In preparing to write a letter to my clients about saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, I decided to look at last year’s New Years’ post. OMG….Last January I started my article by saying...
“Studies show that up to 50% of happiness comes from intentional activities. Intentional activities are activities that we choose to do. This shows that although external events or early childhood experiences do have some impact on one’s happiness quotient, much of our happiness is within our control.”
Unfortunately, 2020 put so many things outside of our control and truly reduced the number of things that we could do to lift our spirits and create the life we want. 2020 truly challenged most of our usual coping skills. But in reviewing last year’s blog post, I see that the tips I offered to help change one’s view and happiness quotient might be more important now than ever. With so much outside of our control, it becomes even more important to work with what we have to create a happy now.
With 2021 quickly approaching rather than offering more tips, I thought it might be useful to reflect on the past year and try to make sense of our experiences. So often it is the narrative that we create and the meaning we ascribe to an event that impacts how we integrate the event into our life story. This year I began studying EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which is a type of therapy used to treat trauma (and boy has 2020 provided lots of trauma). In EMDR I learned that people get stuck in trauma when they are unable to process and make sense of difficult experiences. It’s like the trauma gets stuck in the feeling center of the brain and does not get processed and integrated into one’s full life experience. We have the ability to heal ourselves when we get unstuck.
One way to begin making sense of this year is to reflect on and journal about (or talk, or draw, or make a collage about) the following questions:
What made 2020 most difficult for you? What were your biggest challenges? Biggest Losses? Most significant regrets?
What were the joys and/or nuggets of gold that you found in the Covid experience?
What did you learn from the pandemic and how did it change your life? How did you grow?
What did you learn about yourself from the social unrest that accompanied the Black Lives Matter movement and/or the election? How did this impact your relationships?
Are there habits you’ve developed or ways of being in the world or new approaches to your work that you want to bring forward to 2021?
What were you most grateful for this year?
What made you feel afraid? Sad? Angry? Ashamed this year?
Are there friends or family that you lost contact with in 2020? Any friends or family that you reconnected with?
How were your holidays different? Better? Deeper? Bitter-Sweet?
How did your relationship with your partner change? Did you see your relationship differently this year after being ‘sheltered-in’ together?
How was your self-care in 2020?
What would you like your mind-set in 2021 to be?
Can you create a 2 sentence mission statement to symbolize the intensions you would like to bring into the new year?
What personal or relationship qualities would you like to nurture in the new year?
What would you like to let go of in 2021?
Goals? Intentions? Resolutions? Are you for or against them? And, if you are pro New Year’s Resolutions, what are yours for 2021 after experiencing 2020?
What intention would you like to put out in the world in 2021? What intention would you like to draw within?
These are just some beginning questions, a starting point to write, draw, talk, or think about your answers and your reflections. Processing this crazy year, by acknowledging your pains and gains can be a way to make meaning from your experience and move forward.
Sending my heartfelt blessings for a safe and healthy new year.