2020: The year of trauma

A lot of people have written and spoken of all of the events of 2020, from the pandemic and stay at home orders to the rioting and destruction of parts of cities. And the stories of pedophilia in high places continues to creep into the news. Lets not forget the war on police, history, small business and statues along with the chaos that is American politics.. Any one of these events alone can affect our emotions, and our sense of security, but combine them together and it is very safe to say we have all experienced trauma.

I’m not a doctor, or a therapist. I am just another human being trying to get through this life making a positive impact and influence on others. That said, i have dug deep to find answers for myself on how to keep my eyes above the storm, and my spirits encouraged. If we are honest it is all too easy to be pulled down into the cespool that is around us and tossed at us daily. This is my short list of suggestions that are making a difference in my outlook. i hope you will find this helpful:

  • Acknowledge that our world is a difficult and rapidly changing place – you don’t have to come to peace with the chaos, but by acknowledging that everything is changing will help to realize we are all in this and affected in some way.
  • Turn off the media – whether tv, radio, or social media. Give yourself time away from the constant bombardment of bad news, discouragement, and propagation of fear. Yes, its addictive, and just like a train wreck – hard to turn away because things are coming fast and furious. But give yourself time away. I try to put my cell phone on the charger for most of the weekend purposefully.
  • Choose to not isolate yourself. Call, or visit friends. Now more than ever when most of us are still working from home, isolated in our homes it is so important to keep in touch with family and friends. or if your friend is not a phone talker, visit them, take them flowers, or a quart of ice cream… just keep in touch.
  • Find someone to talk out your trauma with. We need to know that the events of this year have impacted us all, and together we can get through it, But find a trustworthy friend that will listen, and support you. or be that friend that doesn’t laugh, or criticize, just listen and allow the space for talk.
  • Indulge in something you love that is restorative. This year has been the year to return to my garden. Surrounded by nature i found joy in picking weeds, and futzing with theplants, soaking in the sun, listening to the birds. And the garden has rewarded me for my care with beautiful flowers and delicious produce. Gardening may not be your thing – but something out there is a place you find peace.
  • Get into a routine – do something predictable every day. the framework of a routine – getting up at the same time, or going for a walk with the dog every day, or some regular task ensures continuity. Routine is very comforting to all of us, even those who like things spontaneous
  • Take care of yourself – Make a purposeful effort to get good sleep, and to drink plenty of water, and eat healthy things. i have found that hen i eat healthy i feel better and my outlook is always improved.
  • Resign the fight – Agree to disagree with others. Now more than ever we are so polarized, and that divide is not always bridgeable. Love the person, even if their opinion or political view is diametrically opposed to yours. Its more about the people than the message they embrace, right?

We can not control much of the events and news of 2020, but we can control how much it impacts us by minimizing our exposure to it. We can always choose what we focus on, and how we give our attention, and energy away. Choose people and things that bring you joy. Choose to enjoy life, rather than focusing everything that is dark, gloomy, and seemingly contentious. Everything is a balance… and i certainly hope you find yours. Mine is a work in progress. We can heal the trauma we have experienced, but we need to return to a society that cares for each other, and values the person more than the opinion.