I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the same energy at the advent of 2021 as I did 2020.
You may be getting the message that it’s time to set some exciting intentions and goals going into the New Year, and wondering with trepidation how to do that given how 2020’s plans devolved, certain challenges continue and new challenges are added. It may feel daunting.
Can we just be real for a moment?
You’ve been through something.
Perhaps a lot of somethings this past year.
We all have.
In our own very personal ways, and collectively.
If you haven’t already paused to reflect and release, this is your invitation. Let’s give you a way to lighten your load after a year like no other, so you can lean in to your New Year with more energy and intention. Let’s start by acknowledging some of what you likely experienced, COVID-related alone:
Life for a moment in March of 2020 seemed to freeze, plans scattering in every direction, daily life and everyday habits tossed out the window to be relearned and reshaped.
Being around friends and even family became scary, awkward, and challenging.
People in your life may have gotten COVID, maybe even you.
Work, whether outside or inside the home, got flipped on its head, if you were lucky enough to keep your job - while also perhaps “balancing” kids at home.
What else needs to be acknowledged for you personally? What related, lingering feelings named?
To be sure, silver linings abounded for many people in 2020, unexpected gifts even. Lots of funny memes were shared that made it possible to laugh together.
Thanks to your resourcefulness, determination, appreciation, and care for those around you at work and at home, you were a solid part of creating those silver linings, gifts, and uplifting moments.
Let’s acknowledge you for showing up however you showed up, for however 2020 affected you and those in your life. How you gave what you were able. How you still do. And let’s not gloss over the rest.
2020 was hard, if not traumatic, on many fronts – more for some than others, but a game-changer for all residents of this country and planet. You may be holding on to tension, stress, fear, trepidation, disappointment, regret, self-criticism, bitterness, overwhelm, sadness, anger, anxiety, and more. If you are, here’s your invitation to acknowledge these feelings by naming them, out loud, and then respectfully LET THEM GO.
Clear the slate. YES, even with some of the causes of these feelings still at play. And even with new challenges added, with 2021 starting off ROUGH. You can do this ANYTIME.
(Letting go of negative emotions doesn't mean ignoring needed action; rather, it can clear the way for fresh, creative, powerful choices when you scrub away the situational judgment causing the negativity and invite in something better). Give yourself permission to breathe through any negative thoughts and feelings and release what you can, and what you choose to. Let go of what was, what didn’t get to happen, what you fear might still happen. Accept what IS, right here and right now without judgment or speculation.
This invitation may sound absurd, but I assure you it is 100% possible, with mental fitness practice. The negative feelings have done their job; and unless you’re dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one, it’s time to acknowledge the feelings still hanging around and release them like you would a helium balloon. What’s past is past; what’s in the future, well, you just never know.
Here’s one way to do this:
1. Get comfortable and close your eyes.
2. Put your hand on your belly and take a few deep breaths for at least 15 seconds, focusing only on the sensation of your hand against your belly, in out, in out….
3. When you’re ready, imagine yourself gently turning on your inner EMPATHY light, your tenderness for yourself. It can help to imagine yourself as a small child, maybe lost in something you enjoyed back then. I imagine myself at 5 in footy pajamas, holding on to Theresa, my huge, favorite teddy bear.
4. Ask yourself:
What is the kindest thing I can say to myself given what I’ve been through over the past year (and into 2021)? [Please do not compare what you experienced to what others experienced and determine that your own doesn't deserve attention]
What words can I gift myself that will help me let go of 2020's negative remnants, and any other negativity right now?
What do I want most for myself now, and what is one step I can take in that direction?
Keep practicing naming negative feelings, turning on gentle empathy, and letting go.
Let this act serve as a way to wipe the white board clean now and at anytime, so you are able to more clearly envision your next steps and bring the best of you to the table:
Those qualities in you that rise to challenges like they did in 2020
The parts of you that find so much to be grateful for
Pieces of you that may have been tamped down but are ready for a fresh start
2020 is hindsight. Let’s set a clear path for 2021, feeling lighter, with our eyes wide open, shored up and READY to bring the best of us into whatever comes next.