Reflection On a Pandemic Year & What I Learned


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.

I don’t have the original source of this picture but found it on Twitter

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.

Drink Water

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!


  • Nicci

    I loved reading this and seeing some positive outcomes! I was doing pretty well with lockdown but this last one has hit me so hard as my mental health has suffered a lot. I like what you said about reflection and gratitude, I try to use those to ground me when I feel like I’m spiralling! Sorry to hear about the passing of Grandfather, you’re right, grief is never easy!

    • Alexandra

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! I’m sorry this time around has been harder, I can definitely relate – it’s a weird feeling. Glad that reflection and and gratitude have helped you, they’ve certainly helped me too. And thank you so much for the kind words about my grandfather, grief has its own path!

  • Lynn Mejia

    Loved reading this, Alexandra! As ignorant as this sounds, I am actually thankful for 2020. I feel my self sabotaging was at an all time high and I was just taking on too much and dividing my time to so many people. Saying no and setting myself boundaries has been big for me and honestly letting myself feel all the feelings. I found myself keeping so busy, I rarely had time to stop and acknowledge my emotions. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandpa. Sending virtual hugs xx

    • Alexandra

      Thank you so much for reading, Lynn!! I totally know what you mean — before 2020 I was constantly splitting myself up between a million and one things and it was hard to stop. But 2020 showed us to quite literally sit at home with our feelings and thoughts and slow down. That was the best part of the year for me. Thank you so much for the kind words <3

  • Lisamarie

    This was such a wonderfully written post with many lovely lessons that you have learned through this year. The one that stood out to me is grief. Going through Grief during covid was something I never could explain. I always say we hurt hard because we loved hard… it’s a blessing and a curse to love someone so much. Thank you for sharing

    • Alexandra

      Thank you so much for the kind words! <3 I completely agree with you that grief during covid absolutely adds another level to the sadness. Not being able to visit my grandmother and sit with her after it all and even now months later truly is so difficult. I'm sorry you're experiencing it as well, sending you so much love! I love what you said about it though, it most definitely is such a blessing and curse and really does show how much they meant to us <3

  • Caroline

    I definitely made mental health my priority in 2020 and it really paid off! Saying no is also key – it’s so tiring just doing something for the sake of it. Great post <3

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