How to start moving on from 2020 as we head for the New Year

Where do we start? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The New Year is coming up fast but the nightmare of 2020 could prove hard to wake up from.

The events of 2020 – the pandemic in particular – have left many of us irrevocably changed in ways the even the most imaginative Black Mirror episode could never have anticipated.

Even though 2021 is unlikely to magically make things peachy keen again, the arrival of the vaccine means there’s finally some light at the end of this hideous tunnel.

So how do we begin to move on from a year like this?

Counselling Directory member Avraam Karagiannis tells us: ‘It is inevitable that the experience of 2020 has led many of us to reflect about life, about what is and what isn’t important to us. Many of us would have thought about our own mortality.

‘Going forward, I think it helps to consider the idea of boundaries and how we can set those for ourselves. By setting our own boundaries it will help us to enforce them with others and thus we can create healthier relationships be that personal, professional or romantic.

‘It is also important to learn to prioritise and therefore help ourselves to minimise, as much as possible, the anxieties that are associated with the pressures we might be finding ourselves in.

‘Some things are more important and more urgent than others and learning to prioritise will help us to avoid doing things which are not important to us but which still add to the stress in our lives.

Avraam says: ‘Not all problems belong to us’ (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

‘It is important that we learn to say no to things that are making us unhappy or putting us under pressure. We need to practice self-care and during times of uncertainty to ask ourselves the question “What is the problem and who’s problem is it?”

‘After all, not all problems belong to us. We can help ourselves cope better with uncertainty by asking ourselves questions such as, “Does it matter? Why does it matter? Whom does it matter to?” as they help us to identify what it is that is going on for us.’

He also recommends sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust and/or a councellor, saying it ‘helps us to untangle our thoughts and feelings and to put things into perspective.

‘Talking helps us to identify which feelings belong to which experiences and therefore it makes it easier to be able to prioritise and understand which situations make us feel the way we do.

‘Learning to prioritise and to focus on those things that we can do something about is part of our self-respect too.

‘When in difficult conversations it is ok to say to the person “Let me think about it and I will get back to you”, in the same way we mark an email as unread before deciding the correct response.

‘Lastly, I think it is important to live more in the moment whenever we can and not to postpone experiences for the future.

‘If there is one thing that Covid has taught me it is not to take my freedom for granted.’

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