New Year, New You? ~ NOPE~

We can all agree that 2020 has been a new kind of hell and full of stress. So this will not be a blog telling you all of the ways you can make yourself over to make a new version of yourself in 2021!

The Annual Stress in America survey, conducted by the American Psychological Association, shows it is not just you as a country; we are all under a profound level of stress. If you are a parent, the level of stress is even higher than those without children.  What began as a medical crisis has turned into a severe and long term mental health crisis that will have long-lasting effects.

I am guessing you don’t need a survey or me to you that every part of your life has been affected by Covid-19, and life has been one new challenge filled with stress after another.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand to relieve all the stress in your life (trust me, I would have used it by now!), but I do have three tips that can help make the days and weeks a bit easier.

  1. Take a few minutes every day to practice gratefulness. It can feel strange at first, especially when you feel like everything in your life has gone wrong. But find three good things. It can be tiny, like I can get out of bed, brush my teeth, hug my kids, etc.… Coffee is often at the top of my list on those tough days!
  2.  Acknowledge what is out of your control – virtual school, layoffs, and vaccine development – to name a few. Now focus on what is in your control. Can you find time to focus on quality time – not school and chores but fun time with your family? Can you clear your mind for three to ten minutes of mediation? Talk a socially distanced walk around the neighborhood? Chat with a friend over zoom? 
  3. Write it down. What is “it”? Whatever is swirling in your brain. That thing that is keeping you up at night. It can be your worries, fears, or hopes and dreams. Connecting pen to paper can be amazingly therapeutic. It is often how I end up understanding what I am truly worried about or stuck on.

These are just a few simple things during this time of extreme and extended stress that I have found to help my clients and me. As always, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with sadness that you can not handle with a little TLC, I implore you to contact a mental health professional in your area for help. An excellent resource for finding one is here.

As one of my favorite movie quotes says, “I like you very much. Just as you are.” Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Remember those who love you, do so just as you are. Don’t feel the need to do a total remodel on yourself because the calendar has changed.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and joyful new year,

Leah

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