What. A. Year! What do you say after one of the most challenging years we have had collectively? Although we have been weathering this storm together as a community, it does not escape me that we have all had different experiences. Some have experienced loss on many different levels whether it be the loss of a loved one, a job, or loss of normalcy and routine. Others of us are dealing with not seeing family and friends as often as we would like. Life is just different now. Either way, the word that comes to mind when thinking about all of us is “resilient.”
Even if we don’t realize it, we, as a community, have shown amazing resilience. We have all reached a new level of resilience by simply leaning into this past year and all that it has brought our way. The beginning of a new year is a great time to sit back and evaluate what we want our next year to look like. Many of us have adjusted our focus and evaluated what is truly important to us. The new year is when my clients and I sit down and create a vision for what they want their new year to be like. Here are some things to consider when getting started.
How are you taking care of yourself?
The words “self-care” gets thrown around a lot these days but that is because it is so very important. Whether you are a mother, father, student, employee, whomever, taking care of yourself matters. Check-in with how you are feeling and what your stress level is like daily. Don’t wait until you get sick, overwhelmed or frustrated. Self-care is most effective when we are feeling good! What does that look like for you? For my clients, it looks like therapy, daily meditation, gratitude practices, working out, eating healthy, having downtime, etc. Create a plan to take care of yourself before you get stressed and overwhelmed. These actions decrease daily stressors so that it doesn’t all add up.
What goals do you have for next year?
When people think of goals they often think of their professional lives or material gains. I like to start backwards by asking, “How do you want to feel this year? Fulfilled, balanced, peaceful, accomplished?” Then, after thinking about how you want to feel, ask yourself how you can cultivate those feelings. Set your goals based on the feelings and thoughts you want to have. For example, if you want to feel balanced, what goals align with that feeling? Having boundaries around work? Limiting your time on social media? Spending more time with family? I find that starting with how you want to feel really creates the space for goals that are achievable and meaningful.
What are you proud of when looking back on 2020?
Not only is the new year a chance to look forward, but it also a way to validate ourselves. We spend so much time focusing on what we could have done better or what we would have liked to have achieved, and we overlook all that we have accomplished! Did you make it through the year with your kids doing online school at home without ripping your hair out!? Did you find a new routine that makes working from home easier? Did you lean into the hard times by taking on new hobbies? There is real value in sitting back and acknowledging all the work we have done and all that we have gone through. Overlooking the achievement of goals and movement forward actually demotivates us.
All in all, this year was an unforgettable one. We are all ready to move forward in positive ways. Focus on what you can change and what you can plan for. Set goals and lean into those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. Here’s to our wonderful community and positive changes in 2021!
Sarah Jung is a licensed professional counselor at Frisco Counseling and Wellness. She supports clients of all ages with life changes and difficulties such as anxiety, depression, family conflict, trauma recovery and other challenges.