Wow. we can safely say 2021 didn’t quite start with the bang it was supposed to! 2 weeks ago who else was pumping? Pumping full of ideas, energy and, positive vibes. Did anyone else find themselves saying “it’s fine we’re turning a corner, new year, new start, new world”?!
And then whammy.
Here’s how the week has played out for me. Can anyone else relate?
Monday – Hallelujah, life is on track.
Tuesday – Morning – think positive, he won’t shut schools. Evening – life has come to an end.
Wednesday – Embarked on a massive emotional rollercoaster. Sobbed on most zoom calls. Sobbed on kids. Swore at school apps. Cursed teachers. Cursed work. Cursed life.
Thursday – Gave myself a pep talk. Praised teachers. Praised work for still paying me. Praised life because I‘m alive and healthy.
Friday – Told kids they could have an inset day. Pass me the gin.
We’re supposed to start 2021 on a high, refreshed from the Christmas break and with new outlooks. But, with the new lockdown in place and mental and emotional well-being taking a nose dive it’s crucial we dig deep. So, let’s leave 2020 behind us and focus on some positives on the horizon and how we can approach 2021.
A cruel statement to make is that it looks like this virus is here to stay. Mentally that is a hard one to process as we had high expectations last year that it would disappear at some stage. But, we can turn that thought process around. Yes we will face obstacles along the way but, turn this into a positive: grass grows through concrete.
We are more powerful than we realise.
Look 2021 in the eye, raise it a positive attitude, punch it with emotional stamina, and know that we can keep going regardless of the obstacles.
Mother Nature has equipped us with a negativity bias in order to survive. Psychologist Rick Hanson stated, “The brain is like velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones”. The lifeline of our negativity bias far outweighs positivity which results in us overestimating threats and underestimating our ability to overcome them. Enter a pandemic and, a negative force so strong that it tests our power to deal with it to exponential levels.
So how can we adapt and approach 2021 with positivity?
Here are some tips to help you try and alleviate the threats and effects of the pandemic.
See 2020 as a lesson. Remove the connotation of it as a misery that you endured and ask yourself what can/have you learned from it? 2020 didn’t happen to you, it happened for you. The hardships aren’t roadblocks, they’re opportunities. Take the difficulties and turn them into opportunities to learn something about yourself, the world, your life, your approach. What have you learned that you are carrying into 2021?
Be grateful. Take a step back. You may be scared, disappointed, angry. But look at the bigger picture. Write it down if you need to but just consider all the things in your life that you haven’t been able to do. Did you previously take them for granted? Well, don’t anymore. Consider the changes you’ve made, the people who’ve stepped up, the processes you’ve since changed. Just ask yourself, every single day, what are you grateful for?
Practise positive self-talk. Highlight your wins, no matter what they are, underline them in a big, bold, permanent marker pen. Don’t knock yourself and instead, practise self-compassion. Now is not the time to be modest. High-fiving yourself is crucial, shout loud and proud about what you’ve achieved. If you’re a natural introvert try this. Record a little video every day. You can mention your fears, your worries, your frustrations but end it with what you’ve achieved and what you’re patting yourself on the back for. When you’re in a hole, play it back to yourself and remind yourself how strong you are.
Focus on the solution. The minute you start channeling your energy towards a host of possibilities rather than problems you’ll regain control and feel more empowered. Empowerment leads to a sense of calm, it shifts the mindset. The negativity bias referred to earlier will naturally send you along the path of problems. Don’t let it. Widen your perspective. What possibilities can you see both in the short-term and long-term of 2021?
Accept solitude. Step back from the daily grind for a moment and take a bird’s-eye view of your daily life. Yoga, meditation, praying, nature, breathing, solitude is good for the soul and will, for a moment, connect you to something on a far greater scale than yourself. From here, you can find inspiration, calmness and an appreciation of what you’re dealing with in the ‘now’.
Heading into 2021 and it’s more crucial now than ever to chose a positive approach. In doing so, you are choosing to attack 2021 from a position of strength, both mentally and physically.
2021 should quiver in its boots as we wait patiently, like a coiled snake ready to spring back at its prey with a vengeance.