Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

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The beginning of a new year is always looked at as a fresh slate and time of goal setting—even during the COVID-19 crisis. But as we start anew in 2021, should we change how we approach our resolutions? I strongly vote YES on this one.

My wellness goals going into 2021 basically include continuing the healthy habits I picked up during the early days of the pandemic—daily walks and reflection, moving my body in some way, staying hydrated, taking my vitamins, adding collagen peptides to my coffee each morning, etc.

But ultimately, here's the thing: Be proud of yourself for simply making it through the year.

I mean, come on. We're living through a traumatic global pandemic. This sucks—hard.

I know those things mentioned above could be looked at like an active choice to better myself, and they were, but they were also habits I either developed or placed heightened importance on as a coping/survival mechanism during the pandemic. I knew if I didn't center the wellness practices that specifically mattered to me, that my mental, emotional and physical health would undoubtedly suffer.

At times, I let some of these habits sit on the backburner, and I truly felt how their absence clearly influenced how I approached my day. Like any rut, it's not always easy to get out of. Yet through it all, I always strive to forgive myself when I "fail." And hell, I'd be happy to lose a few pounds and really get on track—like many people do in the new year—to a healthier version of myself. Will I do it? Who knows.

All I do know is that I'm not going to be mad at myself if I don't "succeed." I will, however, be mad at myself if I let my gmail inbox climb back above 100,000 emails (hey, we've all got our flaws).

At the beginning of the pandemic, I thought I might get back into painting like I did in college. Did it happen? No. But that's alright! Did I finally crack open the one book I've been meaning to read for ages at this point? No. That's fine! Do I still have a roof over my head, food on my table, and loving friends and family who are healthy? Yes. And I realize how absolutely incredibly lucky that makes me. Countless others are not so fortunate and have been devastated by unimaginable heartbreak and loss.

It's been inspiring to see the many leaps of faith people have taken this year; new businesses, career changes, home purchases, etc. But if you didn't accomplish anything of this magnitude, I'm here to tell you: It's beyond OK. What you have accomplished is tenacity and resiliency in the face of unknowns that were so unthinkable this time last year. For that, you should be proud of yourself. I know I am!

If you make any resolutions this year, consider making ones that prioritize gracious self-care and help those around you in some way, whether it's giving monetarily, volunteering your time on a regular basis to a cause close to your heart, lending your special skills and talents, or otherwise. Regardless of which direction you choose, be sure to practice grace for yourself and gratitude for others along the way.

The good news is there's a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the incredible scientists and frontline workers who have been working tirelessly for months on end. Hang in there, and don't be so hard on yourself. Brighter days are coming.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.


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