The following is a first-person article from a Northern California mental health expert.
By Kim Narvaez, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
This year has been a whirlwind of challenges, transitions, losses and change. It has also been a time to slow down, reflect, learn, grow, adapt and transform. Throughout 2020, our skills have been tested, and again and again, we’ve had to draw on our strengths through times of stress. How we view the world, each other, our problems and ourselves is a major factor in developing resilience.
As the year ends, let us celebrate our successes—and how we’ve survived.
Here are examples of some of the positives of 2020:
- Acts of kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness—for example, restaurant owners serving free meals for first responders and healthcare workers
- Acts of bravery from those who are on the front lines and caring for the sick
- Collaboration on life-changing common goals, such as fighting the spread of COVID-19 and marching peacefully for social justice
- Creative use of technology during stay-at-home orders to help maintain our relationships and support each other
- Learning to be flexible and adapt to working from home and our children learning online
- Replacing our commute time with time for self-care
- Improved connections between family members living and working under the same roof and learning to communicate better with each other
- Reducing our human footprint on the planet by traveling and consuming less
- Having time to reflect on what’s important and the good things in life
We honor what we have endured, and we will never forget the pain and sorrow of this past year. But we commit to paying special attention to this year’s benefits as much as its cost.
Please create a list of your own of what went right for you in 2020 and reflect on how that balances out the negatives in your life. You may find that your list provides a meaningful, much bigger perspective of your total experience of the year.
We’ve made changes in 2020 out of necessity and the need for survival, not from deep soul searching. Nonetheless, the outcome is the same. We have come to know that we are strong, able and can do this together.
In 2020, we rose to the occasion and became more resilient.
Kim Narvaez, LMFT, is a Sutter Health therapist based in Woodland, Calif.