QUick TIPS

Reflecting on a Year of COVID-19

Process last year's changes and losses, and set goals for this year

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This past year has been wildly difficult for so many people. As we enter the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still adjusting and re-adjusting while also trying to maintain a sense of routine and normalcy. Now that vaccines are more available, cases are going down, businesses are opening up, and the sun seems to be shining a little brighter, it’s important to reflect back on the year and see how far we’ve come. 

This activity will:

  • Help you reflect on the last year;
  • Give you space to mourn what changed and what you lost this last year;
  • Empower you to set goals for yourself this year.

Strategies for reflecting

  1. Set time aside to look closely at the last year of COVID-19.
  • Schedule a time when you won’t have distractions. 
  • With a piece of paper and a calendar, take time to go through each month and really reflect on what occurred during that time. Reflect on the good things as well as the challenges. Write down your reflections for each month. 
  • Pick out the highlights and low points and jot down what you learned from those experiences.
  • You can do this exercise by yourself or with loved ones as an open discussion.
  1. Spend some time with the hard stuff.
  • Everyone lost something this year—whether it was a job, a loved one, a relationship, a hobby, or just time with people. All these things need to be mourned and processed, but that can be hard when you’re still going through the loss.
  • Allow yourself to grieve these losses. Often we feel guilty doing this because we feel someone may have had it worse or that this is just something everyone is going through, but each loss is important and changes are hard for everyone. 
  • Let yourself feel the loss by thinking, reflecting, and processing. Note what has changed and what will continue to change. Remember how that loss felt and the emotions attached to it.
  • Sit with this feeling and find a way to memorialize that loss. Try lighting a candle, journaling, sharing stories with loved ones, anything to bring attention to the hard times you experienced so you can start to process and ultimately grow.
  1. Recognize your own strength and start to plan the path forward.
  • Chances are that each challenging experience has helped you develop greater strength. With each difficult experience, you’ve likely overcome a challenge.  
  • Take some time to reflect on the difficult times and note what you did to get through each obstacle. What strengths did you develop? What skills did you strengthen? How did you show up?
  • Think about the ways in which you are stronger than you were at the start of the pandemic. From here, how do you want to continue to grow?
  • Set goals for the next year so you can continue this growth, gain some momentum, and have something to look forward to as you continue to push through the stress of COVID-19. 

You’ve overcome so much this year and that is definitely something to celebrate. Take the time to appreciate yourself, your loved ones, and the hard work you’ve put in as an individual and with your loved ones. You’ll soon be able to get out and celebrate your strengths and your journey… When it’s safe of course. Soon enough!

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