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Adulting: Journaling in 2021...

I admit, I encourage my friends (bless them for putting up with me) to write or type out their frustrations. I think it’s helpful to think of words that match our feelings. Transcribing our thoughts into text pulls them out of our heads and puts them in front of us; for me, a text is a bit more tangible and a lot less overwhelming.

So for 2021, I’m taking my own advice.

I recently read an article by Nicole Pajer that challenges readers to reframe our thinking: “Here are some tips on how to reframe your thinking so that you’re ready for whatever 2021 looks like.” Um, yes please. My mind could use some major reframing, so I pondered and typed out a response to five of their tips, and I want to share it with you.

Maybe it will encourage you to journal (can’t blame me for trying, right?) or at least give you some ideas to ponder.

Realize that 2021 will likely have some of its own challenges.

Oh boy. I need a more realistic mindset for 2021. I had expectations that the year just can’t fulfill, and they weren’t even anything major! I knew COVID would still be present, so I would be facing a lot of restrictions. But, I still had hope for more “normal” life to appear. And when a new strain of the virus made itself known, I found myself losing that hope and sinking into despair. It was not fun.

So, my challenge has been to find hope again. To look at what I have available to me and create activities and opportunities to look forward to, even if they are on a smaller scale than I first imagined.

Focus on what you can control.

This tip almost feels cliché to me because I hear it so often, but the advice is too important to ignore. So, my response ties into the previous reframing tip: I can control where I place my hope.

For example, my hope can be in deepening my relationships. And this can be done, even when I can’t physically meet someone for coffee. Even just being on a video call with someone allows me to listen to and learn another’s story. Bonds can still be made. Comfort can still be given and received.

Living overseas has required me to work at and maintain strong long-distance relationships. I need to dive into the techniques I use, so I can stay close to those I’m isolated from due to the virus. (Even if they are living in the same city!)

Celebrate the victories.

I love to do this anyway! In 2021, I’m having fun celebrating the smaller wins. Like being able to go to Starbucks again or walking into a restaurant to grab my take-out. These activities are so minor that before COVID, I wouldn’t have given them much thought. Now I savor them. Just the fact that they are rare, make them feel like treasures and therefore worth a tiny party--even if it’s just a mental dance in my head.

Take it one day at a time.

Honestly, this one I have to work on. I don’t like taking it a day at a time. I’m constantly looking toward the future to when COVID is a little more restrained, and I can do things like travel, be in large groups again, or visit a clothing store with less fear.

So, I’m working to find something daily that I can anticipate. It might be a new flavor of tea or recipe to try. It might be the new episode of a show (yes, I totally fell for baby Yoda’s cuteness) or downloading a new book on Kindle. I’ve even started anticipating the nightly walks that my husband and I take several times a week.

I’m intentionally looking for those silver linings, people. And while some may only glisten a little, they are at least there.

Remind yourself that you’re better at handling uncertainty than you think.

This is actually my favorite reframing tip. Because after just reading it, I feel a sense of accomplishment. (There's some of that hope peeking out again!)

Yes, we’ve been through a lot, but we’ve made it so far. We haven’t been perfect, but we are putting one foot in front of the other, and we are helping our neighbors do the same. Unfortunately, it can take something harsh to draw people together. But fortunately, the drawing together does happen.

We’ve witnessed such compassionate acts from people around the world; I find my eyes filling with tears.


And those are the five reframing tips I decided to personally explore. It wasn’t easy, especially knowing I’d share my journaling on my blog. But I wanted to be honest and at the same time offer you hope. Because despite the hardships, there is still hope.

Now it’s your turn! At the end of this post, I've listed the 10 reframing tips offered. Consider giving the article a read too, so you can see how the original writer reacted to each tip.

Well my friend, here’s to healthier living and a reframed mindset! (I’m raising my tea glass.) Cheers!

  1. Realize that 2021 will likely have some of its own challenges.

  2. View 2021 as a “mental” reset.

  3. Focus on what you can control.

  4. Celebrate the victories.

  5. Take it one day at a time.

  6. Explore a new hobby (for real this time).

  7. Do your very best to be patient.

  8. Remind yourself that you’re better at handling uncertainty than you think.

  9. Start preparing now.

  10. Talk to a therapist.


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