New Year, New Possibilities


The past year has been nothing short of a struggle, especially for those still in school. We have experienced unprecedented circumstances not just in this community, but across the country and around the world. However, many seem to think that upon the drop of the New Year’s Eve ball and the chorus of cheers from Times Square, that things have returned to what we remember as “normal”. Sadly, that is both unrealistic and impossible. 

Despite what media influencers may spread to any hopeful soul willing to listen, meditating twice daily and journaling constantly is not a guaranteed solution. In return, doing nothing but moping around and thinking about the doom yet to take place is not all that helpful either. It is important to be realistic about society’s new limitations right now as well as find new ways to improve your mindset. 

First off, like any new situation, acceptance is pivotal. As teenagers, having the belief all of the problems associated with the year 2020 will somehow vanish overnight is not going to be of any use. One has to understand that times are tough for everybody, and while no, it is not fair to be robbed of such classic coming of age experiences like prom or big sports games, that is what is best to keep loved ones safe.

“There is no magical solution that doesn’t require difficult decisions,” doctor Stephen Powis, the medical director of the national England health service says. “This was never going to be a sprint over a few weeks; this is going to be longer, it is going to be a marathon.” 

Undoubtedly many will disagree with that. That much is certain. But the sooner that people begin to accept the way things are now, the sooner they will be able to focus on what they can do with these new limitations in the future. Substituting movie theater dates with video calls over Netflix, and sending letters through the mail rather than passing notes could be the difference between staying healthy this new year or having COVID. 

Another thing is finding a safe way to continue with hobbies. Many arts classes, such as choir and theater arts, are doing their best at taking proper precautions to keep themselves and others safe and COVID free by limiting contact, and eliminating a number of live performances. Instead, arts programs have opted for the digital route, like our school’s dance program and their online streaming version of Mary Poppins. The Coronavirus may take away the crowds of cheering fans or even just the proud smile of a parent or guardian after a job well done, but the hobby itself is still there. Though it may not be the same, at the very least students are able to focus on a creative outlet, despite the lack of observers. 

Many health organizations are actually encouraging hobbies as an outlet to avoid mental health issues such as anxiety or depression during the pandemic. Things like baking, starting a YouTube channel or taking up crochet can occupy your mind, and keep you from overthinking during down time. 

“Enjoy hobbies you can do at home…” says the Mayo Clinic. “A distraction can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.” 

Oddly enough, something as simple as breaking routine could have an enormous impact on your mindset. For many students across the country, days seem to blur together and every day tasks have become monotonous, or seem to repeat themselves. Adding an extra activity just for fun could mean so much. Taking time to go on walk or watch that movie that never made it to theaters not only gives a much needed moment of relaxation, but a break from the endless cycle student’s have been battling these last months. 

Remember, it is not going to be easy. But with at least a few attempts to make this year different from the last, it might keep things from getting harder.