If 2020 taught me nothing else, it taught me that I need to take better care of myself.
Aside from the roller coaster of the pandemic, I had significant events happen in my personal life that added so much more stress. I learned many lessons that I will carry with me through the rest of my life.
The first lesson I learned is that control is an illusion.
I tried so hard to manipulate situations in my favor that when things didn’t go my way, it almost derailed me. I’ve come to realize the only thing we can control is ourselves. The rest is not up to us. We can’t control other peoples’ actions or reactions.
What’s the message in this?
Take care of yourself.
You don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. If you aren’t at your best, there is no way you can take care of your family. The self-care you need may not look like what the mother across the street needs for her own self-care needs. Make time for YOU. That time can be a relaxing bath, reading a book you enjoy, journaling, meditation, yoga, quiet time, a manicure and pedicure, and so on. For me, personally, my self-care has been going to therapy.
The second big lesson I learned in 2020 is that therapy is not a bad word.
Therapy (or counseling) is often stigmatized in the African American community. There is a belief that something must be really wrong with you if you need to go sit on a couch telling people your problems. We are taught that what happens in our home stays in our home.
Well, let me tell you, a lot of unresolved traumas happen at home. Those traumas can manifest as sleep disorders, addiction, anger issues, and so much more. I believe everyone can benefit from some form of professional therapy. It’s not just to “tell people your problems.” My therapist has been a wonderful instrument of helping me navigate through life goals and figuring out a plan to achieve those goals.
Where do you find a therapist? Many companies offer and employee assistance service (EAP). If you are covered on your spouse’s insurance, these services are usually available to all beneficiaries. Additionally, check with your insurance for providers in your network.
2021 is off to a rocky start for our nation. Unfortunately, we don’t get a reset button. All we can do is strive to be the best versions of ourselves and be good humans.