Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a great break. In my first post this year, I’d like to share with you 20 Things I Learned In 2020. I wrote it a few days ago but was enjoying my holiday so much, I hit the pause button on publishing it.
Now we’re well and truly into 2021, it’s easier to reflect on what was, to say the least, a difficult year for us all.
Here are the 20 things I learned in 2020…
The impermanence of life.
Two age-old cliches come to mind; nothing lasts forever and the only constant is change. But they’ve never been truer. 2020 is a reminder that we don’t know how long we have on this earth. We have to learn to accept the things that aren’t in our control.
You’re stronger than you think.
We’ve really been put to the test in the last 10 months or so. Who would have ever imagined we’d be living through a time like this? We’ve had to be brave, smart and creative. We’re still tackling fear, confusion and uncertainty of the future. We’ve proved we’re more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.
Self-care is not a luxury.
Looking after yourself doesn’t need to be expensive. It can be something like going for a walk, taking a bath or having some alone time. I usually book a monthly massage or treatment, as part of my self-care routine, but that wasn’t possible in 2020. Instead I found other ways in which to care for myself physically, mentally and emotionally.
Give yourself something to look forward to.
It’s always nice to have something written down in your diary or up on your calendar. A date that you’re looking forward to. For me, it’s usually a special occasion, a holiday or a night out with friends. We can’t do a lot of those usual things, so think outside the box. Right now, I look forward to a family walk in the park or my favourite TV show or starting a new book.
It’s OK not to be OK.
We can’t be happy all of the time. Sometimes we might feel it’s a weakness to show signs that we’re sad, angry or confused. But we’re human and we all have good and bad days. Mental health is important every day but of course, there’s a bigger focus on it because of the pandemic. Don’t ignore your feelings. Reach out to people and tell them, talk to them.
Write down your thoughts.
2020 has had us all feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. Keeping a journal can help you in many ways. Writing down what you’re feeling just before bedtime allows you to share your innermost thoughts without judgement. It can help you look for creative solutions to your problems and express gratitude. You can note down your goals or write a to-do list so your mind if free of thoughts that may disturb your sleep.
Be your own best friend.
We’re so used to being around people all the time. But sometimes it’s OK just to be by yourself. It’s two different things to be alone and being lonely. I’ve learned to enjoy my own company over the years. I wrote a post about it, so feel free to check it out while you’re here. Love yourself first.
You’re more creative than you think.
We’ve been forced to come up with new ways to keep ourselves entertained. People have used the pandemic to discover new talents, like cooking. Then there are the unique ways we’ve kept in touch with friends and family via quiz nights on Zoom. I’ve seen many parents doing treasure hunts for the kids or game nights. I, for one, started a new journey on Tik Tok, creating comedy videos in Punjabi. I’d never have imagined it was something I could do; make people laugh or to create viral videos pre-2020.
Be grateful for everything you have.
Don’t take anything for granted. So many people have lost so much; loved ones, jobs, the roof over their head. Look around you and at what you have. I’m grateful for my family and friends, my health, food in my fridge, a warm bed at night. Appreciate every little thing in your life.
Pat yourself on the back.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating yourself when you’ve achieved something. It was nice to see friends and family self-praising on social media throughout 2020. When Tik Tok took off, I was initially reluctant to share my success because I felt I’d be seen as arrogant. We’re so used to keeping our triumphs hush-hush. It took a few friends to make me believe that it’s OK to share your victories with the world.
Reach out to people.
You have no idea of the battle someone else is facing every day. You don’t know what is going on behind closed doors. Someone might be smiling on the outside but containing a storm within. Be kind. Call your family and friends. Talk. If you see someone struggling, ask them to share.
Walking is the best medicine.
One of the positives to come out of 2020 for me, is walking. I love just heading out to the woods near my house or even walking the streets with the kids, listening to music and just breathing in fresh air. I’ve been able to discover some new places that I didn’t even know existed in my own community. And I always return feeling re-energised and ready to tackle the day.
You don’t really need a holiday.
This one was a difficult one for me because every year, we take an annual family holiday and I go away with my girlfriends too. A lot of us think we need a holiday but 2020 has taught us that it’s simply a want. We can still enjoy quality time with our loved ones by staying home. Having said that, it doesn’t mean I won’t be going away every year! But it does mean that I see holidays differently now – as a luxury rather than a necessity.
You’re more capable than you think.
We can all do so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We’re a lot more resourceful than we think. 2020 forced us out of our comfort zone and had us doing things we’d never imagined ourselves qualified for. I gave myself a haircut for the very first time. I saw many people on social media trying their hand at cooking for the first time or fixing something in their home.
Working from home is not a luxury.
It’s actually one of the hardest things I learned in 2020. It’s not easy for anyone to do their job at home, with all the family under one roof, online learning for kids and internet connections! I used to crave days when I could work from home pre-2020 and now I’m itching to go back to the office, to see my colleagues and return to ‘normality’.
You can’t do it all.
I always like to believe I’m Wonder Woman. I mean, don’t a lot of us feel like superheroes when we feel we can do it all? I juggle a lot in my life but I’ve learned that of course, I can’t do it all. Life has never been crazier and some things have to give. But that’s OK because we’re not robots.
Learn to say no.
We can’t do everything. We can’t be everything to everyone. I’m someone who will always bend over backwards for others, whether I’m asked to or not. And more often than not. I change my whole day and my own plans to put someone else’s first. But one lesson I’ve learned and will take forward is that it’s OK to say no. It’s OK to not stretch yourself so thin that you compromise on your own health and well being.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Getting proper rest is one of the most important methods in your self-care routine. 2020 had so many thoughts buzzing around my brain at night and my sleep really suffered as a result. This led me to being irritable the next day. That’s when I decided to take some steps to get a better night’s sleep. You can read them here.
There really is no time like the present.
Again another cliche; don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. But it’s so true because who knows what tomorrow might bring. If there’s something you really want to do and you feel you’re ready, do it. Of course, always make sure it’s making you happy. If you have a goal, write it down and work towards achieving it.
No one knows you better than yourself.
There are people in your life who know you well, but no one really knows what’s going on in your mind. Only you know what you need. So trust yourself to make decisions that are right for you.
Comment below to let me know what you think about the 20 things I’ve learned in 2020. Do you share the same thoughts? Have you learned the same lessons?