To say that 2020 has been a tough year would be a vast understatement. But it’s hard to switch gears for a hopeful outlook into the new year, especially given its eventful first two weeks–and while we know that last year’s problems won’t disappear with 2021, this January may signify a change in attitude and the dawn of new hope for many. With an end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight and the onboarding of a new and demographically diverse presidential administration, the upcoming year is going to look very different from the last. So how can you best take care of your mental health throughout the upcoming months, and address the impact you may have felt from the experiences of 2020?
Whether you’re considering starting your mental health journey, have been in therapy for a while, or are even a fully licensed mental health provider, Lyra’s therapists and coaches offer a few suggestions for a mentally healthy 2021:
“2020 has changed you, me, and everyone we know. Some changes were profound: perhaps you’ve contended with grief, grappled with economic uncertainty, or reckoned with the traumas of systemic racism and injustice. Our relationships to ourselves and other people have also endured unprecedented challenges and we’ve adopted new ways of coping—some good, some not so much.
Many of the year’s impacts are not yet fully understood. Maybe you feel compelled to alter course, only you’re not sure how to go about it. Perhaps there’s a subtle longing for something different; a sensation that’s hard to place, but insistent nonetheless. That’s ok.
Rather than rushing to recreate the “before times,” first consider catching up to yourself. Allow 2021 to be an invitation to explore and accept who you are now. Let go of assumptions, and remember that you’re not the same person you were last year. Ask questions instead; for example, “What do I care about?” or “Why do I falter?” and “What am I avoiding?”
These are big questions, so it’s natural to feel confused or overwhelmed. But you needn’t be alone in the process. A qualified mental health provider can help you navigate the next steps of your life’s evolution.”
– Lindsay Leopold, Mental Health Coach, Lyra Coaching Program Facilitator
“Getting to know a therapist can take a few sessions. Some clients like to try out multiple therapists at once, but this can be confusing and you may also get contradictory guidance. It’s best to try one therapist at a time. So give it a few sessions to develop the rapport. If it is still not working after 2 or 3 sessions, then move on in your search. Eventually you will find someone who can better support your needs.”
– Phillip Tong, LMFT, Lyra Clinical Care Navigator
“There isn’t a need to remind you of all the events that took place in 2020. You lived it. You also helped clients in the midst of overwhelming anxiety, sadness, grief, shame, and shock while also trying to make sense of what was happening for yourself. 2020 illuminated, among other things, the importance of the real service we, as mental health professionals, provide: healing.
Yes, the start of 2021 signifies a new year but it doesn’t mean we are moving forward with a blank slate nor should we. We will still be unpacking and processing the lessons 2020 brought with it, one of which is prioritizing how mental health providers are caring for and healing ourselves.
My hope for you in 2021 is that you recognize the value of the service you provide and the gift you bring to the therapeutic experience. Holding space for your clients, bearing witness to their stories, and walking alongside them as they cultivate love and a sense of belonging in their lives is, albeit rewarding, very hard work. Thus, it is essential that we restore ourselves by discovering–and for some, rediscovering–the experiences, people, and places that keep you grounded in your craft and evoke a sense of hope.
In 2021, may you honor the work you do with and for clients by treating yourself with the care and compassion you unquestionably deserve.”
– Danielle Cottonham, PhD; Lyra Clinical Lead, Blended Care and DE&I
“2020 has been an incredibly trying and painful year, from the devastating impact of COVID-19 to scenes of racial violence to political unrest. You may feel an urge to put all this suffering behind you and move on to more positive things. Take some time to allow yourself to grieve what has been lost, individually and collectively, and give yourself credit for making it through such a challenging year. Humans have a profound capability for compassion that allows us to acknowledge painful realities while also moving toward a hopeful future. Set a New Year’s resolution to cultivate deeper compassion for yourself and others.”
– Shane O’Neill Hart, LCSW; Lyra Clinical Manager, Coaching Program
If you want help connecting with a therapist, Lyra can assist you. You can get started today if Lyra is offered by your employer. Sign up now.
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.