Newton, NC – The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on our lives, and think about how we can be happier and healthier.

As we look back on 2020, many of us are still healing from grief and loss. Some of us might be grieving the loss of a job, our routine or social connections. Our grief might come from not being able to visit loved ones because of health concerns, or because we have lost someone close to us. We may also be grieving over missed opportunities to make cherished memories in the rituals that mark our lives, like weddings, graduations, and funerals.

Reverend Dr. Donald Gray

Reverend Dr. Donald Gray

It’s natural to want to gather and comfort one another during this challenging time. Humans were created for relationships and during times of crisis, we need our support systems more than ever. The loss of our sense of community has been especially challenging for us all.

As we start 2021, Reverend Dr. Donald Gray, Pastor of Mt. Sinai Church in Catawba, offers 5 New Year’s Tips to help you stay safe, healthy and happy:

Try not to watch too much news.
While it’s important to stay informed, watching too many alarming news stories could lead us to dwell on stressful situations that we feel helpless to change.

Maintain routine.
Establishing a schedule for eating, sleeping and daily activities can go a long way toward improving our social and emotional wellbeing.

Exercise regularly.
Routine exercise can help to reduce stress and release our body’s natural “feel-good” hormones.

Allow yourself to grieve.
Be kind to yourself. You may feel a sense of shock when you lose someone or something you care about. This may be followed anger and depression. If you feel like grief is starting to take over your life, talk to your doctor about coping skills and support that can help.

Reach out to others.
Finding creative ways to connect with others can help you and others feel less lonely and isolated. Bring someone you care about a meal, give them a call or simply tell them, “I love you.”

There’s hope. There’s always hope,” says Reverend Dr. Gray. “The first thing to do is to acknowledge that your feelings of loneliness and isolation are normal and give yourself permission to grieve. Also remember to share your feelings and stay connected.”

The pandemic has not been easy for any of us. It’s more important than ever to reach out of your comfort zone during this time of crisis and extreme change.

If you need additional help dealing with loss during this difficult period, visit to learn about local grief support groups.

Carolina Caring, founded in 1979, is an independent, community-based, non-profit health care provider. They specialize in programs that offer relief from chronic conditions, serious illnesses, and the challenges they bring, including palliative medicine, hospice care, and grief counseling. Currently, Carolina Caring serves 12-counties across western North Carolina and the Piedmont. For more information about Carolina Caring, please call 828.466.0466 or visit