Psychotherapist, certified life coach, and public speaker Tess Brigham, MFT, BCC, helped me put it into perspective. "We have to be realistic with ourselves about the challenges that lay ahead, but at the same time, it is a new year and a chance to change in some way," she says. "Suffering is subjective, and so much of how 2021 will be for you is based on how you choose to see this year ahead. The best way to reconcile and address these mixed emotions is to focus on what is within your control and what is outside of your control. If you want a fresh start in 2021, focus on the things that are within your control and start making those changes." Brigham says you can feel hopeless and believe that change isn't possible when you focus on things that you can't control.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with the beginning of the year and so exhausted from the previous year, Jordan Madison, LCMFT, creator of Therapy Is My JAM says the best thing to do is hone in on hope. "Of course, everything did not change once the clock struck midnight on January 1," she says. "Hope doesn't mean that you believe the problems go away, but it does allow you to believe things can get better. Use the fresh start to focus on how we can take the lessons learned in 2020 and apply them to 2021 so that this year is not a repeat of the last. Even if hard times lie ahead, we've already gotten through 2020, which was a rough year for most of us. Let that remind you of your resilience."