Letting go of 2021, this past year was completely stressful for me. 2021 started off normal and quickly took a turn for the worst. I lost my father, but I got an apartment and a new job. My personal relationship flourished but I struggled financially and with my mental health.
As a child, you are so excited to become an adult but no one really tells you how hard and stressful it is. I mean I go to school for my whole childhood to then work for my whole adulthood. In school, they never really teach you how to be an adult, you kind of just have to learn as you go. Not to mention society isn’t making it any easier.
You get pushed to go to college to “better yourself” and end up in so much debt only for jobs to pay you below minimum wage or ask for 20 years of experience from a 23-year-old. Not to mention you get harassed to pay back loans they just went over a year without collecting.
Then it is frowned upon to live with your parents after the age of 25 but the housing market is completely ridiculous. Charging $1800 for a one-bedroom apartment that hasn’t been updated since 1993 and has no utilities included is insane. I mean if we are supposed to struggle our whole lives just say that.
Mentally, trying to juggle having a family, paying bills on time, getting your credit up, spending that quality time with your significant other, and handling any odd situation that may appear, is a lot to handle. Then when we think about the lives that were taken from us all too soon, we are overwhelmed.
I don’t think that I properly processed the death of my father. I definitely mourned but I haven’t taken the time to truly deal with my feelings. I can say for certain that there are times when his memory sneaks up on me out of nowhere and I cry. This Christmas was especially hard because he loved Christmas like a big ol kid.
My mother, siblings and I cry once again, I know that I’m not alone and that we have become closer. We were already very family-oriented but it’s now every other weekend we find ways to spend time with each other laughing and reminiscing. I realized that because I’m so family-oriented I am happiest when I’m around my family. Yes, they drive me crazy on occasion but I know that they will also be there for me when I’m at my lowest.
In 2022, I want us to focus on our mental health. Below are my 5 recommendations.
1. Let’s make time for ourselves. As parents, full-time workers, or students, we forget to have a little me time. This could come in the form of binge-watching shows or treating yourself to a spa day. Hell, it could be a few hours of doing absolutely nothing, just find some time to breathe and acknowledge you are doing the best you can.
2. Find something to keep your body moving, I enjoy dancing and kickboxing. They are both ways to distract my mind and get rid of stress.
3. Surround yourself with positive vibes. Anybody that isn’t helping you mentally, physically, financially, or spiritually you don’t need them in your life. If they are exhibiting toxic behavior and showing no signs of changing, please ask them to log out and head on home. If their reaction to your good news is less than supportive and happy, they are a hater and will only bring negative energy to your peace.
4. When in doubt, write it down. I have this journal where I write down everything, the positive, the negative, and the confusing. Sometimes you need to write down your feelings in order to understand them.
5. Do it even if it scares you. A lot of my anxiety comes from not knowing the outcome of the next step. Being afraid to take a leap will leave you in a place you don’t belong. Take new opportunities and embrace them, you never know it could be what you were wishing for.
With all the sadness and death, we have been surrounded by these last two years we need to make sure that we become mentally strong for whatever else will be thrown our way. Some of us are looking for new jobs, new homes or cars and others are just trying to survive. If you have done anything for yourself today, even if it is just getting out of bed, I am proud of you.
Depression and anxiety are very much real and will not fix themselves overnight. Take care of yourself and remember you can’t save another if you are drowning.
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