When you look back on your life, 2020 will be a year that you’ll remember. But you’ll want to forget it. In 2020, we faced terrible threats. Mass fires around the world, floods, explosions, civil unrest, and on top of all that, a global pandemic.

As we wave goodbye to 2020, are you ready for what the next year will bring us?

In the last 12 months, things have happened that affected all forms of life on Earth. Massive fires burned around the world. Bushfires tore through Australia, killing over half a billion animals, and at least 34 people.

In August 2020, there were about 24,000 fires in the Amazon rain forest. Two more countries risked being infested with murder hornets, when these predators arrived in North America, and started building nests along the U.S.-Canada border.

There were protests around the world, including the Black Lives Matter movement, which demanded equality in the United States. Other protesters called for governments to combat climate change.

And to top it all off, there was COVID-19. This pandemic rocked our world, killed millions of people, and potentially changed everyday life as we know it. But waking up on January 1, 2021 will not make these problems go away.

Finish your New Year’s celebration, and let’s begin our journey through 2021. How are you going to get through it, and what challenges can you prepare for?

Step 1: Protect your environment

The fires that raged throughout California, the Amazon, and Australia highlighted the damaging effects that climate change is having on our planet. The Amazon rain forest creates oxygen, and absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that affects global temperatures and rainfall patterns. Over 35,000 fires raged throughout the Amazon in 2020. Many of them were set deliberate to clear the land for business purposes.

And the Amzon is still burning. In mid-December 2020, there were almost 7,300 fires. You can help combat this in 2021. Start by finding non-profit organizations fighting for climate change, and find a way to support them. And write to your politicians, and ask your government to make protecting the environment a priority.

Step 2: Fight for your rights

In 2020, large protest movements emerged. Among other things, they called for equality, climate change, and government action. These issues will not go away in 2021. The first step you can take to aid these social movements is make sure you are correctly informed. Find trustworthy news sites. But make sure you’re not looking at the info all day, every day.

And learn to fact check the information you read or hear. Find multiple, reputable sources, so you know the real facts. If you’re thinking of joining a protest, know who’s organizing it, and find out if the protest will promote the cause in a healthy, uplifting way. If you join a protest or march, make sure you’re protected by being a large crowd. Wear a mask, and sanitize your hands. Try to steer clear of any danger, and make sure that you know a way to leave if the protest stops being peaceful.

Step 3: Raise the firewalls

Experts predict that cyber threats will become even more common in 2021. Many people are now happily working from home. But they’re away from their professionally prepared, safe company infrastructure.

Hackers are finding ways to use social engineering attacks on people in their homes, by sending Trojan horses into home networks, as they try to infect company networks. The introduction of the 5G network, with its amazing speeds, also opens opportunities for a new wave of computer hacks.

If you continue working from home, or remotely, it’s a good idea to invest in tighter security for your internet network, and all the devices you connect to it. Stay wary of emails and the links that are in them. If you’re unsure about an email, contact your company’s I.T. team for help.

Step 4: Wear a mask

It’s not all bad news for 2021, though. There are vaccines to combat the pandemic, and they could be distributed as early as mid-2021. If they are rolled out, you can be vaccinated and greatly decrease your chances of catching COVID-19. While some people won’t want to be vaccinated, experts hope that if enough people are immunized, we’ll achieve herd immunity from the virus. It’s still a good idea for your safety, and other people’s, to wear a mask if you’re asked to do so.

Step 5: Take good care of yourself

The lengthly lockdowns to combat COVID-19 have made it even more common for people to experience mental health challenges. Organizations such as Mind, which focus on helping people improve their mental health, have reported dramatic effects caused by the lockdowns. So, make your mental health a top priority.

Learn to balance your work life with your personal life, and don’t let working take over. Meditate, and put your mask on so you can go for walks. And if you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or concerned about your mental health, talk to friends and family. If you can’t get together, call or have video chats. And if you’d rather not do that, there are countless organizations that can help you.

Above all, focus on the good things in life. And remember that the world is working to fight this pandemic, so the lockdown and isolation will end. The past year has shown that humans are tenacious, and we’re kind to each other. We’re creative, caring, and committed to finding solutions. Focus on all the good things that people are doing. And above all, take care of yourself. If you can do that, you have what it takes to survive in 2021.

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