It’s natural and normal to feel emotions from a year ago on the anniversary of events, particularly if they’re poignant such as with a wedding or a funeral.
For all of us, we’re in the midst of the anniversary of when the world went sideways and so much of what we’ve come to know and trust, wasn’t so.
It’s been interesting to observe how I’ve been processing this anniversary of sorts. The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, I felt intense joy when I was in church recognizing that one year ago, my church had shut down indefinitely. In 2020, I felt completely confused and bewildered by it all. But in 2021, my joy continued throughout the week as I could appreciate going to the pool to swim, going to the gym, and just generally living life to the full. All these things are so simple and yet once you’ve had them taken away, you realize their beauty and worth.
Now that the intense high of realizing that life is way better now than it was a year ago has simmered down, I’ve found myself assessing the current status with some positive and some negative emotions. Life is pretty much back to normal. But a few remnants of the last season remain like withered brown leaves clinging to the trees before the new growth forces them off.
I share all of this with you because I want you to give yourself grace in this season. Even as you’re excited and moving forward. (It’s such a delight to me to see the school buses milling about my community!) You’re going to have unexpected, and sometimes strong emotions that come up. I wanted to give you a few steps to guide you in that journey so you don’t end up emotionally stuck and numbing out on Facebook or Netflix.
Process Your Feelings
Some of you may realize that you’re experiencing grief over last spring and perhaps even PTSD, but for others the signs might be a bit more subtle. Instead of consciously realizing you’re processing what happened to you a year ago, you might just notice that you’re angry, irritable, anxious, depressed, unmotivated, or kind of spacey for no apparent reason.
If any of the above apply to you, give yourself some quiet time to start to explore what’s going on inside of you. You might sit down and journal that out or ponder life while you’re on a walk. If you don’t feel you have the time for that, drive, wash dishes, or get ready for the day in silence and use that time to sort through your own internal reality instead of to consume external information.
It’s so important to recognize and name what you’re feeling below the surface.
These last 12 months were pretty terrible in a lot of ways. But for most of us, we still had far more than many people in the world have even under normal circumstances. And at present, many of us have what was lost restored. Give thanks for what you have–a home, electricity, water, food, Internet, friends, church, the gym, or whatever else brings you sustenance and delight. Yes, there may still be some things that aren’t quite what you would prefer. But if you think about it, there are probably already far more things going right in your life than there are going wrong.
Baseline and Improve
Maybe in some areas you got off track in the last year. Maybe you stopped working on your side hustle, gained the covid 15, lost your exercise mojo, or completely got off track with your sleep schedule. Knowing you lost so much ground from where you were can be discouraging (I know I felt that way last fall when our pools were open for the first time in six months!) But that shouldn’t stop you from getting started again.
Baseline from where you are now and then improve from there. In some of my swim sprint times I had gained 8 seconds (yikes!) But I’m happy to report after six months of training, I’m back down or better than I was a year ago. The key is to just start where you are at and make progress from there.
Keep Moving Forward
Two of the biggest lies that hold people back from being who they are called to be and doing what they are called to do are these:
- You can’t handle it.
- Your situation will never get better.
Both of these statements are lies from the pit. The truth is that you can handle what you’re facing. And you are going to get to the other side of whatever situation you are in. Never give up. Never give in.
I love this quote from Greg McKeown’s new book Effortless:
“Whatever has happened to you in life. Whatever hardship. Whatever pain. They pale in comparison to the power you have to choose what to do now.”
Amen to that. Feel all the feels you need to feel in this season. But don’t let them stop you or define you. The best is yet to come!
About Real Life E
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She was named one of the World’s Top 30 Time Management Professionals by Global Gurus. The Christian division of her company focuses on a God-centered approach to time management through Divine Time Management.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. FaithWords published her third book Divine Time Management: The Joy of Trusting in God’s Loving Plans for You. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.