2020 has undoubtedly been a difficult year for most.
The “year in review” will highlight events from natural disasters to the revolutionary protests against police brutality and systemic racism, to our historic presidential election witnessed by the world.
Oh yes and let us never forget the Coronavirus pandemic that ravished the globe and caused the death of more than 275,000 Americans (and counting).
Millions became unemployed, lost their homes, survived because of local food bank donations, and have suffered significant mental health setbacks. Sleeping difficulties, stress, anxiety, and alcohol consumption have skyrocketed. All exacerbating physical illnesses for those with chronic medical conditions.
The healthcare system is at capacity. Medical personnel are beyond exhausted. Teachers are overwhelmed. Students aren’t learning. Retail, pharmacy, and grocery workers are fed up. Mental health professionals are drowning.
Humanity is hanging on by a thread…
(TAKE A BREATH)
What a ray of sunshine, right?
When facing such striking difficulties, the positives are often more difficult to find. And while they may not be as significant as the negatives, it remains worth the effort. So here we go.
Nature is thriving as emissions caused by mass transit has reduced, improving air quality and allowing vegetation to flourish.
There have been hopeful improvements in medicine and strides in innovation.
The increase of digitalization has allowed many to work remotely while sweatpants have become acceptable work attire.
Students have discovered new ways of learning and hopefully, you figured out how to put yourself on mute before video calls.
“Tiger King” connected us all by agreeing on the fact that Carol Baskin… ya know, while TikTok provided us with endless entertainment during months of quarantine.
The adoption of pets from shelters and rescues soared. We learned new hobbies, created new businesses, and got outside!
Restaurants became exceptionally creative in their attempts to make safe dining arrangements. Many of us became better home chefs or supported local businesses with each take out order.
Teachers got the recognition they deserve as parents realized homeschooling is hard and healthcare and essential workers have become viewed as the heroes they are.
Weddings were still celebrated, babies were born, and families cheered up loved ones from afar.
We learned how to stay connected when we needed each other the most.
(WAS THAT A LITTLE SMILE?)
Remember, it is okay to not be okay. But please, don’t give up. Check in on your people, on your neighbors, on your coworkers. Check in with yourself and know when you need a break.
Deep breaths. Hold on strong to hope.
Wash your hands, wear your mask. We will get through this.
Happy holidays and thank goodness for a new year.
By Jessica Okoniewski, LMHC, NCC
Director of Clinical Operations Springville Counseling Center
Spectrum Health and Human Services