Why Living Through 2020 Felt Like Grieving
You’re not the only one who thought living through 2020 felt like grieving. Don’t head into your 2021 goals without letting 2020 go.
Right now, we’re collectively feeling isolated in our own experiences.
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The global pandemic. Business shutdowns. School closures. Sickness and loss.
There’s been so much hurt and disruption from what used to be normal. Many people feel like they’re going through this alone, even though we’re all living through these shared experiences to some degree.
As a whole, the events that defined 2020 have felt a lot like the process of grieving.
Thrown into unfamiliar yet similar circumstances, we’ve all been grieving the normalcy of life as we once knew it: going out to social events, gathering together in public spaces or in our homes, going to work every day. We’re all feeling uncertain about the future and scared because we don’t have the answer to what comes next.
That’s why I wanted to stop and take a minute to talk about the importance of recognizing grief.
5 Reasons Living Through 2020 Felt Like Grieving
1. Grief isn’t just the loss of a loved one.
Grief doesn’t have to be associated with the loss of a person. It can be the loss of a pet, a job, a friendship, a house or any significant life experience. It’s rooted in many different areas of our lives, even though we may not see these experiences as grief.
In 2020, we learned just how many forms of grief there are. You may have lost a loved one, a business, a job, a marriage, a dream wedding, a graduation ceremony, a milestone birthday party, a holiday tradition, a hug from a good friend. Regardless of what you experienced, we all lost a sense of normalcy this year.
As you understand more about what your grieving process looks like, you’ll be able to better navigate your feelings about the past and your choices in the future.
2. Grief is personal, but you’re not alone.
Grief is a deeply personal journey and feeling. You might feel overwhelmed, uncertain, afraid, paralyzed, numb or everything all at once. It will be different for everyone. That means the only person who can get you through your grief is you.
This year has been a unique experience, however, because we’ve all been affected by the global pandemic in some way – even if it only meant you had to wear a mask to go to the grocery store. We’ve all lost a degree of normalcy, and many of us have lost much more. Like grief, we’ve all had to find our own way through this year – but we lived through it together.
3. Self-care is a must.
If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s the benefits of slowing down, taking stock and taking care. Self-care has become as necessary as our old busy routines used to seem. That’s why I want to take a minute to talk about what true self-care looks like. It starts by asking yourself what you need to do to support yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, creatively, spiritually, socially, etc. Real self-care begins with checking into each area of your life, and figuring out how you can support yourself.
During the grieving process, self-care is extremely important, so you can shift your emotional state into a more positive, hopeful place. I found it useful to ask myself questions. Am I eating well? Sleeping well? How am I feeling about my work life? Romantic life? How am I showing up with my family? Am I feeling sad? Pessimistic? Grateful? Am I paying more attention to the small victories or the occasional setbacks?
Only then could I adequately give myself what I needed through a tough grieving process – or a tough year.
4. Count your blessings.
Grief has a funny way of affecting our thinking so that we only see the lack or the difficulties, instead of the gratitude or the victories. That’s why right now is a really good time to take stock of what you DO have. Count your blessings. Celebrate the small wins. Find gratitude even when you don’t feel like it.
It’s time to accept that there is no set plan for anyone right now, and focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Life is about the small things for the time being, and I urge you to see the gift in that.
Be grateful for your health, the fresh air, the flowers along your morning walk, the pet that gives you unconditional love. When the kids are getting on your nerves because you’re all on top of each other, take a moment to savor this extra time with them.
Literally counting your blessings is like an antidote to 2020 troubles, grief and uncertainty.
5. Hold onto hope.
Grieving can take away a possible future you envisioned for yourself, just as 2020 seemed to take away the year we imagined for ourselves. If it feels like hope is lost, there’s exactly where you need to start – because hope is the foundation of everything you want.
How do you find hope again? Ask yourself what good has come out of these radical changes. What have you learned about yourself or discovered about your life? What new appreciations have you gained through the grief or uncertainty?
Let’s say goodbye to 2020 with gratitude that we’ve come through so much as people, families and communities, and look toward 2021 with the hope that these lessons will bring us gifts we can’t even imagine yet.
Join me in stepping forward with the attitude and commitment to bring forth your best. Why? There’s always more good to experience, more love to be shared, and more happiness to be embraced.
Share With Us!
What lessons have you learned from 2020? What might you be grieving from this year?
Share with us! We would love to know!
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