How to let go of 2020 and psychologically prepare for 2021

December News: How to let go of 2020 and psychologically prepare for 2021

This year, more than most, has been incredibly challenging due to the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought globally and in Australia. Particularly the adjustments and changes to our way of life, as well as the limitations on international and interstate travel.

The holiday season can come with some mixed emotions.  For many, the holiday season and new year is traditionally a time of joy, excitement, and of family coming together. However, for others this can be a stressful and difficult time of year. Routine disruptions, family pressures, being away from loved ones and financial stress are just a few of the reasons people may be struggling over this period.

Acacia EAP Webinar Sessions

Acacia is proud to offer free webinars throughout the festive season, and we encourage you and your peers to participate. Please register your attendance in advance via the Zoom links. 

Session One
Date:   Friday 11th December
Time:   11:00 AM (Brisbane)
Topic:   How to let go of 2020 and psychologically prepare for 2021
Link: Register Here

Session Two 
Date:   Friday 18th December
Time:   11:00 AM (Brisbane)
Topic:  Self-care strategies for the holiday season and staying on top of Christmas
Link: Register Here

Ending the Year
The end of the year can be a great time to take a moment, reflect on the year that was and recharge your batteries to prepare for 2021.There are a few things we can do this holiday season to make the most of the downtime and enable us to start the year fresh, including:
  • Letting go of any criticisms for what you didn’t achieve or goals you set yourself and didn’t reach.  When reviewing the goals that you set at the beginning of the year, don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t accomplished them yet. Remember, nobody is perfect, and its likely that many people didn’t achieve all of the goals they set for themselves as the start of 2020.  Try and reflect on why you set this goal and ask if it is still important to you.  Should it remain in place for 2021?
  • Detach from work. In order to completely recharge our batteries, we need to mentally detach from work.  This is more than just creating a physical space (switching off the work phone and putting the laptop away).  We need to consciously separate from work by fully engaging in our home / personal life.  Detach by engaging in hobbies, reading a book, watching a movie, exercising or exploring the neighbourhood.
  • Connect with friends and family. This might not include the usual traditions of bringing family and friends together, due to restrictions in event numbers and travel restrictions throughout the country and overseas.  However, we can still connect virtually with our networks.  Set up a virtual family dinner, with a typical cuisine as the theme or a fancy-dress celebration over Zoom.  Remember to reach out to those who you know are celebrating in isolation this year.
  • Invest in your physical health.  It is common for many to over-indulge a little during the holiday season.  Remember to recharge by drinking plenty of water, maintaining a balanced diet and monitoring alcohol consumption.
  • Reflect.  Take time to reflect on the year, including your accomplishments (regardless of how small) and lessons learned.  Reflect with others to gain insights into how they have viewed success in 2020.

Preparing for 2021

Despite the devastations, disappointments, loss and uncertainty, 2020 has also presented some valuable opportunities for learning and growth. To psychologically prepare for 2021 there are several strategies you could consider:

  • Focus on what you can control.  Letting go of how things “should be” and focusing on how things “are”, shifts the mindset to one of acceptance.  It is common to ruminate on the things that are not working, but this can cloud our judgement and sense of ability to change our situation.  When you focus on what you can control, our thoughts can empower us and trigger positive emotions.  This mindset is about accepting what is, and choosing to put your attention and focus into doing what you can, in-spite of it.
  • Build Resilience.  Resilience is our ability to adapt effectively during times of stress, change or uncertainty.  It is our ability to bounce back, and it can be developed over time.  We can build resilience through maintaining our  physical wellbeing (eating well, sleeping well and exercising regularly), emotional regulation (maintaining composure, being flexible and practicing mindfulness) and connecting with our networks to develop strong relationships (social connection and values based living). 
  • Reset and set your goals.  One thing 2020 has taught us is to expect the unexpected.  When setting your goals for the New Year, make them realistic and allow yourself to adjust them if, and when, you need to.  Start with small goals that are clearly defined and connected to your values.  Use your reflections on the last year to inform your goals for this year.  Ask yourself:
    • How did I progress towards my goals of 2020?
    • Where did I fall short and why?
    • Are these goals still meaningful to me, and why?
    • What is meaningful to me for 2021?
  • Look to friends and family for support.  One of the most valuable resources we have is our support network.  Your network gives you purpose, practical resources, guidance, connection, and inspiration.  Our support network exists in both our personal life as well as our professional lives.  Social connectedness can enhance our mental health and wellbeing. 
  • Prepare for a new normal and a new routine.  Having a routine can help create a sense of normality during periods of change or uncertainty.  In 2021 you may have a new routine due to a change in a work role or inclusion of more flexible work opportunities.  Consider other changes you may need to make to your routine in the New Year to continue your activities such as exercise, regular sleep, social catchups, and other important hobbies. 

Final Words

As the year that bought us natural disasters and a global health pandemic comes to an end, let’s try and ensure we take some time this holiday period to rest, reflect and recharge to prepare us for the New Year. 

Where to Get Help 
Whether you are concerned about a colleague, family member, friend, manager or acquaintance, you can contact the following support services
  • Call or give the number for your EAP, Acacia Connection
  • Speak to your manager, supervisor or HR if you are concerned about someone at work or need support at work
  • Connect the person to a GP
  • Encourage them to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • If you believe someone is in immediate danger, contact 000

If you or someone close to you needs support, contact Acacia EAP for an appointment.

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