Some Special Notes for 2020

Usually, my holiday advice is about navigating family, travel, and the large buffet of cookies (tbh my wife and kids are making cookies right now). But this year I want to shift the focus to something a little different.  I want to share with you how I’m reflecting on the year and carrying the lessons learned with me into 2021. 

For Thanksgiving, I posted some mental health conversation starters on social to help people check in. This year’s end finds us all struggling. With so much loss, uncertainty, fear, and transitions, it is safe to say everyone reading this has had their mental health challenged. 

I started the pandemic with an idea that we all were about to learn something very meaningful about ourselves this year. I posted a series of video mental health updates on IGTV encouraging people to stay oriented and tips for dealing with anxiety and insomnia. I knew that we would be staying connected via video chats and social media, really relying on these platforms like never before for both our professional and personal life. 

For the holiday season and maybe as a little Christmas present from me to you, I want to shift the conversation from checking in about mental health (always important) to focusing on the process of summing up our year and planning for the next, 

Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions and reflections. 

You might guess, I’m not a huge fan of New Year, New You….why do we want an entirely new you?! And I don’t mean your typical “I want to exercise more!” “I want to eat better!” resolutions, though those can be positive when done for the right reasons. Really, what I want to address is the opportunity, especially right now, for growth. 

We all learned something about growth this year. Growth tends to hurt and takes a lot of energy. Because of that, we tend to avoid it…especially when we are run down and hurting. Still,  I know I don’t feel grounded at the end of a year until I have spent some time thinking through what happened. Thinking about how I have grown, or not, and what has transpired in the past year of my emotional life. 

All to say I hope you will spend some time in the next few weeks reflecting on what you’ve learned in the rollercoaster of a year that was 2020 and use that to honor yourself going forward. 

Here are some prompts to help review this with yourself, or even better to deepen your relationship with someone with whom you are sharing some time this season. 

➡️ “Something I did really well this year was … “

➡️ “I showed resilience this year when…”

➡️ “In 2021, I would like to build on that by … “

➡️ “I felt accomplished this year when … “

➡️ “This year was tough, but I learned … “

➡️ “I can carry these lessons into 2021 by … “

These conversation tips are a great way to gently check-in, celebrate the wins, honor the losses, and think about how to move forward in a healthy and constructive way. 

Prompts like this are nice to consider with multiple aspects of your life: family, work, community, self-care, exercise, food, etc. 

I thought I’d do one as a quick example…after all. I like to walk the talk: 

I hope I did a better job this year connecting with you about your mental health and nutrition and in 2021, I really am excited to build on that with a new book, new website, and much more. I felt truly honored this year when people reached out for help, asked a question, or dropped a meaningful comment in my feed. This year was tough for me, maybe the toughest yet for me, but I learned I could fall hard and still function well…and I learned, again, that I always, always get up. I’m carrying this strength with me into 2021… and I hope to continue to build on that strength by being there for my patients and my community in new and exciting ways as we all grow. 

To your health,


Drew Ramsey, MD

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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