Facing the New Year With HOPE

Usually, at this time of year, people have made resolutions and are trying to keep them, or perhaps have already broken them.  However, with the new strain of the Covid virus, many of us are looking ahead and worrying about another long winter with the possible need to quarantine. But there are some things you can do to face the new year with optimism and a belief that you can not just survive, but can thrive, in spite of many challenges.

First, take a deep breath and try to believe in yourself.  Ask yourself, what are the skills you have that you used to get through last winter?  How resilient are you – have you bounced back from difficult things in the past?  And try not to freak out.  If we got through the winter of 2021, we can do it in 2022.

Then try to ground yourself in science.  Read a reasonable amount and don’t get sucked into fake beliefs about masks or vaccines. Right now, they are the only tools we have to fight the virus.  Do what is necessary and appropriate to keep yourself and your family safe, taking into consideration the most vulnerable in your family unit.

Examine your expectations for the winter.  Had you planned to go on a vacation?  Were you anticipating a family wedding or reunion?  It is possible that these things will still go on, but don’t overreact if they are canceled.  Make sure you get insurance for any travel plans and be realistic in your understanding of any risks involved if they do go on. Monitor your reactions if they are canceled. Is it really the end of the world if you don’t get away this year?

Create a pod of those whose health you trust and can see in person, and try to stay in touch with those who are far away.  If you live alone, it is even more important to stay in touch – Zoom, Facetime, call each other.  Social connections are one of the most important ways we can stave off depression and anxiety.

Take advantage of the downtime to educate yourself and stimulate your mind and soul.  Read more books, watch more documentaries, learn a new language or engage in a new hobby.  Anything that requires your focus and attention will keep you from feeling sorry for yourself.

Finally, take care of yourself.  Exercise as much as you can, possibly trying some new exercise programs on YouTube that you can do at home.  Work on changing some old habits that have been negative and try to manage situations in new ways. Coddle yourself when you are feeling fragile, but don’t let it go on too long.  Remember that you must take care of yourself emotionally and that you can rely on your personal strengths.

I wish you a 2022 in which you thrive and can enjoy the blessings that you have.