2020 Can Still Be Your Year

There’s no denying that 2020 has been rough. No country has been unaffected by this pandemic, and it’s left people anxious, scared, angry, and uncertain. And all those negative emotions will be what most remember about 2020.

And it’s important to not gloss over those negative emotions. You should never simply push those away and ignore them. We are all going to carry with us the worries, traumas, and pain that 2020 brought us, and we shouldn’t try to wash them away with “but think of the positives”. That mentality of ignoring the negative only leads to more negativity.

But I do genuinely believe we can still bring some goodness out of 2020. And we don’t need to dedicate ourselves to it 24/7 in order to achieve it.

Dedicate Yourself to Something

That’s right—something. It honestly could be anything. But it does need to be something you genuinely care about and want to work with.

Do you have a future career goal in mind? Can take free online learning courses for it? Or do more research on how to get into the field?

Do you have a skill or hobby you want to get involved in? Is it something you can do now? If not, can you figure out ways to engage with it? Getting community interest or finding an online group to chat with?

Even if you have a dream vacation you wish you were on—plan that now! Don’t book flights or hotels, but figure out where you want to go. What food do you want to try? Which sights are most important to see and how do you get there? What souvenirs do you want?

Listen, this doesn’t need to be major. And it doesn’t need your full-time attention. But we’re all going a little stir-crazy in 2020, so having something like this to ground you—even for a few minutes a day—will help remind you to stay excited about what comes next.

Make Time for Just You

Most of us are in living situations where we’re not getting a break from our house-mates. And while we might love them dearly, that lack of alone time can really start to pick at our nerves.

If we let that happen, eventually it comes out at the wrong person—and we do not want to add that to our list of “Why 2020 Sucks”.

So carve out a little bit of time each week just for you time. You may need to coordinate this with your spouse or living-mate, but it’s well worth it for your own mental sanity. And if this means your spouse is managing the kids, coordinate similar “me time” for them, too!

Figure out what to do with that time—and make sure it is just for you. It might change each time. One day, it could be nap. Another day it could be write a short story, or practice an instrument, or listening to an audiobook while knitting.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s what feels right to you in that moment.

This is advice to find simple joys and trusting your needs of the moment. If you can have a handful of those to remember at the end of a week, it will help restore some happiness and peace.

Journal, Write, Let It Out

I need to remind you: you are not alone right now. The entire world is caught in the same mess and we’re all experiencing stress in our own ways.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to be honest about those struggles and hardships.

And that might not be easy, depending upon your situation. If you’re a parent trying to work and teach at the same time, that presents so many different stresses than a teenager who is struggling to cope with being locked inside while trying to grow into the individual they’re striving to be.

But both of these situations are completely valid! You deserve to be able to voice your frustrations—because it is through letting these things out that we stop allowing them to control us.

So get out a journal or notebook or even your laptop, and let it out! Don’t let the negative thoughts and emotions stay locked inside you; they will block the way for the nuggets of good that are available.

And while you’re at it, don’t just write out the frustrations; write about the gratitudes, too. Gratitudes are being overlooked for all the struggles of the year—and, again, I totally get it.

But even if you can just write down small things at the end of every day—didn’t fight with kids; smelled like autumn outside; the dog let me pet his belly—you’re reminding yourself that life is also the little moments we take for granted.

Go Outside

Okay, yes, I know how cheesy this sounds. But we’ve all be stuck inside, quarantining as much as humanly possible. A little outside would do all of us some good.

Like most of the other suggestions, this one also depends on your living situation. If you’re stuck in an apartment in the city, it might be a little difficult. But find a way to enjoy nature when you can. Turn off the TV when it rains and listen to it fall, as you sit next to an open window and take in the clean air.

If you’re in an area where it’s a little easier to get to nature, go for a walk. Look at the trees and plants around you. See how they’re still growing and thriving through the year. Lockdown doesn’t mean the world is ending; it means more time for ourselves and reflecting.

But I’m not forgetting why we’re really locked down—so if you’re walking in a more people-heavy area, practice social distancing and wear your mask.

2020: The Year of Quiet

All of these things might not seem like the keys to making 2020 your year, but owning a year doesn’t always mean you’re coming out on top and everything is 10 times better than it was at the start of the year.

Owning a year can mean you took time to be. It can mean you learned to deal with frustrations in a healthier way. It can mean you took time to remember that there’s still a lot in the world to celebrate and love.

You can remember who you are when the world is silent.

The biggest thing we can do to improve these last months of 2020 is learn to reflect and take time-outs. We’ve all been put in a corner for the year, but we can always grow from that, too.