Thought for the Day:
“Everyone gets stuck. It’s the great among us who religiously practice getting unstuck.”
Question for the Day:
Were you derailed by 2020?
This post might be just for me, but I’ll go ahead and share it with all of you just in case anyone else can relate. First of all, 2020…..whew chile! Being a therapist by profession makes me especially sensitive to the fact that 2020 was particularly difficult for a lot of us. Most of us already had our fair share of worries prior to the coronavirus pandemic and were barely managing our emotions in Trump’s America. But then along came COVID-19. Not only were we now grappling with an entirely new set of fears, but we had to do it without the benefit of our normal coping mechanisms.
Before COVID, when I was stressed, I could book a massage or a pedicure, visit the gym, take a trip the movies, go out with my husband, or hit up a happy hour with my friends to get a break from the daily grind. We used to be able to go to church and worship for a little solace or hug someone tight when we needed comfort. But with social distancing requirements and the restrictions of quarantine, we were forced further away from others despite being in an emotional posture to need them more than ever. Even the benefit of receiving a friendly smile or handshake was removed as masks covered our faces and no contact rules discouraged even the most benign forms of physical touch.
How then were we supposed to cope with this new reality and it’s added stressors such as unexpected grief, unemployment, business loss, increased financial hardship, and mounting feelings of anxiety and depression? Those of us who are also spouses, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents, or children and caretakers of elderly parents had the added burden of balancing our own feelings while being the emotional support others depended upon. And we won’t even begin to mention the additional level of responsibility us helping professionals must have for the clients we serve. The therapists, social service workers, medical professionals, teachers, pastors, and first responders were doubly charged with keeping other people together while struggling to keep themselves in one piece. Basically, it’s been A LOT and I know that it’s only by the grace of God that I’m still here and I’m sure many of you would agree.
Now, I wish I could say that I handled all of this with unshakeable faith and enduring optimism, but the truth is, there were many days in 2020 where just getting out of bed felt like an act of Congress! (And in today’s political climate, that’s saying something). Though I was able to push myself to get to work for the sake of the money my family needs to keep the lights on, the strength to do much beyond that was all on God. In many areas, I kind of just gave up. Since I couldn’t go to the gym, I started off walking the beach only to eventually relent and take the L against the snooze button. I couldn’t go to the hair salon as often as I used to, so I started off washing and twisting my hair myself. Yet, after a few months of pandemic fatigue, a wig and head scarves became my go to look. Though I’m a proud black queen and love my African print head wraps, I’m not nearly as woke as I am just plain tired!
(When you’re woke, but also haven’t combed your hair in days).
I haven’t done any work on my decades long novel in the making, writing blog posts and getting them uploaded has felt as daunting as defending a dissertation, and my domestic skills as a wife and mom have seen better days. I mean, the clothes hamper in my house became the place where favorite shirts go to die in 2020. And let’s not even talk about my diet. I’m afraid to get on a scale to find out if I’ve gained the quarantine 15, (20 or 25) because me and pineapple daquiris have gotten way too familiar in 2020. Though I make a living out of preaching self care, mindfulness, and positive coping strategies, I’m sure that at least a couple of my clients have peeped my style lately and decided to take what I had to say with a grain of salt.
I know I’m not alone when I say that 2020 had me in a headlock and many days all I could do was just tap out. BUT, like I tell my clients on the daily, it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. In a year like 2020, if all you did was get through it, know that survival was enough. I won’t fault myself for what didn’t get accomplished in 2020 nor waste time comparing my accomplishments, or lack thereof, to others. Though I won’t make myself wrong for the things that went undone, I also won’t allow myself to get comfortable with being stuck. The Bible tells us that there’s a time and season for every thing under the sun and I believe that 2020 (at least for me) was a time to sit down, reflect, listen, and learn. Yet, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that though it’s okay to be still, once we hear from God and renew our strength, it will once again be time to go about our Father’s business. I can’t continue to blame my lack of focus on 2020 because that chapter is officially over and God has allowed me to see 2021. Yes, I’m still leery of what might be in store especially with Trump continuing to throw a temper tantrum over the election results. No Means No, Donald! However, unlike him, I know when it’s time to turn the page and move on. So if you’re looking for some advice about how to get unstuck in 2021, here are a few things I plan to do.
Get My Behind Up and Start Moving – It’s time to end my salacious affair with the couch and my weighted blanket and get my butt in gear again. I plan to recommit to regular exercise at least five days per week. Though exercise is supposed to be about losing extra weight, it’s the endorphin rush for me. That little high I get after a good workout is just what I need to keep me sane enough to fight another day. Regular movement also serves as a symbolic reminder that I’m still strong, committed, and capable of forward movement in all areas of my life.
Tend to the Self Care Details – I plan to start paying attention to the details again. Though I could get away with throwing on a wig when I look like Cleo from “Set it Off,” wearing mix-matched socks, or borrowing my husband’s deodorant because I’m too lazy to shop for my own, I probably shouldn’t.
Practice Mindful Eating – Eating for me in 2020 became the highlight of my entire day. What else is there to do when you’re held up in the house with a plethora of shows to binge watch and a stock pile of non-perishable snacks? Nevertheless, it’s time to push back from the table. I plan to clean out
all of most of the unhealthy foods in my pantry and be more conscious about what I’m putting into my body. If we are what we eat, I’ve decided I don’t want to be hash browns scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked in 2021.
Organize, Plan, Set Goals and Execute – It’s time to catch up overdue paperwork, sort through the mail, clean out my work bag, prepare my 2021 calendar and clarify exactly what steps I need to take towards accomplishing my goals. The Word of God says to “write the vision and make it plain.” So, I think I’ll lay out my yearly, quarterly, weekly and daily goals in a way that will make it as easy as possible for me to stay on track. Some people can wing their way to success, but I’m more along the lines of needing “Accomplishing Goals for Dummies” in order to keep my erratic thoughts in check.
Seek God and Practice Gratitude Daily – In my Oprah voice, “what I know for sure” is that it was only God that kept me through 2020 and He’ll continue to be the center of my hope for 2021. I plan to be more intentional about consulting His Word and praying my way through the barriers that might seek to derail my progress. I will also be sure to continually thank him for the miracle that is my life and the blessings that have never stopped, even when I did.
Bottom line, it’s time to put 2020 behind us ladies and continue our journeys towards healing, growth and purpose. Now, break out that 2021 calendar, shave those armpits, back away from the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and go unstuck yourself! A blessed new year awaits. Happy New Year Queens!
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but we are not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9