This Doesn’t Have to be the Worst Year Ever

I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but I’m honestly starting to feel like 2020 is the most horrendous year I have ever experienced. It just feels like everywhere I turn things are going worse than usual and nothing seems to be improving any time soon. The largest fault in that kind of thinking, however, is that it is based on external situations. All this craziness is much crazier on a national level than it is on a personal one. I believe this year, and every single day of it, can be whatever you make of it.

Two key strategies have helped me focus on my own growth and not feel burdened with the flaws of the world around me:

1. Keeping my distance

My heart hurts thinking of those going hungry because of this pandemic or the violent acts that Black people have been suffering in this day and age. I can’t control these things. I can only do so much (sign petitions, donate my spare change to organizations, etc.). It is unproductive and detrimental to focus on these massive problems that I can’t solve myself.

My best advice to avoid these topics from getting the best of you would be to limit your exposure to them. This mostly means less time on social media and watching the news. Doing this doesn’t make you uneducated or less woke, it makes you self-aware of your mental health and your limits.

2. Creating SMART goals

This is a great way to better yourself and progressively feel achievement. “SMART” stands for Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Timely. Creating goals that are SMART will make them less daunting and easier to accomplish. For example, I have a goal this summer to journal 1-2 times a week. It is specific (I have one notebook that I journal in), measurable (one page or more gets filled), attainable (I have time to journal before going to sleep), relevant (writing my thoughts out is helpful in preventing my panic attacks and crying spells), and timely (all summer).

This year can be one of your BEST ever, for your mind and body. I wish for each of you who read this to walk into 2021 as if you’re in one of those movie scenes, walking untouched away from the mega-explosion behind you (that explosion being the state of the world in 2020).

Do you have any of your own tips for coping with bad outside situations or bettering yourself? What is something good that has happened for you personally recently?

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