No one can deny that this year has been unbelievably tough in so many ways. People have been forced to put their lives on hold while we wait for this virus to do its thing and piss off.
There have been a lot of ups and downs and mental health has been (and continues to be) tested to the extreme. I won’t lie, I had some dark moments when we were in the depths of lockdown and I’m still finding it hard to get used to this new reality. I am grateful that I was able to bring myself out of those times with positivity and now I’m making the most of this time and continue to look to the future.
Looking back on this insane year, I have definitely learnt a lot about myself and the world around me so I thought I’d share some of the most important things that have come to light.
We are stronger than we think
If you think back to the beginning of the year, would you have thought that we would be living through a pandemic? We still have no idea what this virus is capable of and yet we are pushing through, heading to work, working from home or just getting through it any way we can. You have made it this far. Recognise the strength you have within you.
“You have made it this far, you can keep going. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.”
It is important to slow down from time to time
I don’t know about you but before the lockdown I was always busy. After my transplant last year I felt like I had to make every second count so I made sure I always had plans. For me, that lifestyle is no longer sustainable. It is important to slow down and take stock. Take time to self-reflect, reconnect and let your mind and body heal. Take time to work out what it is you really want in life and start to take steps to get there.
"Do less, with more intention."
Family and friends are everything
My family and friends keep me grounded. They make me laugh, they make me cry and they offer me different perspectives. How good has it been to have the time to actually connect again? We often make excuses- don't have time, too tired, have plans - as to why we can't catch up. Lockdown took those excuses out of the equation and the result is a renewed appreciation for our people.
"Hold on to that, hold on to them."
Staying active keeps the heart and mind healthy
My health is a new priority for me and lockdown has truly allowed me to focus on this. There are a lot of studies that suggest exercise and happiness are linked and I'm 100% on board with this way of thinking. Staying active - dog walks in the countryside, yoga, or a jog in the park - it is a great way to clear your mind as well as keeping the blood pumping.
“You have made it this far, you can keep going. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.” - Aristotle
Making it through the day is good enough
Hey, so you didn't do that run that you had planned today. You didn't clean the house you had planned. You didn't finish that inspirational blog you wanted to share. Oh, you didn't learn a new language or start a new hobby. So what? Sometimes we need to have a break, some time out, let life happen around us so we can come back fighting when we are ready.
"You got through it. You did it. You're amazing."
Having a bad day is O.K too. Tomorrow is another day.
Life is not easy. There will always be days where we cannot stay positive and that is O.K. I am learning how important it is to sit with our feelings, good and bad. Acknowledge the feeling and accept it for what it is. There could even be something to learn from it. We can't go through life ignoring the things that get in our way - face them head on, learn from them and use them to get you closer to your goals.
"Being honest about our feelings will take us closer to living a life with purpose."
It's O.K to say no
We all have our limits. Since Corona came around, there have been times where I haven't felt safe in my surroundings. There have been times where people have come too close or there have been too many people around me. Whether you are classed as 'vulnerable' or not , you have the right to take yourself out of uncomfortable situations. It is up to you how you feel and how you behave.
It is O.K to say no to that dinner party because you don't want to be in an enclosed room with other people. Remove yourself from a situation where you don't want to be.
"Honour your limits without worrying about what others think."
Do things that make you happy
Walking my dog makes me happy. My nieces and nephew make me happy. Evenings at the beach make me happy. Sunsets make me happy. Travel and adventure makes me happy. Helping others makes me happy. Making people laugh makes me happy. Dancing makes me happy. Creativity makes me happy. Good food and drink make me happy.
What makes you happy? Write a list and keep adding to it. With COVID-19 restricting us this year, we all have to make some sacrifices with the things we do. This doesn't mean we have to stop all the little things that make us happy - get creative (I bought a cheap disco light so I can have kitchen dance parties whenever I want!).
"The ultimate goal: find whatever makes you happy, and don't let anything (even Coronavirus) stop you from doing it."
We all deal with things in different ways and it's good to hear new ways to get through difficult times. What lessons have you learnt during lockdown? Tell me in the comments!