Despite the fresh start that a new year promises, our world has not changed much since last March. We are still living in a new normal. We are masking up, working (and schooling) from home, and maintaining social distance. Furthermore, scores of community events and activities have been canceled. However, there is something that has never been canceled: hope. Here are a few considerations to embrace to lift your spirits and help you navigate all the uncertainty.
Be Happy: The COVID-19 Vaccine is Here
This is incredible news. To date, there are two vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Those who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech shot will be given two injections, 21 days apart. Those who receive the Moderna shot also will be given two injections, one month (28 days) apart. Both are given in the muscle of the upper arm and can cause mild side effects. However, clinical trials for both have shown a high level of efficacy. Learn more about each one here. The vaccine will be rolled out in phases. Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities will be offered the first doses. Learn more about who will get it and when here. The fact that we even have a vaccine available might well be the very definition of hope.
Feel Refreshed: Take a News Break
Since most of us are isolated to some degree, it is only natural to turn to our devices. Games and social media both have the potential to take your mind off of the pain in our world. However, if you tend to veer toward newsfeeds that feature nothing but bad news (which can be addicting), perhaps it is time to take a break. According to Verywell.com, a constant stream of sensational or disaster reporting, whether you are exposed actively or passively, can elevate stress levels and trigger symptoms like anxiety and sleep troubles, robbing you of your well-being. So, unplug. Step away from your laptop. Give your phone to a family member, partner, or friend. Get outside and soak in some vitamin D. Re-claim that part of yourself that sees the glass half full.
Ditch the Guilt: Plan Your Cheat Meals
If you have been looking to food for some much-needed comfort over the past year, you are not alone. Being at home just a few feet away from a fully stocked kitchen is tempting every minute! Perhaps some of you have banished any guilt about indulging, but for those who just cannot seem to shake it, choose your moments to indulge. Satisfy your cravings a few times a week or just on the weekends. The less you do this, the more you will enjoy it. And when you want to splurge, why not support a local restaurant by ordering takeout? You’ll feel better in no time.
Chill Out: Spend Time Doing Nothing
With everything going on and all the responsibilities of living life and crossing things off our lists, stopping to do nothing might seem counter-intuitive; but often, it’s the best remedy for eliminating stress and restoring your sanity. Carving out time to sit with the feelings you are experiencing – whether irritation, anxiety, or sadness – can help dissipate them. Take some advice from Winnie the Pooh who said, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” When you give yourself permission to let go and empty your mind, you’ll be rejuvenated and ready to begin again.
Even though the happenings of 2020 were unprecedented, the truth is you do have a new year ahead. One that can be anything you want it to be. Just grab hold of something that has always been there and will never be canceled: hope.