Everyday wellness: The upshot of a tough year. 7 healthy lessons learned we can take into 2021
Can you hear that?
The sound of a collective sigh of relief.
One refreshing breath, as if the world has been waiting to exhale.
Although the events of 2020 and its resulting impact are still with us, there are many lessons. Lessons of humanity and humility. Some of us are hurting in obvious ways, some not so obvious but each in our own way we shared a common experience, living through 2020. But where there is darkness, there is always hope and a chance for renewal – a chance to look for the good.
You may be wondering, what good?
Here’s a snapshot of the upshot of a tough year.
- Working from home had us prioritize what matters most
For those of us able to work from home, juggling priorities took on a whole new meaning and blurring the lines between work and life that previously were very distinct soon became the norm. The upshot of not commuting became apparent quickly, time and money saved. More time to sleep, cook and prioritize our health and our families.
- Greater awareness of our whole health
Pre-pandemic, the pace of life likely left you physically and mentally depleted. The good news about slowing down on lockdown…learning the value of developing healthier habits. Better nutrition, rest and venturing out into the fresh air helped us manage stress, anxiety and the daily crazy coming our way.
- Gratitude for healthier relationships, more family time and quality of life
Time away from others, showed us how much we take for granted, especially our loved ones. Healthy relationships are essential, from reducing stress to improved immunity helping us to live longer, happier lives. Increased gratitude for more time back with our families have given some of us an improved outlook.
- Mental health issues are real
Mental health is real and worsening. According to the CDC, symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.¹ Increasingly people are becoming aware of the rising unhealthy state of mental health in America, including their own and the number of people seeking help has skyrocketed.³ If you find that either you or a loved one is having a mental health issue, you can find help here: https://www.mhanational.org/finding-help
- Kindness got creative
We found ways to stay connected during this past year and everyday people around the world brought us joy, music, thanks and balcony ballads to lift up our spirits through social media and livestreaming. We thanked the global health care community with parades, singing, and a coordinated symphony of clapping and honking. We reached out to neighbors, friends, strangers and elders and found creative ways of celebrating people by driving by, making signs and making a lot of joyful noise.
- The value of humanity and awareness of our planet
Global shutdown cleared the air if only for a short while. The good news is there is a rise in awareness about global climate change, however, there is a widening gap between the will to fix it and action.₄ Countries around the world are now stepping up efforts to address climate change, move away from harmful fossil fuels and are willing to invest in green technologies. But all is not equal. We also saw a rise in social inequities come to the forefront with civil unrest and racial tensions spilling over. These issues are not new and there is much work to be done to heal this nation, but the unrest has served as a reminder that there is some good that emerged. It set off a national conversation and presidential platform, and with a new vice president of color, it has also inspired a new generation. Read about the good here: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/tag/race/. These stories give us hope.5
- 2020 ushered in vaccines so we can begin to heal
Here is what we know, according to the New York Times, about the vaccines:
“The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — the only two approved in the U.S. — are among the best vaccines ever created, with effectiveness rates of about 95 percent after two doses. That’s on par with the vaccines for chickenpox and measles."²
Now we think that is some pretty good stuff.
What good do you see?
Come as you are, leave feeling better
- Czeisler MÉ , Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020; 69:1049–1057. DOI: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm, last accessed January 27, 2021
- David Leonhard, We are underselling the vaccine, details section, January 18, 2021, The New York Times, https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?abVariantId=1&campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210118&instance_id=26125&nl=the-morning&productCode=NN®i_id=122072586&segment_id=49584&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2Fbef2a621-8397-5b83-8f34-17ad0bb04bc6&user_id=98461e809b64b7888db5ee3f2b8f6948 Last accessed January 27, 2021, “The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — the only two approved in the U.S. — are among the best vaccines ever created, with effectiveness rates of about 95 percent after two doses. That’s on par with the vaccines for chickenpox and measles.”
- Mental Health America, The State of Mental Health In America, last accessed February 16, 2021, https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america; finding help https://www.mhanational.org/finding-help
- National Geographic, Most Americans now worry about climate change—and want to fix it, by Andrew Revkin, January 23, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/01/climate-change-awareness-polls-show-rising-concern-for-global-warming/, last accessed February 16, 2021
- The Good News Network, on race; https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/tag/race/, last accessed February 16, 2021