Reflection on the past year is a thing because we’ve hit the one year mark of being in a pandemic. Insert mind blown emoji here. Who would have thought we’d be living in this world for a whole damn year and still going?!
It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed. On one hand it felt like it flew by but on the other it felt like days seemed so long. I think we can all agree that it has just been one of the weirdest years on record. This post is a reflection of everything I’ve learned throughout the year. The last year gave us the chance to slow life down which also came with the opportunity to learn new things.
Below are reflections and things learned throughout this past year.
Do What Makes You Happy
In a time where our world got flipped upside down, I chose to do things that made me happy. It was quite the adjustment going from working two jobs and always being busy to everything completely stopping. I found it challenging at the beginning but after a few weeks I focused on things that made me happy. And sometimes that was just a simple cuddle on the couch with Parker and enjoying my morning tea.
Reflection & Gratitude
One thing I began doing early into the pandemic was practice gratitude. I’ve mentioned The Five Minute Journal on my blog before but only because it’s something I truly love. Choosing 3 three things you’re thankful for in the morning really does change your mindset for the day ahead.
Reflection was something I did almost every morning along with my gratitude journaling. Reflections about the world, how I felt about things in my own life, and literally anything that came to mind. Reflection was something I enjoyed throughout the year and plan on continuing.
Saying No When It Was Needed
This was challenging but I’m happy for putting myself and capacities ahead of what others may have needed of me. It wasn’t easy to do but creating boundaries and sticking to them turned out to be something very important. Setting boundaries was something I had never done or thought about before. This past year I began focusing on what I needed and put that first. It also occurred to me that I couldn’t keep up with everyone even if I wanted to. I didn’t have the capacity for it. Letting go of that guilt was very freeing. It may sound selfish but I promise that you can’t help others if you haven’t taken care of yourself first.
Losing Someone You Love Will Always Be Hard
As most of you may know, I lost my grandfather this past year and was not prepared for that type of heartbreak. I said goodbye to my grandfather completely wrapped in PPE and not even able to kiss his hand. Although what I have come to realize is that losing someone (in a pandemic or not) will never be easy. It’s a heartbreak that truly only time will heal. Today actually marks 5 months since his passing. The void and hurt is still very much there but I now experience less panic attacks. I shared the photo below on my IG stories about grief and got quite a few responses. This loss hit me very hard and I’m just now learning how much my family means to me.
Taking Walks Does Wonders
Going for runs has always, always been an outlet for my mental health. Running is the one thing I turn to when I can’t cope with what’s happening within or around me. During the winter, I would go to the gym until it was nice again but with gyms being closed that hasn’t been an option. I began going for walks outside instead to ensure I was getting some fresh air to help clear my mind. Even a short 15 minute walk to the end of the street and back will give you that clarity. Getting fresh air, getting rid of those unhealthy thoughts and feelings, and enjoying the sunshine on my face has become something I try and do more nowadays.
Made Mental Health a Priority
2020 definitely took a toll on each of us, there is no denying it. However we chose to cope and do what we needed for ourselves was all completely valid. It was through my morning reflections I realized I had to make my mental health more of a priority. Being in a dark place is never easy and being in a dark place during a pandemic is just straight up difficult. It was late October when I reached out to my therapist and let me tell you, I haven’t looked back. If you’re considering making your mental health a priority, take a look at my post about finding the right therapist for yourself.
I used to chuckle when hearing people advocate for drinking more water but damn is it ever true. While we drink water with every meal in our home, I was never one to just have water with me for in-between moments. Something recently clicked though and I began filling my tumbler with water and drinking more everyday than I ever have. It really does make you feel so good and less sluggish. For a while there I was also drinking a glass in the morning before I had my morning tea. Which for me, that was a big deal. But drinking more water really does help you throughout your day and obviously keeps you hydrated.
Although there was so much more learned and reflected on throughout the year, these were my top ones. What a year it was! Lots of twists and turns but definitely one for growth and appreciation.
What was the last year like for you?
In the beginning months of quarantine I wrote about my experiences and what I was doing to keep busy. You can find that post here!