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By Alana Gregg, MS

We have all emphatically declared good riddance to 2020. We want to put it behind us and never think about it again. It can be so tempting to push this past year out of our minds because it brings up too much pain and disappointment. I understand the impulse. We would rather focus on all the things the fresh start of the new year brings. It spurs us on to reset our course ahead and accomplish new things. It gives us renewed hope that things will get better and healing will come.

So if we focus on our goals and what’s ahead, what is the point of reflecting back on this painful year? When we reflect on the past year, we… 

6 Benefits of Facing The Anxiety of 2020

  1. Acknowledge what we have lost- We have lost loved ones, jobs, incomes, connection, physical touch, the list goes on. If you are reading this and you are hurting, my heart aches with you. These are substantial things and in many ways we will not be the same. We need to grieve these losses.
  2. Remember the strength it took to survive- Through every overwhelming day, we found a way to keep going. Even if it took everything in us to get through the day, we did.
  3. Learn new ways to cope with hard things- A lot of the ways we were used to dealing with life were suddenly no longer available. We couldn’t just go to the gym or go out with a friend. We had to find new and creative ways to deal with stress and anxiety. For me, it was driving around town aimlessly while singing obnoxiously. Anybody else?
  4. Recognize growth- Were there ways that you grew this year? Maybe there was a goal you were able to accomplish or a closet you were finally able to get cleaned out. Maybe you were able to stay calm in a moment when you really wanted to freak out or were able to sit with your kids during virtual school when all you wanted to do was run out of the door screaming. However big or small, these are things to be celebrated.
  5. Recognize areas we still need to grow in- There will always be areas in our lives that we need to grow in. Did you let your anxiety get the best of you at times which caused you to take it out on your family? Did you become so weighed down by the heaviness of this year that you stopped believing that there was anything good? Did you find unhealthy ways to deal with stress because you just wanted to feel better? We have all had these moments. Understanding our patterns and the ways we typically deal with hard things is important in making healthier choices for ourselves in the future.
  6. Realize the power of connection- If there is anything 2020 has taught us, it’s that we need people. We were made to be in relationship with people and experience the healing power of connection. This year has removed all doubt that “no man is an island.”
  7. Understand what is really important- When many aspects of our lives are stripped away, it becomes a little clearer what we can and can’t live without. At the end of the day, it is the people around us and the way we choose to respond to hard things that define who we are.

If we do not take the time to reflect, we miss out on learning about ourselves and who we are in the world. Reflecting on the past is not the same thing as being stuck in the past. Acknowledging the pain of 2020 is the first step to healing from it and moving toward the year ahead. 

Start Grief Therapy, Anxiety Counseling in Pennsylvania or Colorado

If the effects of this past year still leave you struggling and overwhelmed, our expert counselors at Lime Tree Counseling would love to walk alongside you as you reflect on this past year. We specialize in anxiety counseling, trauma therapy and addiction counseling. We offer Telehealth counseling which you can do from the safety of home in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Contact us today!