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  • Writer's pictureBen R

Getting through the rest of 2020

December has actually been fairly good for me, mental health wise. I've been able to get outside and cycle for the last couple of weeks. I've learned that cycling gloves aren't the best with temps in the 30s, so I got smart last week and put on my winter gloves.

My fingers have thanked me!

But more importantly, I've been thankful for the decent temperatures, amongst many other things. I was able to finally reach my 4000 mile goal, which has been three years in the making, at the end of November. While I can't access a gym right now, I'm probably going to be staying indoors for workouts from this point on. Next week's temps are more typical December with lows in the 20s. I'm not interested in dressing up as an Eskimo to go out and ride.

For now, my outside time will be spent taking Hazel for little walks, as she slowly rehabs her leg. She's doing well and we are hopeful for her to resume normal puppy activities (mostly) by years end.

Lately, I've been finding myself becoming bored with social media quicker. I think I've done a solid job of limiting my time with it. To me, much of it is the same old crap day in and day out. While it's wonderful to see and hear all the great things people are doing for others during Covid and just because it's that time of year, the rest of it is just the same old stuff.

Yesterday, my partner, Hazel, and myself got out of town to do a few errands and pick up something that was a little surprise for my mother-in-law.

Hanukkah began yesterday, and my partner and mother-in-law are Jewish, so I've learned to celebrate the annual 8 day holiday with them. We picked up Latkes and Matzo Ball Soup for dinner. We had a good meal, and then lit a couple of menorah candles for the first night.

When I think about the remainder of this year, I know I will be busy working on myself mainly, in between helping others and enjoying the Christmas season.

Starting next week, I'm going to be partaking in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program through Mayo Clinic for three weeks. I'm nervous, anxious, and kind of excited all at the same time. I'm keeping an open mind as I go through the program and hoping I can learn some life-long coping skills to deal with my mental health.

Next week I also might be starting my first peer support 1:1 meeting (over the phone). I believe I'm about as ready as can be, but am aware that I'm starting CBT as well. While it all revolves around mental health obviously, at least the peer support 1:1 will focus on someone else.

By the time the CBT program wraps up in early January, I will be starting an eight week class called, "The Basics of Entrepreneurship". the following week. We will meet (virtually) once a week to put ideas for a possible business into action. I'm excited, but also nervous about how this will go as well.

When I contemplate all the short-term events, I do feel a bit overwhelmed. Not going to lie, but I also can see these are steps to help me move forward. I believe it will be very beneficial to have completed the CBT program right before the business class. I know I'm going to need a lot of support to build confidence that I can formulate something to run with into 2021.

Of course, besides my own mental health journey, we are still dealing with the ugly monster in our society, Covid. So much is still unknown as we start to mass produce the vaccines and it's natural to wonder when I will get it and ultimately is it going to allow society to get back to a "normal" of sorts. How's my employer and work going to look, if I ever seemingly am able to go back? How's travel going to look? How will the need for face-to-face connection look as we get into 2021? There's just so much unknown and then if you're me, you're trying to start a potential business/non-profit.

I know literally everyone has a number of unknowns going into the new year. That's why it's so important to stay in the present as much as one can.

Overall, I'm hopeful to make some serious head way next year on all things mental health. It's a journey no one should have to do alone. That's why my motto has been, "You Are Not Alone. Together, We Are Stronger."

If I keep taking two steps forward to any potential step(s) back, I should finally find the right connections to make things become a reality.

PS - I did my first ever podcast last Friday, December 4th with a local therapy company. It's suppose to be available for listening next Friday, December 18th. I will post when I see it's out, so be on the lookout for it!

- Ben

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