Say hello, wave goodbye

2020 has been a pig of a year and we’re eager to wave it goodbye or should I say good riddance! What started off as novelty and an interest in home baking with a kindred spirit and a sense of community togetherness in Lockdown One, turned into loss endured to varying degrees. 


Sense of loss

The levels of loss for many this year is unprecedented. Many people are feeling the pain now. Not just financial as we experience in a recession but combined with the inability to see loved ones for long stretches of time and over the festive break. We have lived with a loss of liberty and choice; loss of the daily connections with others; the ability to touch and hug friends and loved ones freely and without threat of arrest.

Those still working from home are unexpectedly missing the commute and physical human contact with co-workers. Those living on their own have lost connection with others and are reliant on their support bubbles. We’ve lost the ability to hop on a plane and travel on a whim and the joy and delight of exploring somewhere new and foreign without fear. Many people have lost their jobs and incomes and some have sadly lost loved ones.  

Businesses have also been doing their best to keep it together in arduous circumstances. They are up against it and many have ceased for good. We’re seeing empty shop fronts as we wander along high streets up and down the country. No region has been spared.  

Now is the time to down tools and press pause, rest and reflect on what has been so we can clear space and think about the future. It’s a time of year when we look backwards and forwards at the same time, both consciously and unconsciously. 

Cast your mind back to Lockdown One when the days were lengthening. Those who were able to work from home could take their laptops into the garden, take a stroll or a walk into green space. The days are shorter and colder and team spirit is on the wane now. People’s resilience and cup of plenty, is fairly empty. 
Christmas festivities kicked off early in November in Lockdown Two because people needed their spirits lifted. How will we lift them now in the depth of winter? People are worn down by COVID restrictions. We are suffering from pandemic fatigue. How do we repair ourselves now? The world is a different place so how do we find our place in it? Our capacity for lockdowns is low. Our resources and resilience are low and yet we find ourselves back here again in lockdown. The end, if there is one, feels some way off. Our movements are, once again, restricted.  If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in a state-controlled country well, it feels like this. 
2020 has been a roller coaster year and we need something to look forward to. January is a time for new beginnings and resilience as we gather ourselves and look forward. Vaccines represent the beginning of the end we hope and are rolling out and history is being made, and there is a tiny feeling of optimism, dare I say it, in the air.

In the words of Soft Cell (synth-pop duo band) "let’s say hello to 2021 and wave goodbye to 2020" and COVID-19 and to the pain and disruption it has brought to the world in what will become known as a watershed year.    

Ways to lift our spirits 

Now is the time to down tools and press pause, rest and reflect on what has been so we can clear space and think about the future. It’s a time of year when we look backwards and forwards at the same time, both consciously and unconsciously.
Winter is a time for hibernation and hunkering down. The winter solstice has now passed and the days are getting longer and lighter meaning spring is on its way, over the horizon. So now is the time to look forward. Taking the time to appreciate the seasonal shift can do wonders for our emotional well-being. 
Attempting to continue to punch through isn’t going to keep working. Assess your cup of resilience. How empty or full is it? Be honest with yourself. This is the first step to acknowledging your needs. Taking care of ourselves has never been more important so make time for you and think about your needs and how you can meet them.
Give yourself a pat on the back for having coped with the year past. Take stock of what has happened and how you have adapted and coped. 

Woman walking two dogs in raincoatsNot everything is cancelled. We have to expand our horizons and enjoy simple pleasures like a favourite sweater. Take small joys by getting outside every day you can. Go for a dog walk on a sunny day. If you don’t have a dog, ask to borrow one. It may be cold and crisp but also uplifting. Indulge yourself with a relaxing bath using all the lotions and potions you received for Christmas. Give yourself a face mask and lie back. Bathing improves mood and emotional well-being so make it a regular ritual. Cosy up with blankets and throws and a real fire if you can. 
Focus on being rather than doing. Doing is difficult at the moment so focus on feeling nourished, alive, grounded, compassionate, independent, creative, courageous or calm.
January gives people a chance to press reset. More people than ever this year are doing dry January for example.  Lockdowns and tier systems have given Britons cause to consider their drinking consumption. Consider shaking up your routine. Your diet (sign-up for Gousto or Hello Fresh and put a fresh focus on your diet - also helpful in lockdown); exercise regime or home décor. Embrace new things and make plans. Think about ways you can press reset and how your experience of 2020 will shape and influence your life moving forwards. 
Is 2021 going to be luckier for us? We hope so. Could it be any blinkin' worse? We certainly hope not. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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St Albans AL3 & AL1
Written by Indira Chima, MA MBACP (Accred) - The Counselling Living Room
St Albans AL3 & AL1

Indira is a therapeutic counsellor in private practice in Hertfordshire near St Albans. Indira is a thoroughly modern practitioner and is dedicated to providing counselling in a straightforward, contemporary and relaxed setting. She is passionate about the power of 'talking therapies' and committed to making a difference to her clients' lives.

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