With 2020 (finally) coming to an end, it’s easy to look at this past year as a total write-off; however, it’s important to take this year as a learning opportunity, and a way to focus on how resilient we can be as humans.
Sure, we’ve endured A LOT- from a global pandemic to murder hornets, the deaths of legends such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chadwick Boseman and Kobe Bryant, presidential impeachments, stock market crashes and raging wildfires, we’ve also witnessed some incredible things this past year.
Black Lives Matter Movement
While the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbrey were inarguably horrific and unfair, the movement that followed was an incredible display of black pride and has provided a platform for education on equality. What we have experienced this past year has brought to light the injustice that people of colour have had to experience for hundreds of years. Going forward, we can treat people with more compassion, and speak up for any racial inequality we may witness in the future.
The November 2020 election brought a whirlwind of emotions, resulting in an outcome that will go down in history. The new Vice President Elect to the White House Kamala Harris will be the first black and the first Asian woman to serve as Vice President in American history. This could be a turning point in American politics- bringing more diversity in the leaders of the powerful country.
The biggest event of 2020 has undoubtedly been the coronavirus – it has affected every single person in one way or another. With the news of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it means there is hope for an end to this deadly virus. While this is still in the beginning stages, we can all see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel that coronavirus has been.
While we all may have shopped at small mom and pop run shops in the past, 2020 has been the year of supporting local shops and restaurants. Communities everywhere have rallied behind their favourite small businesses to keep them thriving through the tougher times that 2020 has brought. While it’s great to shop local to keep our favourite small shops from closing, we need to continue this trend going forward. Instead of turning back to the big guys, try to make a point to purchase gifts and products from small local shops whenever you can.
Because more people have spent more time at home in 2020, the numbers for pet adoptions have increased drastically over last year. This is incredible news, as so many animals spend their lives waiting to find their forever homes. We can try our best to keep these numbers up by adopting animals rather than purchasing them from breeders when we choose to add a furry friend to our homes.
These are just a few of the positive things that have come out of this past year. Take a moment today to reflect on some positive things that happened in your personal life - did you get to spend more quality time with your family this year than you typically would? Did your grandparents learn how to FaceTime so you could stay connected from a distance? Let us know!
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of 2020! You’ve proved your resiliency and ability to adapt to all of the chaos that’s been thrown at the world this year. Let’s all forgive but not forget 2020, and hope for the best in 2021!
By now, many people have adjusted to the “new normal” that is physical distancing and self-quarantining. For many of us, this pandemic has lead to an abundance of free time that may not be being used in a productive way. Rather than spending all of this newly discovered free time re-watching our favourite television series, we could be using this time to learn new skills, or teach our children valuable life skills.
Teaching children from a young age to clean up after themselves is important, as it will help them to develop the habit of picking up after themselves. If children are older, they can always help with dusting, vacuuming and sweeping. Leading by example is a great way to peak children’s interest in helping with household chores. Keeping a clean house can also help with our mental health.
As we’ve likely all seen on social media, bread making has become the newest past time for many of us in quarantine. With most restaurants closed, now is the time to get creative and try your hand at those new recipes you have saved on your Pinterest board. Choosing recipes that your kids can help with is a great choice, as the more children are able to help out with a successful recipe, the more confident they will become in the kitchen. Even small tasks such as pouring their own cereal can make a child feel as though they are self-sufficient and can help with their confidence.
With Spring just around the corner, now is a great time to get started on plotting the garden. Taking the time to explain how plants grow and how to care for them is a great way to teach children responsibility. You can assign your children their own section of the garden to care for; they can make a habit of checking for growth every day.
Sewing is a skill that comes in handy more often than people think. Right now, many people are making their own facemasks to wear in public. This is a great family project whether or not you know how to sew. You can learn together while also creating a helpful project. In addition to masks, projects such as crocheting, knitting and cross stitching are creative ways to pass the time indoors or in our backyards.
Trying to use the time we have at home to teach our children and learn some new skills ourselves is important, but it’s also important to make sure we are taking time to practice self care. Eating well, exercising and sleeping well are all ways we can take care of ourselves in such uncertain times. Adapting to this “new normal” is not easy, but we’re all in this together and we can help each other out, even if it’s from a distance.
When the government, news, and community are urging us to stay home and a large number of us have been laid off, it’s easy to get stuck in a funk of Netflix and junk food. What people may not realize is the effect this can have on our mental health and overall wellbeing. This is the time when we need to take advantage of having some time at home, and shift our focus on taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally.
Maintain a sense of normalcy
Every morning, take the time to adhere to your normal routine. Get up at your regular time, take a shower, brush your teeth, cook breakfast for yourself or your family, and then plan your day from there. Try to eat your meals at the same time you normally would, and continue (or start) your exercise routine from home. Many gyms are offering home workout videos on social media, and there are hundreds of tutorials you can follow on sites such as Youtube for free. Keeping our routines as normal as possible can help keep us on track and assist us in feeling like we have more control over our lives as things unfold.
Limit social media “news”
At this point, news surrounding COVID-19 is everywhere you look on social networking sites. Social media can be great in terms of having communication with our community, but it’s no secret that incorrect information can be shared very quickly through sites like Facebook or Twitter. Try to limit your time surfing these sites and make sure you obtain your information from reputable sources such as the Government of Canada website or the World Health Organization.
Reach out to loved ones
Right now, a lot of us may be starting to feel lonely and isolated, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Pick up the phone and call, text or FaceTime your loved ones. A simple hello can make someone’s day, especially if they are feeling alone. Don’t forget about any elderly relatives or friends you may have that could need some extra help in times like this. Offer to pick up and deliver some groceries to their door, if you are able. Just remember to practice social distancing to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Take this as an opportunity to do what you’ve been putting off
We almost always have the excuse, “I don’t have time to do X, Y & Z right now.” Well, now is as good a time as ever to break out that new book you’ve been wanting to read, or that canvas you’ve been wanting to paint. Being creative is a great way to raise your spirits in this rather upsetting time. Now is also a great time to get caught up on any chores around the house you’ve been putting off. Clean out your closet, deep clean your kitchen, or rearrange your living room. We aren’t sure how long this is going to last, so we may as well try to use the time we have away from work and the outside world in a positive way.
We had a comment on one of our posts recently from someone who has chosen to start some free online classes with their time off of work. This is a great way to spend your time in a productive way- doing something that we normally wouldn’t have time to do. Websites such as Coursera or edX offer college and university classes for free. There are lots of unconventional ways to learn online as well; Skillshare offers online learning classes for a wide variety of categories, and sites such as GeoGuessr allow you to see the world from the comfort of your own home. Many museums also offer virtual tours that you can take for free, which is a great and educational activity for the whole family.
The reality of the world at the moment is not great, but it is really important that we try to look for the positives in every situation. If things are really hard for you right now, reach out to someone. Our need for a sense of community right now is heightened, and resources have been put in place to meet with mental health professionals from home in order to follow social distancing guidelines. If you do not have a therapist, reach out to a friend or family member, or the crisis line (Ottawa 613-722-6914, outside of Ottawa 1-866-996-0991) We’re all in this together.
Dr. Diana Garcia
Dr. Diana Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the field of psychology. She has provided psychological and counseling services in Ontario, and the states of Pennsylvania, and Florida