• Asha M. Creary

2020 Year of Reflection

Bye 2020 and Hello 2021! This past year has been a very bittersweet time and we would like to share our insight on how to process everything in the past year. In describing the past year, we would like to highlight three themes to reflect on, including grief/loss, change and anxiety. Everyone experienced all of them throughout the year, it may not have been daily or continuous but we have definitely experienced much of it.

Change is to make an alteration or modification. 2020 started off rather blissful with the excitement of a wonderful year filled with resolutions but it immediately came to a halt in some of our plans due to change. Change could be linked to the social changes incorporated into our new way of living but we want to focus on mental change. For many of us we went through a mindset alteration of feeling hopeless or as if the year is the worst thing that ever happened and others shifted their mindset to a more healthier outlook on the changes happening around us. Change is unavoidable but this year we learned just how fast it can happen. Many of us live a life of consistency and routines and become angry or unsettled at the mere thought of a change in where a button is on an app, a policy update or even a change in others behaviors but we challenge you to change your thoughts to more healthy ones. Are you struggling with the forced changes of life? If so, we encourage you to do three things; validate your emotions around the change, you experience these emotions for a reason, ask yourself how will you grow from this change, it is not meant for your to dwell on the negatives because of course we want you to change your mindset to a healthier mindset and lastly identify what you learned from the experience throughout the year.

Anxiety is usually a feeling that cannot be described by most people but they know that they experience. So we are here to help you put feelings into words. According to the DSM V, anxiety can be best described as a feeling of worry, nervousness and uneasiness. When experiencing anxiety it is typically coupled with somatic symptoms. Before we jump into the somatic symptoms let’s check how anxiety has shaped our lives this year. Many of our anxious thoughts are driven by fear. Prior to the 2020 COVID pandemic many of us had a healthy relationship with fear and we have now developed a negative relationship with fear. Much of our fear is driven by consumption and negative thought patterns.

We spend so much time consuming information into our brains that become subconscious/unconscious fears that is consciously being experienced. Those fears manifest in negative thought patterns or worry about anticipated harm or loss. Those thoughts then force us into experiencing somatic symptoms that are driven by those unconscious thoughts or conscious interactions when facing our fears. Somatic symptoms may be stomach aches/butterflies, tension in the neck/shoulders/legs, increased heart rate, sweating or unconscious movements when anxious including rocking, shaking your legs, biting of the nails and for some hair pulling. In order to cope or take back control of your mind or body you may have to identify your triggers for your anxiety and challenge negative thoughts. When you know what your triggers are it is easy for you to have your challenges or positive self talk ready to go. Remember what you manifest or put into the universe has the ability of coming to fruition, good or bad.

Lastly, we would like to shift focus to grief/loss. Some of us lost actual people but for many of us we lost a sense of hope, normalcy and safety. In that, many of us have never truly experienced the grief cycle or even know what that consists of. Grief has 5 stages including denial, anger, depression/sadness, bargaining and acceptance. In trying to regain reach the layer of acceptance we have to first question what we lost and allow ourselves to experience those things. To experience them, you are going to have to get vulnerable with yourself. Many times we pour ourselves into work, family, friends etc to avoid or force ourselves to find something else to think about. Actually, it is okay to sit with feelings, to experience your hurt and to be vulnerable with yourself. Oftentimes we fear this because we are always told it will be fine, things will be better or maybe you are overreacting. You are not overreacting, you are experiencing what you are experiencing because you need to, it is your brain telling you hey this hurts and I need you to know that it hurts more than you think it is. We would like to remind you that if you are having strong feelings around loss, your feelings are valid and that it is okay to experience the emotions.

So as you move into 2021, be sure to remind yourself that your feelings are valid, it is okay to be vulnerable with yourself, identify the source of your loss or anxiety and be open to change. Our theme moving into this new year is EMBRACE. Embrace the things you love, embrace yourself, embrace your emotions and lastly EMBRACE 2021!

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