5 steps whether together or individually will allow you to begin loving yourself.
While the 5 steps will aid in self love, and will help you begin loving yourself. extra help may be needed. If you are struggling with your body image, and self esteem or if you are worried you may have an eating disorder, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our psychologists specialize in body image and eating disorders and will help you regain a positive self-esteem.
The onset of COVID-19 led many practices and therapists to make the decision to switch to online therapy. This was done to protect the health of their clients. Many thought the transition from physical sessions to online sessions would be rocky, and hesitated to make the transition. However online therapy is now loved by clients because of how easy, convenient, and accessible it is. As a result online therapy is becoming popular among clients.
The deaths of many black individuals have shaken the country. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah Mcclain ( to name a few) have been the cause of trauma for black people everywhere. Witnessing the deaths of black people at the hands of police brutality has devastating effects on the emotional and mental health of all who witness it, but leaves a deeper wound and creates lasting pain for black individuals. This is why it is it is important, (now more than ever) to be a source of support for the black people in your life. Keep reading to find out how to best support your black friends and colleagues right now.
Support The Movement
One of the best ways to be an ally for the black people in your life is to support the Black Lives Matter movement in any way you can. This includes donating, signing petitions, and calling government officials. Donating what you can and taking 10 seconds to sign a petition are small, but worthy steps you can take to show your support for the movement and for black lives. By calling, donating or signing a petition you are taking the appropriate actions, and steps towards change. You can also protest in solidarity, by attending peaceful protests in your city. This shows that you not only care about the lives that have been lost, but the lives of all black lives. By supporting the movement you are saying ” Black Lives are valuable, worthy, and deserve justice”. This is a message that your black friends, colleagues, and associates need you to understand.
Check In On Them
Check in on your black friends and coworkers. Send them a text, asking how they feel, and what can be done on your end to help. Check in on their mental health, and offer ways to help that are already natural to your relationship. If applicable, list the ways you have already supported the movement, and ask if there’s more you can do on a larger or more personal scale. Do not expect a prompt response, in fact do not expect a response at all. They may be preoccupied with ways they can support their friends and family, or they may still be processing current events. Give them time, as they are dealing with trauma. What matters is that you have offered to help. Make sure to keep an eye out for a response and maintain your promise to help, in the event that more ways to help are listed. Most importantly make sure to combine your words with action. You can do this by following the steps above.
Have the Tough Conversations
Take the time to evaluate you own beliefs about race and about the current events. Take in the beliefs of the people you spend your time with. Do their beliefs align with your own? Do you consider them allies? How are you promoting the idea of racial equality and are the people around you doing the same? if you are not satisfied with the way the people in your circle are dealing with current situations then it may be time to start having tough conversations, Discuss the importance of offering support, being an ally, and being part of the movement. Emphasize the importance of being part of the change. Disagreements may ensue but what is most important is that you have started having these conversation, and have started raising awareness of the injustices committed against black people.
Raise Awareness Where You Can
Use social media as a tool to raise awareness. You can post petitions, places to donate, and list numbers to call. You can also provide information about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of individuals like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Elijah Mcclain and so many more. Repost relevant information and links to resources. Text your friends and family about ways they can help, and stay up to date on newest developments and tell others about them.
Think About How You Can Continue To Support Long Term
Make sure your support doesn’t end here. Make sure your support persists when the movement is no longer trending in the media. One way you can do this is by continuing to donate, sign petitions, stay educated, and have conversations with the people around you. Another great way to keep up your support in the long term is to support black owned businesses. Lastly continue to educate yourself on resources that can be used to support the movement. Supporting the movement on a larger scale, still displays your support on a personal level.
Continue to take the steps towards change. Understand that your black friends, and coworkers experience deep emotional scars due to current events. Find ways to support them in this area too. Notify the black people in your life of therapy services that can aid them. Contact us to inquire about services that you can recommend to the black people in your life, or research other methods that can be of aid.
In the past few months, COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. The virus has not only affected the physical health of many individuals, but it has also taken a toll on the mental health of many. As a result, it is important to take steps to calm the heightened anxiety, and stress that has come as a result of COVID-19. Continue reading to learn how to calm anxiety and stress during the Coronavirus pandemic. (more…)