Who can believe we’re approaching a year since the start of this COVID19 nightmare? If we’ve learned anything, we’ve hopefully learned how resilient humans can be. As we look toward the light at the end of the tunnel and anticipate the beginning of the end, I’d love for you to take a little walk with me through a quick exercise. 

I don’t care what you believe(d) or don’t about COVID19. I want us to all have a kumbaya moment together (ugh, typical psychologist). The research tells us that embracing gratitude and reflecting on the key takeaways of hard times actually work to improve resilience. And resilience is the important factor in being able to weather future hard times. So start humming and follow me…

Take a moment to close your eyes and flip through your mental photo book of the last year. Maybe you see photos of loss and loneliness. Maybe you see photos of peaceful games of golf on a mostly empty course. Maybe you see quality time with family. Maybe you see a pile of 45 masks of different patterns. Whatever you see, pause and pull out the best moments. 

Take a second to identify three ways in which you persevered and had true joy and pleasure in the last year. Really think about those times. Think about how you felt during them. 

Now take a second to identify at least one way that you grew as a human. Maybe you *literally* grew as a human (or grew a human, shout out new mamas!). Maybe you learned a new skill or how to be more patient with your partner. Think about the positive impact that has now and can have moving forward. 

Finally, think of one or two positive things you learned about yourself in the last year. Maybe you learned you really can eat pizza every day. Or perhaps that you are a more talented singer than you thought. 

Now that you’ve got those things in mind, I encourage you to write them down. Put it somewhere you can see it. And if you really want to stunt, put it somewhere your family can see it. Data tells us that if you refer back to this list of things next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, feeling frustrated, or facing a challenging time, you’ll feel more empowered, more capable, and better able to handle what life is throwing at you. 

Do you feel sufficiently kumbaya’d? You’re welcome. Now get back to work. 

Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.