Needless to say, the arrival of 2021 is long overdue! As we exit the difficult year of 2020, we carry the anxiety, depression, stress, and tension it handed to us. For us women especially, societal pressures seem to be heightening even more in this time than usual. Along with the pandemic, online school, and other stressors, these additional social pressures can take an additional toll on us. There are three lessons that I want to carry on from 2020. With that, here are 3 New Year’s resolutions for girls in 2021!
1) Recognize that weight gain does not take away from your beauty.
I am currently a college student in the middle of a global pandemic. I think that says enough about the amount of stress that I personally undergo. Additionally, the anxiety that lives in my head rent-free doesn’t seem to want to take a break either. It wasn’t until that my boyfriend showed me how mean I am to myself that I started recognizing it. I would weigh myself every morning and berate myself about how I gained at least 15 pounds since the start of COVID-19. Not only did I start intentionally not eating enough, but I also started having harmful thoughts towards myself. I constantly told myself that starving myself was my punishment for not managing my weight better.
One day, while I was in the middle of taking a study break, I saw an educational TikTok from Dr. Courtney Tracy, a licensed therapist who pointed out that the pandemic is a traumatic experience. I started researching more and recognized the blatant truth in that statement. In this uncertainty, people have been facing undeniable losses, social isolation, financial uncertainty, tension, and more. The stress that results from these traumatic experiences can all lead to weight gain as well as habits such as stress-eating. Without a doubt, it’s certainly nobody’s fault!
With harmful beauty standards that thinness equates to true beauty, women undergo feelings of guilt, insecurity, and self-deprecation for normal results of a traumatic time. Even without the pandemic, heavier women face bias, hate, and unwarranted health advice everywhere. Sadder is the fact that they face these negativities both from people with and without medical licenses. So, to all the goddesses out there: let’s enter this year with the knowledge that our beauty never has and never will fade because of a number.
2) Realize that time for self-care is productive.
If there is anything that holds me back the most, it’s my thinking that unless I am doing something that creates a meaningful output, then I am wasting my time. Because of this mentality, I am a work-a-holic and often forget the balance between work and relaxation. When I talk to my friends, I notice that the majority of them have similar mindsets. And in all honesty, who can blame them? Nobody. We live in a capitalist society that dictates that unless a meaningful output is being produced, then we are either lazy, never will amount to anything or both. It is even harder for women, who have to work twice as hard to prove themselves in a world where men are seen as superior in various career fields.
Currently, we live in a time where we are consistently in one space for everything. Our homes have become a combination of our workspaces, our gyms, our relaxation area, etc. It is hard to separate the various components of our lives that are normally so organized into different places. Because of this, doing much of anything can be overwhelming and seem intimidating or stressful. In turn, this mountain of stress causes a lack of motivation. In my own experience, what surprises me the most is my lack of motivation to do things that I usually love to do! I really can’t tell you the last time I sat down to play my ukulele or went out on a walk.
One thing I wish to change is my work-a-holic mindset. To do this, I try to practice mindfulness by viewing it as something productive that I do for my health and mental well-being. For example, I try to stop viewing the time I use to listen to my favorite music as the time I could be using to prepare for an upcoming test. Instead, I view it as the time I use to give myself a mental health break so that when it comes time to study, I can focus more and be more efficient. Needless to say, it is much easier said than done. There’s a reason why mindfulness is practiced and not simply done. Despite the difficulty, I think that it is worth saying that the rewards gained from practicing mindfulness are numerous!
3) Don’t be afraid to rely on the ones you trust.
I want to take the time to say that taking time to care for your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. The simple truth is that you matter, all of you. This includes your feelings, thoughts, wants, and needs. In times like these, it can be hard to never feel sad, dissatisfied, and even hopeless. What I’m trying to say is not that you should try to suppress these feelings, but rather the complete opposite. It is important to feel and process the various emotions that we encounter in order to value ourselves.
As women, we may feel an urge to put on a tough face so that nobody plays into the harmful stereotype of women being too emotional or sensitive to handle serious matters. However, I urge you to recognize that your emotions are the greatest tools you could ever have. It is your emotions that allow you to see what is right for you and what is not. It takes courage to use your emotions than it takes to suppress them. So during these hard times, don’t forget to open up to your friends, family, or someone you trust.
In past times, I’ve made myself feel like a burden to others. The one thing that the pandemic taught me is that now more than ever, relying on each other never has been and never will be a burden. Your trusted people will never leave you out in the cold. If they do, then they aren’t your people, to begin with. Make sure to talk to people you trust about how you’re doing every once in a while because you deserve emotional release!
While the past year definitely can be categorized as rocky, each stumble along the way gives its lessons to teach us. Let us carry these lessons with us into this new time and make it better than the last year.