It’s Okay to Not be Okay: Looking Back at the Rocky Year of 2020 | Rice Psychology
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It’s Okay to Not be Okay: Looking Back at the Rocky Year of 2020

Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.

I was extremely anxious and worried when the pandemic began. At first, I found peace thinking we would shelter in place for a few weeks until things went back to normal. Now, we’re in December and things don’t seem to have changed much at all! I’m having a harder time keeping up my “this is just a bump in the road” outlook. On top of that, it’s brutal to see my family struggle as well. I feel like my sunny and positive demeanor is now cloudy and dull. I’m finding it really difficult to stay positive and be productive anymore.

It’s Okay to Not be Okay: Looking Back at the Rocky Year of 2020
2020 has been unlike any year we’ve ever seen, and, hopefully, it’ll be unlike anything we’ll ever see again. Think back to when we started to hear about COVID-19, sheltering in place, and online learning: schools closed, jobs became home-based, and there was even a toilet paper shortage! If you’re like many, you probably remember telling yourself this would run its course in a couple of months and be gone forever.

How wrong we all were!

One thing we were right about, though, was making our mental health a priority. We emphasized practicing self-care, meditation, and checking in on others. After almost a year of this, we’d like to know, how are you doing now?

We’ve All Changed

This pandemic has changed us. When it began, perhaps you hated the idea of working from home. Do you still feel this way? If you took your health for granted before 2020, are you still doing this? Do you feel like you’re worse or better off now than you were when this all began? I’m sure if you’re selling PPE’s, this has been a banner year! But how about the rest of you?

However you’re doing, we’re willing to bet that some things such as your outlook on life, your daily habits, how you work or go to school, and even your relationships have changed since March. We’re all different and that’s to be expected. How could you not feel differently with all we’ve been through?

With that said, we know some of you are doing great while others are struggling more. We want you to end this year with a renewed spirit, a spring in your step, and more positivity. We suggest these research-based coping strategies highlighted in recent articles from the journal Nature Human Behaviour and Psychology Today:

  • Stand Against Fear – Ask yourself: What behaviors align with my morals? What can I do that helps protect others? Once you identify them, DO them. If you feel that all you can do is wash your hands, wear a mask, not touch your face, then just do those three things. You’re doing great!
  • Account for Unhelpful Thinking Styles – It’s easy to let our minds wander and create “fictional” thoughts. When these thoughts occur, remember to focus on the facts and what you can control.
  • Support Each Other – Believe it or not, you have something in common with every person you see or meet. Ask for help because chances are pretty good that you’re not alone in what you need, and someone else you know may be experiencing something similar. Remember that we’re in this together.
  • Stick to the Facts – Have you seen the video Year in Search 2020 published by Google? The theme surrounds the question, “Why?” While searching for your answers, make sure to review credible sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journals and .gov and .edu websites) that stick to the facts with data. Look at multiple sources!
  • Maintain Your Connections – “Socially distant” doesn’t mean “cut off all ties from your support group.” Pick up the telephone (you remember how to do that), send snail mail, create video chat dates, virtual game nights, and/or wine nights. Did you know you can watch movies together via Teleparty, too?
  • Model Safe Behavior – Because we tend to emulate people we know and trust, keep in mind that if you’re making positive decisions and behave in healthy ways, those who respect you are apt to follow suit. Remember the first bullet above? Do what you can and remember to stay safe!

We also know that pushing yourself to do something (literally almost anything) you enjoy gets you moving, and being outside can improve your mood. So, we include these here, not because we don’t think you know, but just as a gentle reminder to keep on keeping on:

  • Read for pleasure
  • Get some new plants and do some indoor or outdoor gardening
  • Find a fun project to work on
  • Bake
  • Ride your bike
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Sit in a new place to work
  • Call a friend you’ve lost touch with
  • Take a walk in a place you’ve never visited
  • Take the dog on a long walk in a fun place

A Word from Dr. Nikel Rogers-Wood

In her most recent vlog on Facebook, our own Dr. Nikel Rogers-Wood checked in to ask how we’ve been holding up. She reminded us that, while we’re constantly encouraged to stay happy, upbeat, and positive, sometimes we can’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re feeling worse than you did when this all began, or even if you feel better and have an occasional bad day, consider the tips Dr. Rogers-Wood shared in her vlog.

We Want to Help You Cope

Please contact us any time to schedule your free, 10-minute consultation. We currently offer private, online sessions via telehealth as well as a limited number of telehealth and in-person evaluations for all ages.

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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