Mining Gems from the 2020 Dumpster Fire

New Year

2020. What a year. It’s very tempting to write it off as an epic dumpster fire. Our society hit some pretty major lows, but along with those low moments, there were victories as well. What did we learn? One of the biggest things, in my opinion, is how resilient we are.

We Also Learned:

  1. There are multiple ways we can educate our children.
  2. That masks can be a fashion statement.
  3. That front line workers, including healthcare professionals and teachers, are the real heroes.
  4. We care about each other.
  5. That we can stay at home.
  6. We need healthy coping mechanisms.
  7. How to surrender to something bigger than ourselves.
  8. To go outside and enjoy the sunshine more.
  9. Everything can change overnight.
  10. Acceptance.

The last point on the list was one of my biggest lessons this year. I’m a little bit of a control freak and the only things I could control in this situation were my behaviors and how I chose to think about the situation. And in truth, that’s really all we can do in ANY situation. Accepting that we don’t have control, and finding ways to be ok with that, can be tremendously liberating. As can looking for creative ways to approach the things we CAN control.

One of the more surprising things that I discovered this year was how deeply we care about each other. When the pandemic hit, it was heart-warming to watch us come together as a community and reach out as we could to help. But on the flip side, it was heartbreaking to see so many aspects of the pandemic become politicized. Not always our finest moments.

We also learned to SLOW down. Mainly because we were forced to. Maybe we finally started having dinner together as a family or picked up a new hobby. We found out that taking the time to appreciate the small things in life wasn’t so bad after all.

Another lesson was how truly depressing, and anxiety-provoking isolation can be. Although we were “safer at home” from a virus spreading standpoint, it didn’t always mean our mental health was at a healthy level. And the fallout from this will linger well into 2021 and perhaps beyond (especially for our teens). Connecting meaningfully with others was how I was able to fight feelings of isolation and loneliness. Friday night cocktails on Zoom anyone?

There are some of you for whom the list of lessons learned in 2020 will contain feelings of grief, anger, and disappointment. What can you do NOW to begin shifting your mindset so you can move into a more positive 2021? While it may be tempting to stuff those feelings and wave them away, don’t. They will invariably appear as some physical manifestation in your body, or you’ll turn to some numbing, unhealthy behavior to try to not feel anything. Resist this…and get help if you need to. 

While it’s tempting to write off 2020 as the dumpster fire that it was for many, I’m going to suggest that you at least take a few minutes to reflect. #2020 #dumpsterfire #pandemic #stayathome #resilience #mindset #DrAnnaGarrett… Click To Tweet

Here Are Some Other Ways to Slide Into a Better 2021:

  1. One of the easiest ways to shift your mindset is to practice gratitude. Create a list of things you are grateful for from 2020. What was your most surreal moment? Mine was nearly being run over by a silverback gorilla in Africa! Scary? Not sure, because I wasn’t looking at him. But I’m pretty sure THAT will never happen again! Think back and challenge yourself to find more amazing moments that you were grateful for from 2020.
  2. Another way to shift your 2020 mindset? Set goals! Thinking of things you want to accomplish or improve automatically moves negative feelings in a positive direction. While 2020 was a difficult year for many businesses, virtual businesses caught on fire! I had my best year ever. My goal for 2021 is to continue that momentum. And to continue to look for ways to serve my clients in better ways. What are your goals? Give yourself something to look forward to.
  3. Get out of your head. Doing something nice for someone else automatically shifts your brain from being self-focused to a more outwardly focused frame of mind.
  4. Find something, anything, that brings you pleasure. Pleasure is the antidote to a miserable mindset. It increases levels of oxytocin, the “love drug,” in our bodies. Spending time with our loved ones, phoning a friend, or taking a long bath is a sure way to change things in a more positive direction. Again, start small, even just finding something pleasurable for five minutes can shift the whole focus of your day.

So, Now That I Have Shared My “2020” Observations, How About You?

The following contains a list of questions you can ask yourself that hopefully will prompt some valuable insight.

  1. What were some of your “highs” and “lows” this past year? 
  2. Did any of your “lows” turn into “highs” (or contribute to your “highs”)?
  3. What was your most surreal moment this year?
  4. What was the biggest surprise?
  5. What personal or professional victories can you celebrate from the year?

If you’d like to share, please head over to the comments on the blog. We’ve made it to the end, Savvy Sisters. Thank you for being part of my community. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Here’s to a fabulous 2021!


Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.

Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultations. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-talk. 

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