Today, I am going to discuss how to get back on track and end 2020 on a high note because if there is one thing I feel positive about, is that I don’t have any desire to sit and stew in the grief of these past few months any longer than I have to. Do you?
It’s no surprise when I tell you that for many the year 2020 has been ROUGH.
Uncertainty has shrouded the year with angst and fear for what the future holds.
The truth is, life is full of uncertainty and the year 2020 has been a prime example of this. Granted, on a far grander scale than could have been expected!
Among the tragedy and loss experienced by many we must find hope for the future and work toward getting ourselves back into a position of control and content so that we can move forward with intent and purpose.
Time To Focus On Yourself More Than Ever
If there were ever a moment to allow yourself time to focus on YOU, then it would be now.
No matter how this year has affected you it would be difficult to accept that you have been UNAFFECTED by the events of the past few months.
With that in mind before we can move forward we need to take a moment to re-evaluate a few things.
It is important to move forward with a good mindset and a positive outlook and to get there we need to make sure that we feel good in ourselves.
If you’re anything like me; my confidence has taken a huge knock and the fear of uncertainty has had me in a less than stable state on many an occasion.
This needs to change.
Time to work on YOU.
1. Accept The Situation
What has happened, has happened.
For many of us we were blindsided by what was coming and our worlds were turned upside down in a matter of weeks but here’s the thing, none of us had any control over this.
If we are to move forward we MUST accept that these past few months have been hard.
There have been challenges for some that they may never have thought they would have to face but it has happened.
You have lived through it.
And whilst it doesn’t feel like this is in any way OVER and DONE WITH you must accept that certain events have occurred and that dwelling on it will not help you to move forward.
Accept the situation and look ahead.
2. Make Peace With What Has Happened
You’ve accepted the situation. Now it’s time to make peace with it.
This is similar to the ‘forgive and forget’ rule of a relationship but with some minor tweaks.
You can accept the situation and understand that you had no control however, this doesn’t mean much if you can’t make peace with it.
Making peace means freeing yourself from constantly re-living the experience. Understanding that you cannot CHANGE what has happened, you only have control over how you move forward.
By ridding yourself of any anger, worry or upset that you associate with this period of time and MAKING PEACE with what has happened you’re giving yourself the ultimate gift – emotional freedom.
These past few months do not deserve any more of your time and attention.
3. Focus On What You HAVE
Gratitude is a great healer.
Understandably, many of us experienced some form of loss to some degree over these past 6 months.
Loss of jobs, loved ones, security, relationships or our homes.
It is heartbreaking and not to be dismissed.
But the balancing factor here is to FOCUS ON WHAT YOU HAVE.
That may not be a lot but even the smallest of things that you can pinpoint and say, ‘THIS brings me JOY’ is worth your attention.
You owe it to yourself to search for those little uplifts in life because this year has been TOUGH and you NEED to remind yourself that it has not taken everything from you.
Perhaps it’s as simple as acknowledging that you are still here on this Earth. That you still have your health.
Perhaps you take the time to appreciate your family, friends, loved ones. Or maybe you acknowledge that you still have that special skill that no-one can take away from you and you will always have that.
Among the tragedy it is easy to slip into a destructible mind set of feeling as though you have ‘lost it all’.
You feel this way because among the trauma and unpredictability, this is exactly how it seemed.
But now is the time to take a moment, breathe and FOCUS ON WHAT YOU HAVE. By doing this you remind yourself of the things to cherish in life that are still in arms reach.
4. Brain Dump
Get those thoughts on paper!
It is not healthy or beneficial for us to keep all of these thoughts, feelings and ruminations inside our heads.
Make it easier for yourself to process your feelings and experiences and relieve yourself of the anxiety induced stress of storing them all in one place for them to build and exacerbate.
Don’t think, just write.
You will physically feel the weight lifting off your shoulders as you scribble away. Things will pop up that you didn’t even realize you were fixating on.
Realizations will present themselves. Light bulb moments will be scattered across the page.
This is no ‘quick fix’ to fixing a situation but it is one of the best ways to help you organize your thoughts and unburden yourself with the weight of them.
In times like these you simply cannot do yourself the disservice of holding everything in.
Next to talking to someone, writing your thoughts down is the best way to relieve yourself of your stresses and worries.
5. Regain Your Confidence
In times of trauma we suffer blows to our confidence and self-esteem.
Events occur that we could never have planned for and elements of our lives which we never thought we would need to worry about have shifted from under our feet.
Nothing feels certain.
We feel powerless to stop it and in turn our confidence takes a nose dive.
Let it be known that YOU, even in times like this, can be the strong individual that either you used to be or have always wanted to be.
Acknowledge the small things that give you a sense of achievement.
For some, this may even be just getting up in the morning! And that is something to be applauded if this has been a struggle for you.
Perhaps it’s acknowledging that you cooked a good meal, called your mum, started sewing that new skirt or made the decision to make a change.
You have to re-programme yourself to remember that you CAN DO whatever it is that you want to do.
These past events do not define you. It has happened TO YOU but does not change who you are if you don’t want it to.
You have lived through this and survived.
Remember that and move forward with confidence in your own resilience.
6. Schedule Life
Things have been topsy-turvy of late and we’ve lived in a bit of an upside-down world so it is more than understandable if you have strayed from managing your ‘life admin’ as well as you normally would.
Following events like Covid 19 it is wise to try and organise yourself and find routine as soon as you are able.
We need to give ourselves structure in an otherwise unpredictable time.
We need to set the foundations in place which will help us move forward in direction that WE WANT.
With that said it’s time to get organised.
Start making decisions…
What do you want to do?
When do you want to do it by?
Schedule the month.
Schedule the week.
Schedule each day.
It may seem rigid but by organizing yourself in this way you are planning ahead and by planning ahead you are TAKING CONTROL.
You give yourself a clear path to follow which allows you to filter out the fluff and organize those important things, making sure they get done.
With this comes a sense of achievement and this is KEY to regaining your confidence.
7. Set Goals
It’s time for some serious goal setting.
In times of uncertainty it isn’t surprising that we stop striving to reach our goals or disregard the ones we had in place thinking that in this new situation we find ourselves in, they are simply unachievable.
Whether this was the case or not I encourage you to set yourself goals to work towards to reinvigorate you for this last quarter of the year.
When we have goals we have something to aim for and work toward. It gives us a sense of purpose and for a lot of people this sense of purpose has been lost.
They can be small attainable goals that you create for yourself daily such as cleaning the car, doing the laundry or going for a run.
Or by all means think big and set yourself the task of learning a new skill before Christmas.
A sense of purpose after a time like this is NEEDED to combat the feelings of hopelessness and limbo that a lot of us have found ourselves in.
Do not let the world dictate your sense of purpose, find it for yourself.
8. Look After Your Body
Looking after your body is KEY to looking after your mental health. It can never be reiterated enough!
Understand, this is not about being ‘skinny’ or being ‘toned’ or ‘losing fat’. These may all well be some rather lovely by products but they are not the goal here.
We really put our bodies through the ringer. Throwing carbs and sugar heavy food at it in a bit for that feel good hit. We let it lounge on the sofa binge watching 4 series on Netflix one after the other and we smoke, drink and chew without a second thought.
You only have one body and it’s yours for life.
Treat it with respect and appreciate that without it there wouldn’t be a life to live!
You need to move every day. You need to eat food that provides you with the nutrients you need.
Changing your food intake can have a direct impact on your physical health and well-being as well as your MENTAL STATE.
So, if you are struggling following the recent events and are in need of ways to help yourself get to a better place then one of the EASIEST ways to begin is to look after your body.
Your mind and your body are intrinsically linked. Help one by helping the other.
9. Save Money
Even I am currently sitting here thinking that this is an impossible task but hear me out.
All forms of security have gone out the window for a lot of us this year and one of the biggest might be considered the financial strains that many are experiencing.
So, even if it is only for the psychological relief of knowing that you are building yourself a small pot of cash for a rainy day then it’s time to start saving those pennies.
And pennies are a great start!
Even if all you can manage at the moment is to put away those copper coins at the end of each week then it will help you to know that you are financially building toward something.
It is just the beginning, setting you on a path back to financial security.
Not only this but once again it builds upon regaining your confidence as you feel a sense of achievement every time you add something to the pot.
It’s not about the amount, it’s about taking back some control.
10. Situations Are Temporary Not Permanent
This goes for everything in life.
Understandably, in moments of great tragedy or extreme stress it is not difficult to feel as though ‘this is how my life will be from now on’. That nothing will change and you are destined to a life of upset and despair.
This is not true.
Every single moment we experience in life that has us feeling a certain way, will pass.
NOTHING is permanent. EVERYTHING is temporary.
And that certainly applies to 2020. It seems as though there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It feels as though we might not ever be able to regain what we’ve lost and that this is IT.
But much like every struggle and difficulty in life; it is simply another dark cloud in a blue sky.
It will pass.
The sooner we recognize and accept this the better chance we give ourselves of changing our perspective and jumping out of the well of despair.
11. Be Yourself No Matter What
The best way to live your best life is to be exactly who you are.
By all means, strive to be the best version of you that you can be but make sure that it is 100% YOU.
For some it will take some navigation to remind themselves of those core values that drive our every action and words – they may have been lost among the turmoil however they can be found.
You have the right to feel how you feel about whatever you feel it about.
Deep down, you know what you need and you know what you want. In times like this it does not benefit you to HIDE these desires, it is only detrimental.
It is when we are at our lowest that we owe it to ourselves to be exactly who we are so that we can get through these times knowing what it is that we need to help ourselves.
To be sure, it is so easy to slip into a behaviour that is acceptable to others. An agreeable-ness that makes it easy for ‘them’ but not us.
Be your true authentic self. Understand what it means, what it feels like and work toward maintaining this for a life that is lived the way you want to live it.
12. What Are Your Values And Beliefs?
How often do you think about this question? Hardly ever if you’re anything like me.
Our values and beliefs are at the very core of who we are as human beings.
We don’t think about them often because they are ingrained into the heart of us but they are worth thinking about as they dictate our every move.
After a period of time feeling lost, angry or upset it is worth trying to answer this question because you might find that they are not the same as what they used to be.
Have they been influenced by WHAT is surrounding you or WHO is surrounding you. Are you living in a way that goes AGAINST what you value?
Unknowingly a lot of us do this and are constantly burdened with the feeling of unease without realising where this has come from.
It may be that you need to take a step back and look and both aspects of yourself in order to know exactly who you are and exactly how you want to live life.
Likewise, are you taking the time to take care of yourself?
Do you know what you can do to make you feel good or have you forgotten because you don’t allow yourself the gift of self care?
Read ‘Finish The Sentence – I Feel Good When…’ for more about finding what makes you feel good.
13. Share Your Story
Nothing can provide with greater resilience than knowing that we are not alone.
No matter what the struggle, what we have had to overcome and the challenges we have presented with; sharing your story and experiences with others brings with it empowerment in abundance.
FIRSTLY we build stronger connections by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and speak our truth.
When we show someone that we trust them to respect our stories and struggles it is the greatest honour you can receive as the chosen friend.
With this we open the doors of communication and strengthen our bonds by finding strength and unity in our resilience and vulnerability.
SECONDLY it allows us to fully embrace point 1 and 2 – accept the situation and make peace.
It is a scary thing to reveal yourself to the world in this way but by doing this you can find closure whilst also unburdening yourself with your own story.
Unsurprisingly, it is extremely cathartic to voice our experiences. Scary but cathartic.
I myself have written my own book as a form of healing during lockdown and I could not believe how much poured out of me! Already I have had people read the first draft and call me just to let me know that they have experienced something similiar.
In fact, a sentence I’ve heard a few times now is, ‘I feel as though I could have written it myself’.
You can have the first 3 chapters sent straight to your inbox if you’d be interested in sharing my story.
14. Stick With People Who Add Value To Your Life
A general rule for life which is highly applicable in times like these.
Life is tough and decisions need to be made. Everything you do at this moment in time should be from a place of wanting to help yourself feel better, feel good.
One way of doing this is to get rid of toxic people in your life.
If there is one thing that this year has given you it’s TIME and SPACE.
TIME to think and reflect and SPACE from everyone who is not in your household.
So, think back and ask yourself:
‘Who did I miss?’
‘Who uplifted you and stayed in contact?’
‘Who cared to check in and make sure you were OK?’
‘Who adds VALUE to your life?’
Similarly, ask yourself the opposite…
‘Who have you not heard from?’
‘Who leaves you feeling worse not better after speaking to them?’
‘Who drains you of your energy rather than uplifting you?’
Now is the perfect time to make the necessary changes to your life that will enhance your experiences and friendships.
You want to feel good, you need to feel good and this means surrounding yourself with people who want the best for you. Take this opportunity to get rid of toxic friendships and build upon the ones that bring value to your life.
15. Set Time Aside To Focus On Your Relationship
It has been a trying time for couples worldwide.
Suddenly you are spending more time together than ever before and the cracks have begun to show.
As an individual you were thrust into and unknown and unpredictable situation and as a couple you have had to not only manage how YOU can make it through but also deal with how THEY are coping as well.
Now is the time to check in.
Read these two articles for great advice for getting your relationship back on track after lock -down:
Perhaps you feel as though you managed the situation well as a couple or maybe you hit breaking point and it was touch and go for a moment there.
Well, it’s time to talk.
Tensions rise when our lives are flipped on their head and it’s easy to blame the nearest person to you but with conversation comes resolution.
Accept that it has been difficult for you both.
Listen to how lockdown has effected them and left them feeling
Tell them how you have been feeling.
Use each other as a support system not a punching bag.
Rebuild the intimacy between you – physical closeness and romantic queues like saying ‘I love you’
Tell each other what you need from them moving forward.
Apologise if it is necessary (you know if you have been unreasonable or not. Admit it and take ownership)
Get an apology if you feel you deserve one.
You must start the communication between you both so that you work TOGETHER to diffuse the negative effects 2020 has had on your relationship and USE it to make you STRONGER THAN EVER.
Read The #1 Secret To A Happy Relationship which is applicable now more than ever.
16. Stop Complaining And Take ACTION
A bit harsh perhaps but consider this to be tough love.
It is EASY to complain. It is EASY to moan. It is EASY to play the victim.
It is HARD to accept it. It is HARD to make peace with it. It is HARD to take responsibility. It is HARD to let it go.
This year has been experienced by all, globally. To varying degrees of course.
Some lucky people are in the position whereby they are unaffected by events such as this but the MAJORITY of people world-wide are having a pretty rough 2020.
You are not alone. Your situation (unfortunately) is not unique.
You have your own struggles and they are yours and not to be dismissed BUT you need to work on them. Work through them and realize that COMPLAINING about it gets you NOWHERE – taking ACTION will lead to progress.
17. Find Happiness From Within
Although this is a teaching that should be carried through life at all times, it is more applicable now than ever.
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that it is unwise and detrimental to ourselves to look for happiness in external things.
Objects and materialistic things can be taken away from you as quickly as you got them. By all means, take joy and pleasure from them but seeking happiness in them is unwise.
Happiness should come from having an understanding of who you are and what you want.
Happiness is knowing that you can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve.
Happiness comes from the strong connections we have with the people around us.
Happiness comes from love.
Happiness is born from peace and content.
Material things can ADD to happiness. They can help to make life more enjoyable and easier. But they should NOT be your SOURCE of happiness.
Having these things does not mean that you are content with who you are or make you a better person. These objects do not mean that you are emotionally engaged with the world around you or suggest intelligence or personality.
You can be happy with nothing if you are happy with who you are.
In times like these it could be the most powerful tool in our toolbox.