Step No. 1: Give Thanks
While it may feel like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, you have to admit that, all things considered, 2016 was not all bad. After all, it was the year that gave us Lemonade, Blonde, and countless other works of art that we'll love for decades to come.
"Remember that while 2016 may have been rough, it also gave us a lot of good things." —Dani DiPirro
"Our lives are very complex and there are things going right and things going wrong," says positivity guru and author of Positively Present, Dani DiPirro. "That's not to say you should ignore the things that are going wrong—just acknowledge them, but also be aware that some things are working out." Things are rarely black and white, so just remember that while 2016 may have been rough, it also gave us a lot of good things, even if those good things simply took the form of a song or a really good meme.
Step No. 2: Focus on What You Can Control
While this year was undeniably filled with plenty of political and social tragedies, some things were caused by forces out of human control. "Some things, you can't do anything about," says DiPirro. "If it's going to rain, it's going to rain." While it's important and often necessary to grieve, you can't blame yourself on things out of your power. Instead of pouring all your energy into mourning, recognize that what's past is past. Some things can't be changed, but some things can. You just need to take a deep breath and accept what you can't control—then you can get geared up to make a difference where you can.
Step No. 3: Think About What Makes You Feel Good
"Ask yourself, 'What made you feel really good in 2016?' It can be anything," says DiPirro. "It could be work-related, socially, anything. What made you feel good, and how could you have more of that in 2017? Then ask, 'What made you feel bad?' Think about all the people in your life, all the things you do on a daily basis. What doesn't make you feel good?" When you take time to actually think about the things happening in your life, you can make effective changes. Do you enjoy reading? Set a reading challenge to encourage yourself to read more in 2017. Hate running more than anything? Find a workout that you actually look forward to—perhaps a trampoline class is more your speed.
Step No. 4: Press That Unfollow Button
Remember: you don't have to follow anyone on social media—especially if they're bringing you down. "Unfollow people who make you feel bad," says DiPirro. "That means you can unfollow them even if they aren't bad people and they aren't necessarily posting bad stuff. For example, if it's a luxury brand and you can't afford any of it, but you follow it because you're like, 'Oh, I really like that brand,' but every time you see its pictures you think, 'God, I can't afford that'—don't follow it." You can curate an online space that will make you feel your best. Never fear the unfollow button! And if someone unfollows you, don't take it personally.
Step No. 5: Do You
When it comes to detoxing, it all depends on what you find relaxing. That might mean taking an hour-long bath with three different bath bombs. It also might mean putting on your biggest sweats, grabbing a bag of Cheetos, and bingeing on The OA while sitting in complete darkness. "Even if it doesn't make sense in the stereotypical wellness community, if it's relaxing and calming to you, do it," says DiPirro. "When you care for yourself and you do something that makes you feel good, it really does help you feel like you're starting out on a fresh note."
Step No. 6: Take Action
"I think sometimes the reason people dwell on stuff and get so worked up about things that aren't great in their lives, whether they be political or otherwise, is because they aren't actually doing anything," says DiPirro. "You get a sense of helplessness." So get out there and do something! While 2016 may have seemed like tragedy after tragedy, the world is yours for changing. Whether you write letters to Congress, volunteer, donate money, or contribute for change in any other way, you can rest easy knowing that you played your part—and you can wake up ready to make 2017 the best that it can be. It's on you now—you got this.