Published on January 27, 2021

Woman meditating on couch with children running around her.

Resilience can help you look at the new year with confidence

None of us knows what the new year has in store, but there are reasons for hope. Most likely, you and your family are better prepared for 2021 than you were for the last year. Because of the challenges of 2020, you have gained skills and perspective, learned how to solve problems creatively, and experienced times of strength.

"People have been through a lot in the past year," said Michael Raster, MD, a psychiatrist with ProHealth Medical Group. "Patients tell me that relationships matter to them more than ever before. They want to focus on meaningful ways to spend their time and address important issues in their lives."

Resilience and optimism can improve quality of life, flexibility and the ability to solve problems, Dr. Raster said. Even when times are difficult, it is possible to envision a brighter future.

You have probably practiced resilience over the past year without even realizing it. You may have learned new skills in the areas of parenting, technology, time management, self-care and personal finance – skills you can use going forward. These experiences can help you change the way you approach daily life and tackle your plans and goals even beyond the pandemic.

Anyone can have trouble coping with challenging times. Seek help if you experience thoughts of sadness and hopelessness that won’t go away; feelings of irritability, fatigue and restlessness that change sleep patterns or appetite; or thoughts of suicide.

Schedule a visit with a primary care or behavioral health provider if you have overwhelming emotions, ideas or questions about your mental or physical health. They can help you look to the future in a new way. Many providers have virtual appointments available.

If you see a provider, be open and honest. Ask for recommendations about managing your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

"Whether you see a health care professional or practice self-care, give yourself credit for what you have been through," Dr. Raster said. "Use it to heal and grow."