Sure, the “twenty-twenty-won” is hijacked from a commercial (don’t remember the product, just the play on words), but it’s a great way to start this year. This year can be a continuation of last year or we can greet it with optimism and a sense of hope for a brighter future. I choose the latter.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sensationalism and gloomy news of the day. It’s just as easy to be awash in positive images, words of encouragement, and determination for a brighter day; today and tomorrow. Here are some simple ways you can do that for yourself and those you love.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
I know that might sound too simple and feel too hard to do when everyone we talk to seems to be a Debbie Downer. Regardless, it’s important to avoid negative people. Some say to avoid them at all costs. You know who those folks are. They complain constantly about everything. Nothing is right. They’re the people who will look out at an expansive, sunny, blue sky and tell you it’s too bright.
Surround yourself with people who believe in the best of themselves and can see the best in you.
I appreciate that over the past year that may not have been as easy to do as before the pandemic as our opportunities to spend time with others was limited, but there are plenty of other opportunities to connect with people who can encourage you and, in turn, are waiting to be encouraged by you.
That brings us to the second thing you can do to ensure your 2021 is “twenty-twenty-won”.
Turn off the negative news & feeds
Before we go any further let’s admit that we all do this; watch the same negative news coverage on 6 different channels and scroll through all the negative comments that clutter our social media feeds.
Turn it off. Turn all of it off. You can filter what you see on your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Hide the Negative Nellies and Loud Mouth Larrys.
Reach out to others
Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. I try to connect with someone I care about every day. Some of the ways I keep in touch are to call, send a hand-written note, text their phone, send a short email, IM them on social media, Skype them, have a Zoom chat, or send an e-card just to say, “Hi. I’m thinking about you.” These are only a few of the ways we can connect and some of the most common, low-cost ways to reach out.
We know that person-to-person contact is the richest and most rewarding way people can connect. We also know that’s not always possible. We all have family that lives farther from us than a hop in the car or a walk around the corner. Aside from taking a weekend to fly out and visit, how have you engaged them in the past? How have you stayed connected to them? Consider using those same strategies with friends, support group members, co-workers, and others.
Even though electronic communication has its challenges, it’s worth exploring which options work best for you. Then bring joy into your life for 2021 by making a determination to connect with those you don’t get to see.
Take time to take care of yourself
Self-care is a topic we focus on a lot at BEST. The importance of taking care of ourselves cannot be stressed enough. Here are some ways you can ensure you are taking care of yourself.
Eat healthy foods and snacks. Stay away from processed foods. When I learned to shop at a large grocery store I was told one simple thing; do all your shopping along the perimeter of the store and stay away from the center isles. Why? Because all the fresh food is on the perimeter and the center aisles are all the processed items (and, of course, the paper goods).
Exercise. You don’t have to go to a gym 5 days a week for intensive workouts. Try bicep curls holding canned vegetables. Go for a 10-minute walk once or twice each day. If you’re working from home, stand at your desk for a while instead of sitting all the time. Do stretches. There are many options when it comes to exercise – including gardening – that help keep muscles strong and our brain healthy.
Be sure to exercise your mind, too. Learn something new. Play puzzle games or put together a jigsaw puzzle. Play cards, even if it’s a game or two of solitaire. Engaging in activities such as the ones I list here and specially designed brain games help improve memory and concentration, making daily tasks easier to do.
Meditation is an easy and proven way to improve mental, physical, and emotional resilience. It’s a relaxing self-care activity and helps you to rise above stress and worry, thereby finding peace in every day; improving your happiness, health, and general well-being to a huge degree. Meditation can also help control stress. Learn about the benefits of meditation and simple techniques you can try yourself in our Calm Mind Video Course.
Do things that lift your spirits and make you happy
Spend time doing something you love. If you paint, draw, read, or build dioramas then paint, draw, read, or build dioramas. Whatever it is that lightens your mood, relieves stress, and makes you happier do it.
If you play chess and are looking for new partners consider some of the online groups. Or play via email with a friend.
If you enjoy baking learn some new techniques or recipes by watching a few YouTube videos.
If you enjoy music then listen to lots of positive music and explore new artists in your favorite genres.
If you are passionate about Star Wars or Middle Earth or the Sims and you love storytelling consider writing fan fiction. I love theater and enjoy reading plays, especially new work. I also dabble in writing one-acts. Recently, I joined a playwriting group in Second Life and we meet weekly to share not only our own work but the work of other playwrights. This has been enjoyable and helpful in getting better at something I love.
Start every day with gratitude for who you are and what you have. Too often we get caught up in the day-to-day demands of our lives and forget to “stop and smell the roses”. When we slow down to smell those roses we appreciate their beauty and presence in our garden. Take time every day to appreciate who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you have.
That doesn’t mean you settle, but that you don’t dismiss what you have and how it contributes to your safety, comfort, health, and happiness.
Keep a gratitude journal. This is a great way to make gratitude a daily focus. You can use a basic notebook and every day write down what you are grateful for and why.
These are just a few ways you can make 2021 a winner of a year and be your BEST self. For more articles and ideas on self-care be sure to read the posts in our Self-Care & Mindfulness section.
Gloria's career as an independent nonprofit consultant, trainer, and writer spans over 30 years giving her lots to talk about. She has a deep passion for sustainability, both environmentally and organizationally. Enjoy her perspectives on community, development, and tales from her virtual world travels.