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An image of Judith - Valleys Steps Wellbeing Practitioner

The Worst Year of My Life? Pt. 2

On the 23rd December last year, I published a blog on our website called, ?The Worst Year of My Life?? In many ways, 2019 was a challenging year for me, and you can see in that blog that I regularly caught myself saying, ?this is the worst year of my life?. You can also see in that blog how unhelpful that statement was for me. In my naivety, I ended that blog saying, ?So now I enter 2020 one year older, and definitely another year wiser, ready to face whatever the next year throws at me!? I laugh now because little did I, or any of us, know what this year actually had in store for us.

So I?d like to know, have you been thinking, ?this is the worst year of my life? in 2020? Has that helped you? Now I?m not downplaying what we?ve all been through this year, it has been an extremely challenging time and we?ve all faced huge difficulties. But, as I said last year, thinking of this as the worst year of our lives may not be that helpful.

Thinking in that way often encourages more negative thinking. We start thinking, ?great, what else can go wrong?? and we end up so focused on the next thing that could go wrong, we actually miss a lot of what is happening right now, and we become biased towards all the negatives. Yes, this has been a challenging year, but have there been positive things that have happened? Do you have any memories of this year that make you smile? Perhaps some quality time with your family, or funny Zoom ?pub? quizzes with friends?

In that other blog I talked about how I often caught myself saying, ?You know what, 2020 will be better because of this trip and that holiday and this event.? Now that was unhelpful at the time because I was relying on external, future events to change how I felt. But as it turns out, every single trip and event I was looking forward to was cancelled this year. All of it. That means that all the time I spent last year living in the future was wasted in some ways, because those things never happened, and my disappointment was greater because I?d placed so much of my happiness on those things happening. Again, this is not to say we can?t ever look forward to things, but I think we?ve all learned this year just how quickly those things can be taken from us. As I said last year, ?if we?re always living in the future, waiting for that next holiday or whatever to make us happy, will we ever be content in this moment??

Now you might be wondering, how could I possibly be content in this moment with all this going on? So I?d like to ask you a question in response to this, how can you make the most of this situation? Some people are enjoying not commuting to work and focusing more on spending time with their family, some people are enjoying learning new skills, having more time for hobbies, making the most of everything they are able to do rather than focusing on what they can?t. One of my favourite things to do is eat out in restaurants, I?m a real foodie, and I missed that in the first lockdown. I remember going for my first meal out in the summer when restaurants were allowed to open outdoors. I remember savouring every single moment and every single bite. The situation wasn?t ideal, it was drizzling, I was cold, being inside would have been more comfortable, but I was so happy to eat that meal and enjoy that moment. I made the most of what I could do instead of focusing on what I couldn?t.

I think a lot of us have had one eye on 2021 throughout this year thinking things would be ?normal? by then. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of uncertainty and we?re going into 2021 with Covid-19 remaining for now. So how do we move into 2021 with that uncertainty there, and avoid declaring that the ?worst year of our lives???

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  1. Make the most of what you can do over the festive period, rather than focusing on what you can?t. For many of us, this will be a different festive period than we are used to, but again, be present during that time and try to focus on making the most of what you can do, savour every enjoyable moment.
  2. Try and focus on the positives. Reflect on the past 12 months, what good things have happened? What positive memories do you have??
  3. Take everything one day at a time. Try not to spend long periods of time brooding over what you can?t do or worrying about when things will be ?normal? again, accept the fact that for now, this is the way things are. Focus on taking things one day at a time, being present in the moment as much as you can.
  4. Talk to the people around you if you?re struggling. I like the saying I?ve seen on socials a few times this year: ?we aren?t all in the same boat, but we?re all in the same storm.? Reach out if you need to talk things through

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As much as possible, I hope you have a fantastic festive period, and I look forward to catching up with you in the New Year.


By Bethan Jones

Course Wellbeing Practitioner