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“My name is Brittani. As a nurse, my simple goal for 2021 is to get as many people vaccinated as possible because WE’RE TIRED. I’m looking forward to a somewhat normal summer. Nurses’ jobs are always hard, but often we’re able to leave our jobs at work. This year, we were literally worried about bringing our work home and killing a loved one. The stress of our jobs overtook our whole lives. I would like to take a nice vacation with some friends this year and forget about work a little bit.

After the pandemic, social distancing and masks may easily become a thing of the past. But, our feelings of sadness and loneliness and bad habits like drinking, overeating, and complacency will have to be unlearned. That’s hard to do when you’re mentally in a dark place. This year, we need to promote mental wellness in order to move forward.

Mental health will eventually affect everyone’s life. The more we talk about it and promote practicing mental wellness, the less isolated everyone will feel when we have mental health issues. We all get mentally ‘sick’ sometimes, whether from chronic mental health conditions like depression, unanticipated challenges like trauma or grief, or just being exhausted or burned out. Being a good ally starts with listening. Listening is a lot harder than we initially think. Most people listen to reply, instead of listening to listen. We all think it’s helpful if we tell a relatable story to the person who we’re listening to. It’s often not. No one’s story is the same. Listening to someone’s story and allowing someone to vent to you is key. During the pandemic, don’t forget to be a good friend. We’re isolated. We’re lonely, especially people with mental health conditions who may not handle isolation well. Call someone on the phone. Set up a Zoom date—anything to show a friend that you’re still there and you care about their mental wellness.”