No matter how you slice it, 2020 year has been a really hard year for all of us. For parents, it may have looked like trying to juggle working from home and handling kids’ remote schooling at the same time. For teachers, it probably looked like figuring out how to teach kids over a computer screen (spoiler alert: it’s not designed to work that way!). Many of us may have lost loved ones and haven’t been able to properly celebrate their lives, or are mourning the loss of time spent with family and friends—especially around the holidays. Some of us may have lost income or seen our businesses suffer or close completely. We’ve missed out on travel, vacations, and special milestones. Frankly, it’s okay to feel bummed out. As the year comes to a close, our struggles of the year are at the forefront of our minds.
However, we’d like to offer a gentle reminder of the ways you can end this year on a high note and enter the holiday season with warmth in your heart. Despite the bewildering trials of the year, you’re here. You have lived through challenges and will, no doubt, come out stronger. There is still so much to be grateful for! By the time next year rolls around, things will look different, and we’d like to provide our readers the opportunity to focus on the silver linings of this year and personal growth steps for next year. We can do this by writing an open letter to ourselves to read over the holidays in 2021.
A letter to yourself may sound trite, but it’s actually a great way to see how far you’ve come, especially during tough circumstances! We encourage you to take a moment to sit down (maybe in the glow of your Christmas tree, in front of your fireplace, or somewhere cozy with a candle burning) and think back on your year. How has your mental state been? What has been toughest emotionally? What family obstacles have you had to overcome? Most importantly, what are your hopes for 2021? What do you want to remember a year from now?
Without any further ado, here are some ideas you can write about in your open letter to yourself:
- In all of the upheaval of 2020, what small things have brought you joy? When the world felt upside down, what gave you respite?
- As you stayed home with your family, what new things did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your family? How have your priorities changed?
- How has your communication with others changed or improved? How can you continue that trend?
- What are some new traditions, rituals, or practices you developed in 2020 that you’d like to incorporate into 2021?
- What things gave you hope this year? Right now, what are you the most hopeful for going forward?
- This year, we had to come up with our own creative ways to have fun. What are some simple, intimate ways you want to continue to have fun with your loved ones in the new year?
- What are three things you were grateful for in 2020? What are three hopes you have for 2021?
This holiday season, we invite you to take some time to focus inward and self-reflect. Writing to yourself in the future will allow you to remember the way you felt in this very moment after a very trying year—the strength, the perseverance, the hope for the future, and the gratitude for the simple things.
Remember, although it may not be where we expected, there is joy to be found for you in this season and in all circumstances.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us at LifeSmart.
Dennis Trittin is the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead and Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Through his books, blog, and nationwide speaking engagements, Dennis prepares students for life success and equips parents and educators in their vital training role. You can find him here on Facebook.