Here we are, just three days from the end of 2020. Anyone thinking, "well, that sucked."? If so, no worries. You are far from alone! I think it's safe to say that many of us did not have the year we had in mind this January. It's okay to feel defeated and run down. The holidays can be a tiring time of year in the best of times. This year it was compounded.
Despite all the bad of 2020, I have been reflecting on the good that came from this year. There were some great things that happened this year, and I try to focus on those and not on all the negative. Some of the positives that happened in our family this year include:
Our oldest son joined the Army. He graduated from Basic Training and will soon graduate from AIT.
I started The Butterbean Legacy. After years of debating starting a blog, I finally decided to jump in there.
I got my insurance producer's license and got a new job. Yep, that happened!
We got to enjoy Christmas, and even though it was different with no traveling or family in town, it was still great.
So, with all the bad that happened this year (and trust me, COVID aside, 2020 wasn't easy for our family as a whole), how do I keep staying positive? It doesn't just happen. It's so easy to start dwelling on the bad, then it snowballs into a landslide of negative emotions. Soon you may find yourself in a dark hole that you struggle to dig out of. I have had my fair share of tough days. I just don't let myself stay down for too long.
I am no expert, and we all find peace and happiness in different ways. But I'd like to share with you some of the ways I've managed to keep my sanity this year.
One of the biggest things I like to do to stay grounded is to take a few minutes to myself each morning. I know that may sound silly, but it really helps me set the tone for the day. I am an early riser, and I am usually out of bed at least an hour before it's time to get the kids up. I use that time to sit quietly and think. Sometimes I think about my agenda for the day. Other times I think about a craft or project I want to work on.
I make a pot of coffee or a cup of hot tea and enjoy the peace while I sip my morning beverage. Occasionally I'll read a book or magazine, or even work on a crochet project. I try not to check the news first thing because there is so much negativity from the media. It puts a damper on the day from the start, and that can be tough to overcome.
If you're not a morning person, this might be a tough option for you, but I recommend giving it a shot. Even if you wake up just half an hour earlier than normal and give yourself some "you time" before kicking off the day, you might be surprised at how much better you feel. We all need some time to ourselves sometimes.
Another thing I like to do sometimes is to make a written list of good things that have happened or things I've accomplished. We all make to-do lists, but how many of you make "got it done" lists?
A to-do list simply reminds you of all the things you needed or wanted to accomplish but didn't. It mocks you, taunts you. This just piles on the stress. On the other hand, got it done lists let you reward yourself, recognizing the hard work you put in and the things you accomplished. Instead of bringing a wave of stress, they put a smile on your face.
You can include whatever you like. Folded the clothes? Put it on the list. Did the dishes? That is a list-worthy accomplishment! Dusted the house? That one definitely earns a spot on your list! Mop the kitchen? You're a rockstar- make sure that one makes the cut!
You can also include larger accomplishments. Are you taking online courses? Needing to finish up some CEUs for a professional license? Updating your resume or seeking new employment? Each time you finish up one of those projects, reward yourself with a break and a nice new completed list item.
The third thing I like to do to keep a positive outlook may sound counterproductive. I like to let myself have a "blah day" every now and then. Some days I just feel lazy. I feel like doing nothing. I can't (and would never want) to do this every day, but if your body is sending signals that you need to chill out, it's wise to listen.
Some days I'll just sit in my chair and read a book or work on a crochet or embroidery project. I might not get much done around the house, but the kids and animals are all fed and that's good enough for me on those days.
Allowing yourself to feel the negative emotions, process them, and make a plan to overcome them is part of the process of staying in charge. Don't feel guilty if you just need a day to take it easy.
The last thing I'd like to recommend is to have a support network. This can be as simple as your significant other and/or your children. Maybe you have a group of close friends that you know you can not only lean on but that will also keep you accountable. Maybe your mom or dad, sister or brother is your confidante.
Having this network will give you someone to vent to. When it's been an exceptionally rough day and you just need to get some thoughts off your chest, you can call them and they'll listen without judging.
At the same time, they aren't afraid to tell you that you need to cheer up, remember all the good in your life, and find the positive. They'll remind you that things could be worse in a gentle way. They help keep you in line.
We all need a network. Find yours, and you'll be that much closer to having a commanding, positive outlook on your life heading into 2021.
Yes, 2020 was tough. And if we're being honest, the first part of 2021 probably won't be much better. We'll still be facing the virus, restrictions, uncertainties, a life six feet from others, and a battered economy.
But we're stronger now. We learned so much about ourselves this year. We were pushed to our limits and at times, we thought we might break. But we did not. We fought back, kicking and clawing our way back to the top. And we will continue to do so. 2021, we're coming for you!
What did 2020 teach you about yourself? What's your plan to keep kicking butt in 2021. I'd love to hear it!