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If we all have to be honest here, no one expected 2020 to go this downhill. Who would have ever thought that our bars would go unseated, and our servers left unpocketing their pants for pennies? It’s quite safe to say that COVID-19 has truly performed a number on us all. It’s like we’re in some apocalyptic film on the search for a cure. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the survivors won’t prevail in the sequel. 

Without further ado, here are four useful ways to cope with the woes of a pandemic upon the arrival of a new year!

Try to avoid New Year’s resolutions

Now I know that this first piece of advice can’t prevent you from getting that gym membership that you’ve desperately wanted, but maybe it can stop you from being too hard on yourself. Every new year, we open our journals to list the hopeful goals we wish to accomplish within the following 365 days. If you’re adamant like some people, then you’ll fulfill those duties. However, if you’re like me, then you’re only able to make it to day number, “I can no longer do this crap.” Regardless of your ability or inability to check-box a to-do list, I am respectfully advising you all to stop.

This past year we were deprived of numerous anticipated events. These things consisted of house parties, family gatherings, concerts and sadly, hugging frenzies. Honestly, staying six-feet apart caused all of our plans to fall apart. Needless to say, we were all looking forward to at least one exciting thing in 2020, but fate showed the world otherwise. Which brings me back to the point of not having a New Year’s resolution. We shouldn’t pain ourselves with the high standard of achieving our personal goals because you never know what might deter them. COVID-19 is a prime example of a plan-changer; one which unpleasantly subjected us all to disappointment. 

So the next time you’re thinking about making a New Year’s resolution, here’s a tip: DON’T! As 2021 approaches, it’s in our best interests to let the days flow involuntarily without carrying the burden of the, “What if’s.” Instead ask yourself, “What’s next?”

Cater to your mental health

Although this may counter my previous tip, you can never go wrong with scheduling a mental health day for yourself; after all, it’s very much needed. 2020 drained the living daylights out of everyone, and it’s about time we seek that light once more.

When it comes to reassessing your mental health, it’s OK to sometimes detach yourself from things that harm your conscience. This can be as simple as limiting your intake of social media, or even the news. A slew of constant awful news can put us in a dark place. While it is important to adhere to the statistics of the pandemic and stay up-to-date on current events, it’s OK to pull away from time to time and focus on our mental health.

If you can’t bear to divert your gaze from the media, then you can always seek other helpful methods such as listening to relaxing music, podcasts, or even ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response).

Be patient with those around you

Growing up, my mother always told me to treat others just as I would like to be treated. To this very day, that lesson is engraved in my mind. You never know what someone else might be going through, so it’s especially important to show empathy and patience towards others.

Quite frequently, we encounter people that automatically set us off at the speed of light. It can be something as basic as a McDonald’s employee getting your order wrong at a drive-thru, or getting cut off at an intersection. In either situation, your first instinct may involve feeling enraged and annoyed. But little did you know that the employee who messed up your order managed to strike the job during an economic recession, just as they were on the brink of hopelessness; and that the person who crossed you up on the road was simply rushing their ill child to the emergency room. 

Life appears much simpler when you’re on the outside looking in and let’s face it; we all have our frustrating moments. However, that still doesn’t give us the right to lash out at those who are having just as much of a hard time as the next person. While strangers tend to be an easier target to dart our anger at, it’s important that we direct our grievances elsewhere. 

Bring back the smiles in 2021

As abstract as this sounds, I’m sure that everyone would agree that this pandemic not only tore us away from our loved ones but our inner joys as well. We have suddenly forgotten how to laugh during our darkest times, and now our darkest times are laughing back at us. This pandemic stole the world’s happiness in plain sight, leaving it utterly saddened with an everlasting gloom. Despite the many adversities, we have endured these past few months, we can still find another way to uplift our spirits in time for the impending year.

While New Year’s Eve gatherings are typically a huge event to look forward to, watching the fireworks warmly next to a heap of friends this year isn’t exactly pandemic-friendly. While New Year’s Eve kisses are completely out of the question, it doesn’t mean that you can’t blow one through a screen.

That’s right, you guessed it! We’ve all heard of the famous phrase, “elf on a shelf” but have you ever heard of “party time on Facetime?” Well, I have, and I’m here to tell you that the idea of a virtual New Year’s party doesn’t sound too shabby. All that you have to do is simply go to your local dollar store, pick up a few snacks, holiday decorations for your background, and lastly invite your friends on a Zoom call! The best part about virtual gatherings is that you can have over twenty people in the same room without disobeying the COVID-19 capacity guidelines. 

Hopefully, these minor tips encouraged you all to rethink your plans for the foreseeing year. If there is one overall message that you’d wish to keep in your dear hearts: it’s to never underestimate the power of the future.

Graphic by Autumn Rendall and Yidan Ren

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