Reflecting on the year that wasThursday, 10 December 2020
2020, what a stressful year!
As most of us take a sigh of relief as we come to the end of the year, we hope that it is time for you to rest and reinvigorate over the holiday period. This can be a good time to reflect on what was good and what we could do differently moving into the New Year.
Do you need to take a reset on healthy habits, celebrate your journey so far, or a bit of both?
Planning for Christmas and the holidays
If the holiday period is busy and stressful for you normally, what can you do to reduce that stress this year? Could you do shopping earlier, prepare food in advance or ask others to share the load? Do you really have to make things complicated? Many of us are happy just to spend time together. Having things be perfect really isn’t necessary and can be an added burden. Summer is a great time for salads and barbeques rather than complex meals. Maybe spending time with people you care about or going for a swim is a better way to use your time. If you can’t spend the holiday with family because they are interstate or overseas, can you celebrate with them in other ways such as a virtual zoom meal, through photos or a video? It’s still possible to make this year a special and unique connection that you might even look back on fondly?
Learn to say no
There are often many things that we feel we have to do because others ask it of us, or we feel that it is expected. If it causes too much stress or is too demanding on your resources, perhaps it’s best that you say no or ask others for help. For example, a meal might mean everyone bringing a plate or perhaps someone else taking a turn to host.
Spend time in nature and beautiful surroundings
There is nothing like spending time in nature to reinvigorate our minds and bodies. A walk on a summer’s evening can be just the thing to reduce our stress levels after a busy day. Walking, swimming or picnicking in nature are good for both our physical and mental health. Social engagements enjoyed outside could be an even more rewarding experience.
Reflecting on the stressful year
Despite 2020 being a stressful year with devastating bushfires affecting vast parts of Australia, there was of course also the Covid pandemic. The pandemic was frightening in its threat to our health and to the health of our loved ones. It separated families and made people feel isolated and lonely. It was unprecedented in our lifetime. Yet, here we are. We made it!
What did you discover about yourself this year?
Perhaps you pleasantly surprised yourself with just how resilient you are. Do you have more strength than you realise? Did you find creative solutions to problems? Adversity has a way of showing us that we have inner resources that we didn’t know we had.
If there were stressors or losses, acknowledge them and allow yourself to feel sad or to grieve. Allow yourself time and acknowledge the importance of self-care. What do you do to rebuild and feel re-energised? It is different for everyone. Some people like to have time out to do creative or solitary activities, others feel invigorated by being with others. Whatever it is for you, be sure to prioritise that into your day. Maybe 15 minutes alone will be enough to refresh you.
You may benefit from the support of others so reach out to friends or family. If you feel that you are persistently sad, stressed or anxious, have difficulty sleeping or hopeless and overwhelmed you may benefit from professional support. Speak with your doctor or your health professional. There is also counselling or online support available if you need it. Our concerns are often helped by the sharing with and support of others. You never have to do it alone.