Delene P. Musielak, MD, FAAP, FACP

2020 The Year that Was

A pandemic, social unrest, a not-so-straightforward election. The year 2020 has been a pretty interesting, full of surprises, totally didn’t go the way we thought kind of year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. As a result of the above and social isolation, there has been an increase in depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicide. According to a recent article in JAMA, depression has almost tripled since COVID-19 began spreading. [1] With that rise in depression and anxiety, alcohol and drug use have also been noted. 

The disruption of what was once known as “normal” is now very different. There is now a “new norm.” Some people are working from home, some are having to teach their children in conjunction with virtual learning, and some are having to do both. Things have even looked different during this holiday season. A lot of families are choosing to celebrate together virtually. 

The circumstances I have described are ideal situations for us to get distracted, to have self-doubt, and to forget about our goals and dreams. 

2021 The Year that Will Be

With a vaccine now, that brings hope. However, it will not be a quick fix for the psychological effects all the chaos in 2020 has had on many people. The good news is that one way we can step into the new year is by resetting our mindset. 

Here are four tips to help you refocus and reset your mindset as we get ready for a new year. 

1. Discover the True You

Take time out to reflect upon your weaknesses and strengths. How have you changed and grown over the past year? Start out with your strengths, the items that don’t need improvement. That is likely the easy part. Then, focus on your weaknesses. What do you need to improve? We all need improvement in some areas of our lives. 

It is human nature to focus on one’s strengths and make them stronger. We definitely don’t like focusing on our weaknesses, but how else would we expect those areas to get better? When we step out of our comfort zone and venture out, it opens up so many possibilities and adventures. 

For example, maybe you’ve been wanting to write a book and share your story. However, you keep saying to yourself, “I don’t know how to write a book.” Or, maybe you’re thinking, “Who will buy my book?” Don’t limit yourself. Don’t let a negative mindset be a setback. Look deep within and find the true you so you can start preparing yourself for the great things that can happen. 

2. Have a Motivational Mentality

You should always be your biggest cheerleader! Take a moment to assess where your emotions stand and how you feel about yourself. Our self-esteem is so important!

Social media was already flooded with activity prior to the pandemic, and even more people are on social media today. Social media is great for so many things, such as connecting with people, getting ideas, learning new things, etc. However, it is filled with a lot of fakeness! Most people post their happy and successful moments. People have a tendency to not post when they aren’t doing so well. Seeing all those dream vacations or brand new cars can get someone down. Do you find yourself feeling down as you scroll down the page? Well, you are not alone!

I want you to do this quick exercise with me. Say your name out loud. Then say the following out loud: “I am beautiful. I am strong. I am amazing, and I can do anything I put my mind to!” Doesn’t that feel good? I encourage you to say these affirmations to yourself every day. 

3. Set Goals

There are short-term goals and long-term goals. I recommend making a list of both. This will help bring balance. It will also hold you accountable. There are different places to keep your list. You can put it in your phone, write it on a piece of paper, hang it up, or make a vision board. My recommendation is to write them where you will see them consistently. Your list(s) will serve as a reminder. This is why I am a huge proponent of vision boards. After you make one, it’s right in front of your face!

I also want to remind you not to place limits on yourself. If you have a dream job, dream salary, dream vacation, dream wedding, etc. Put it on your list or vision board! Without dreams, there would be no accomplishments. At the same time, be realistic in regards to time. If you are wanting to start a business, that normally doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and hard work. So, put that on your long-term goals list. However, on your short-term goals list, add the tasks you can start doing now in order to get you to that long-term goal. 

4. Have an Attitude of Gratitude

I think this one speaks for itself. Albeit 2020 has been challenging for the majority of us, we need to be thankful for what we still have. I am thankful that I am able to share this article, and I thankful that you are able to read this piece. 

The majority of people, unfortunately, have a bad habit of forgetting all the good things and blessings we have when we hit an obstacle. However, I challenge you today to switch your attitude. Remember, God never gives us more than we can handle. So, you’re way stronger than you give yourself credit for. The next time someone asks you how you are doing, maybe try answering with, “I am grateful. What are you grateful for?” 

Multiple studies have shown that voicing what we are grateful for and writing it down results in better sleep, better mental health, better physical health, better relationships, and much more. [2]

As we come to the end of another year, a year that has been filled with surprises, twists, turns, ups, downs, laughter, and tears, even though you may not feel like it, you have accomplished more than you think during this time. 

I challenge you today to finish 2020 with a bang and ring in the new year with the biggest bell ever! 2021 is YOUR year! Get ready and RESET YOUR MINDSET!

“Without the right mindset, you have no motivation. Without motivation, you have no movement.”

– Dr. Musielak

Dr. Musielak is a dual-boarded Internist and Pediatrician with St. Luke’s Medical Group. She enjoys teaching about preventative medicine and helping individuals live their happiest and healthiest lives. Dr. Musielak is the creator and host of The Dr. Mom Show Podcast. You can find more information at www.drdelenemusielak.com. Dr. Musielak is accepting new patients of all ages. 

References

  1. Catherine K. Ettman, Salma M. Abdalla, Gregory H. Cohen, Laura Sampson, Patrick M. Vivier, Sandro Galea. Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 PandemicJAMA Network Open, 2020; 3 (9): e2019686 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.19686
  1. Kori D. Miller. 14 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science. PositivePsychology.com, 2020.