The terrible year that was 2020 has ended and so far 2021 is shaping up to be another rollercoaster ride. But with each incoming year comes new hope and a fresh outlook, hence why people love making New Year’s resolutions. We have all done them – I am going to lose weight, have a better work/life balance, stop drinking; there are a million of them we tell ourselves. Most of us make it through the first month, maybe February, but the majority of people never follow through and these aspirations fall by the wayside by March. That’s why I found making resolutions pointless and stopped making them a long time ago. I always felt frustrated when I broke them. But going against tradition this year, I decided to make one that I know will be easy for me to keep. Stay Alive!
Pretty simplistic you would think, but with Covid numbers rising, unemployment at its highest figures, anarchy in the government and just an overall sense of dread about the future, it may be quite a challenge. The good part of this is that every day I wake up this year I’m doing it. And honestly if I don’t, well I really wouldn’t know, so there’s that. But how exactly am I going to achieve this goal? The easiest way is to take care of myself both physically and mentally. Let’s start with the given things like wearing a mask everywhere, and I mean everywhere, there are people that are not you. I now have a whole wardrobe of masks that match my outfits, my mood or coincide with my errands. Like I wear my black and gold fleur-de-lis mask during Saints games, my Wizard of Oz mask at the gay establishments, or my banana mask at the grocery store (also at the gay bar).
I am finding that the colored masks are becoming the new hanky code for the COVID age, as well as a fashion statement that hopefully will soon go away. That being said, since learning all the crazy things about viruses and their transmissions, I will definitely keep wearing them on planes or public transport long after COVID is gone. Hand sanitizer is another good one. Keep it stocked and carry it everywhere you go: the grocery store, the office, restaurants, school, etc. I have containers in my car, in my messenger bag, in my computer bag, at home, at the office. I am a hoarder and when the sanitizers were running low, literally bought cases of local liquor brand ones for both me and my mom. So basically, I smell like a drunken pirate a lot. Who knew that I would end up putting more alcohol on my body than in it last year?
Exercise helps both the body and the mind. I hated the gym before COVID, so the virus did not make things better. But outdoor activity is totally recommended, so start walking, around the block, in the park, around your office, just take a stroll to get out of your head, stretch your legs and breathe. Get some Vitamin D sunshine in your life. I started doing water aerobics which is great because you can totally social distance away from people in the pool. Exercise also helps your mental state. 2020 did a number on everyone’s mental health. Not one person can say they have been unaffected by this catastrophe. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks were the daily norm for many people. In NOLA, I find that people are always a little off anyway, but this virus has brought being eccentric to a whole new level. How do I get my mental health back on track or at least to a state where I am not waffling between hysterical laughing and ugly crying?
Remember it is okay to be not okay, stop faking it. Don’t wallow in, but also don’t hide from your feelings. Face them head on, process, deal, and then go through next steps. Easier said than done, I get it, but you need to do what you have to do to get better. Therapy, friends, medication, exercise, binge watching 15 seasons of Criminal Minds (okay, that one as therapeutic for probably me only). But my number one piece of advice for you is to take breaks from social media. Get off the Fakebook for a while, or at least limit your daily input. Between the political rants and the endless postings of people saying how fantastic their lives are in the middle of a pandemic, it is enough to make you toss your lunch. So let’s all adopt one resolution for 2021 and that is to toast 2022 when the time comes!