Welcome to 2021! For most of us, 2020 was—to say the least—brutal. We were faced with some daunting challenges: stay home, socially distance, wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, and wash your hands often, just to name a few. As we enter 2021, we are still faced with these challenges.
To get through these uncertain times (and we will get through them), we must resolve to embrace these challenges, take care of ourselves, and keep moving forward – to the best of our ability. Personally, I resolve to stay positive, stay physically active, and stay connected. To do that, specific actions and activities I will take each and every day — no matter where I am, what I am doing, or what is happening in and around me —are:
- Stay positive. During these challenging times, a positive attitude (your state of mind, the way you look at things, the disposition you transmit to others) is your most valuable resource. Sometimes, however, thinking positively, in and of itself, can be a challenge. So, actions one can take to maintain a positive mindset are: smile in celebration of all the good in your life, focus on what you have —not what you don’t have, limit negative people, media and entertainment, and make thankfulness a daily habit. Think of each day as a gift.
- Stay physically active. Our bodies were designed to move; to get some kind of physical activity. You only need 20 or 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for your body and mind to feel a difference. Even during a pandemic, there are endless options for getting the physical activity your body craves. However, one of the simplest and easiest ways to put some physical activity into your day is to…move naturally. To move naturally is to incorporate activity into your day that does not take a lot of time, thought or effort. Examples of natural movements include: standing while talking on the phone, marching in place (sitting or standing) while watching your favorite television show or movie, dancing to your favorite music (anytime, anywhere), or simply swinging or pumping your arms. Find your natural movement(s) of choice and do it or them consistently and passionately. View every occasion as an opportunity to move —whether you’re standing, sitting, watching television, cooking or cleaning. Make natural movements a daily habit.
- Stay connected. It is undisputable that when times are tough, social connections help us weather the storm. Social connectedness refers to the size and quality of your social network: contacts, interactions, and relationships. Being socially connected to others is an important human need and is vital to our well-being. Therefore, to stay connected, make a conscious effort reach out; to get involved in some meaningful way—large or small. Have at least one person you connect with every single day — by phone or social media. For me, a text message or an email is acceptable; others may want to hear a voice. This is especially important during these times. It communicates that you are alive and well. And, it lets the other person know they matter.
How you embrace and navigate through 2021 is a matter of choice. My choice, however, is to stay: positive, physically active, and connected!