A Mental Health Guide To Surviving 2021 & All That It Brings With It!

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And in a flash, Christmas is behind us and the New Year has begun. A very different start of year to January 2020….

Unsurprisingly, so much of what we read and hear around us, on TV, social media and in any human communications we do have, focuses on the world-wide pandemic. While we need to be cognisant of any salient facts around this topic, we also need to be moving forward in a positive direction. So…how do we get this right?

A fine balance exists between being sensible about one’s health and safety in a world dominated by an overload of information about Coronavirus while yet continuing to enjoy quality of life. An individual’s situation and circumstances are unique, with decisions to be made based on their own belief system. A few examples of such decisions are ‘Should I send my children to school’; ‘What is my stance on vaccinating against the virus’; ‘Is hibernating from society an option’. And are some of your decisions further alienating you from family and friends?

If you follow the television, everywhere you look dire warnings fill the screen. News programmes tend to loop, World News broadcasts increasingly bizarre occurrences and human calamities around the clock. Is it any wonder anxiety disorders are on the increase and the term ‘depression’ is a household word; fear spirals and positivity is hard to find. On a personal level, some have lost family and friends during this time and are struggling with grief and a deep sense of loss. In looking for concrete ways to deal with this altered state of living we find ourselves in, I offer the following thoughts which each front up as a strategy to remind us how to keep ourselves grounded and balanced while successfully negotiating these foreign waters….

  • You can swim in the river but don’t drink the water While all the negativity circles around you, know that you don’t always have to react. Nor do you always have to respond. Understand it’s a choice. Its certainly worth watching and waiting and processing before making that choice. You don’t have to internalise it either – Oftentimes, to write down the way you feel is all you need – followed by the opportunity to discard it!
  • Embrace your base
    Show up for yourself each day. Feed your soul – read, rest, relax EVERY day for a short while. Create and define your world for yourself. Don’t allow the news to loop if it depresses you. Remember the healing power of silence. Become someone you really like in your own space! You have to journey with your self your life long – so much nicer to travel with someone you like!
  • Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space This is the best news ever! As we know, fear confuses us and is physically draining. So long as you have hope and spend time considering the positive, fear cannot take over. Do some active thinking about how you want things to turn out. Journal it; imagine it happening; believe in miracles. Whatever you give attention to, becomes part of your life – work that to your advantage!
  • Don’t wait until there are crocodiles before you drain the swamp Face things head on, otherwise problems tend to snowball. Don’t leave for tomorrow what can be sorted out today. Procrastinating when there is an issue to sort or chat about causes subconscious anxiety. Worrying steals your joy! While you are not sorting out a problem, you are definitely worrying about it thus cannot even enjoy the moment. Make a list, break it down into steps and commit to doing what needs to be done.
  • There is a time for Divine Truth and there is time for Divine Silence Weigh up whether it’s worth it, then speak your truth and make your voice heard. It’s cathartic and builds up your faith in yourself – what else were you put on this earth for, but to make a difference. Above all, always, always be kind. Live and let live too, when the situation demands it– let others have their own opinion because it’s not your job to convince anyone of your perspective. Remember, silence speaks volumes and silence is golden.

You will find that these 5 simple strategies can be easily assimilated into your life, going forward. The good news is that the way you wake up and face each day lies in your own hands. Never underestimate the Power of One: one smile, one act of kindness, one positive thought.

A Mental Health Guide to Surviving 2021 is written by Mrs Renee Wulfsohn, [B.A (Hons Psychology) H.D.E; M.Ed (Ed Psych)] who offers Counselling; Academic Support; Career Counselling; Life Coaching; Remedial Support amongst other areas of expertise. She has spent many years based at Maritzburg College, counselling boys and staff alike but has recently moved to Pennington where she works from her home office as well as consulting at various schools locally along the South Coast.

Craig Becket