Most of us are glad to see 2020 coming to an end! This has been quite the year — full of unpredictable dynamics and lots of things that have been, or at least felt, out of our control. For some people it has even resurrected trauma. As we consider why that is, the theme of most trauma is ‘being helpless or powerless.’ If you are like most of us, your mental health has been challenged this year. That doesn’t mean it is going to stay bad or have lasting negative consequences. One of the best things we can do these days is to park in the ‘known’ things. What do you know for sure? There are lots of unknowns that we can focus on but this is not helpful or effective. ‘What if this….’ What if that…’ Chasing those unknown rabbit trails only increase anxiety and decrease our sense of peace and contentment.
Here are SIX coping skills to try:
What do you know? Make a list of all the things that you do know for certain.
Take it one day at a time. If we get too far ahead of ourselves we actually get outside of reality — speculating, assuming, guessing and making stuff up. This is not helpful.
Celebrate the small wins — find joy in the daily achievements, which may be as simple as getting dressed rather than staying in pyjamas.
Reframe, reframe, reframe. If we reframe what we are looking at into a positive, it will help us cope much better and guard our mood. This doesn’t mean that we deny the difficult or stressful pieces but considering a more full perspective. How is this challenge a potential for positive growth?
Get rid of the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘all or nothing’ thinking. ‘Shoulds’ are shaming and imply duty or obligation — they also create depression as does ‘all or nothing’ thinking. If you catch yourself doing the ‘all or nothing’ thinking challenge yourself by asking yourself the truth — is it really ‘always’ or ‘never’ or is it sometimes, occasionally, often? The polarized thinking creates distress and depression.
Challenge the wording. This year Christmas will be different! No doubt. Different doesn’t mean that it will be awful or the ‘worst ever.’ Different just means that it’s not normally what you would do. The wonderful thing about our attitude is that we do get to choose it! Some of the most resilient writers who were prisoners of war during the Holocaust, speak about this very thing. The one thing their captors could not take from them was their attitude. That is hopeful!
May 2021 be a truly good year for you and your family.
All the best from all of us at Fresh Hope Counselling!
Beth & Glenn, Marla, Cathy, Sherri, Heidi, Cheryl, Daisy and Kathleen.