By Lauren Presutti
Let’s be honest. 2020 was painful and exhausting in many ways. You might have used the pandemic as an opportunity to renovate your home or master cooking foreign cuisine, but if all you did was survive in 2020 (like most of us), that is perfectly okay. We experienced a global pandemic (and we are still experiencing a global pandemic). No matter what this past year looked like for you, try to view simply surviving 2020 as an accomplishment that can be celebrated.
I have noticed many people feeling like this past year was a “wasted year” or a “failure of progress.” Many people have expressed feeling extremely disappointed – and sometimes resentful – for the ways in which COVID-19 has put their life on hold. It halted their progress. It made them feel like their life suddenly froze when the pandemic began. You have every right to feel hurt and disappointed for the loss of this past year, but it’s also important to not live in the space of resentment for too long. Holding onto anguish and chronic disappointment over time can lead to worsening anxiety and depression. We must find a balance between acknowledging our disappointment from this past year vs. feeling strong and resilient for overcoming it.
2020 was not a waste of time. It was not a failure. It was not a pit of empty space. It was not something to bury under the rug. Instead, surviving 2020 was an extraordinary triumph that speaks volumes about your sense of resiliency, adaptation, perseverance, mental stamina, and ability to cope. Sure, maybe some days were messy and hopeless and you maybe even went a little stir crazy stuck indoors – but you made it. You survived it. You relied on your coping skills during a time when everything was chaotic and uncertain. Let’s not look back at 2020 as a failure or a wasted space – but rather, let’s look at 2020 as a victory because we made it through the year.
Finally, remember the internal coping skills and resources you have to continue forward in 2021. The pandemic is still affecting our lives in significant ways. While news about a vaccine brings hope, we must be patient in this process and continue to persevere in the upcoming months. Continue to check in with your loved ones. Make sure you are following a healthy routine. Monitor your energy and sleep patterns. Get fresh air whenever possible. Use this time however you feel is best for your unique needs. Be proud of how far you have come over the last several months and believe in your ability to continue coping in healthy ways. If nothing else, remember that surviving 2020 was possible because of your resiliency and determination to press forward. Use the same skills as we embrace whatever 2021 will bring.