Let’s Be Honest – 2020 Sucks
Your dream vacation was cancelled. Your classes went virtual. You were furloughed from your job. Someone you know got sick. You can’t go to the movies, the bar, your favorite restaurant, or the local fair. And worst of all, you ran out of toilet paper.
2020 has been a year of losses and stressors. Even if you didn’t lose a loved one to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t grieving, because you are. Your grieving the loss of normalcy. The loss of your trips and plans and visions for the year.
It’s a heavy year. We’re all feeling it, so let’s not pretend it’s all okay.
Let’s put COVID aside for a second. It’s still a heavy year. This presidential election has left us with uncertainty and fear (no matter which side of the shit show you’re on). Our country is in a state of massive divide that sneaks its way into your own intimate circle of family, friends, and neighbors.
And you’ve heard these names before – Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth – but they were always part of history, far removed and in the past. Now you are seeing the impact of these names – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Philando Castille. Racial tensions and the spotlight on police brutality are high and you’re not just reading about history anymore, you’re a part of it. You’re having a gut reaction right now as you read these words: I can’t breath.
It’s okay to not be okay. Especially in 2020.
It’s important to recognize that the weight of this year takes a significant toll on mental health. Trying to cope with all these stressors, changes, losses, and the (necessary but evil) social distancing, can lead to heightened anxiety and depression.
But you WILL get through this year. Here’s how.
Shout it out loud – 2020 SUCKS. Set a 20-minute timer and let yourself openly grieve. Yell, cry, stamp your feet. List all the things that totally suck about this year. Keeping it all in only makes it fester.
Once you’ve let yourself acknowledge all the crap, stop and think about what you need. Do you need sleep? To laugh? To do something fun? To connect with a friend? You know yourself better than anyone else, and you know what you’ve been deprived of. Listen to your needs.
Meet those needs and get creative. Maybe you need some fun, but your definition of fun is a trip to the movies followed by drinks with friends. No, you may not be able to go sit in a theater or restaurant with your pals, however, that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to staring at a wall. Get some popcorn and soda and pick out a good flick. Have a virtual movie night in with your best friend over Zoom or FaceTime. Think about that list of needs you made and then think, “So how can I make that happen?”
Recognize that you can’t do it alone. We all need the support of our community to get through these trying times. Talking with friends, family, and colleagues that understand and can relate to what you are going through can help you let it out instead of keeping it all inside. Do not be silent about what you are feeling. Open up to the safe and supportive people in your life. Sometimes this means taking to social media to find virtual communities that can understand and validate your experiences. Sometimes, this means going to therapy and sorting out these big emotions.
Practice self-care on a daily basis. If you’re not putting you first every day, you’re going to get worn down and drained. Check out my other blog HERE for ways to engage in self-care.
2020 sucks and it’s your job right now to survive and take care of yourself. Despite all the crap this year has dug up, it’s also important to recognize the positive. Yes, even amongst all this negativity there are some good things to happen. Spending more time with your family, learning more about the people in your life, tapping into your creative side with hobbies, even the opportunity to be an agent of change in history – these are all positive things to occur within this crazy year. So, I’m asking you now, what else can you do to draw positivity from 2020?
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Adjunct Professor, and Certified Field Instructor committed to working with diverse groups of individuals, families, and communities.