With 2020 drawing to a close, I am reflecting on what a turbulent and unpredictable year it has been for all of us. It’s been a weird unprecedented time for all of us and I can not wait for the new year. 2020 has gone so quickly yet so slowly and I am ready for this year to be over.
2020 started off optimistic and outgoing. I went on two domestic trips – a girls trip to Byron Bay in February and a family trip to Melbourne in March (the week before lockdown chaos hit). I went to festivals, attended social gatherings and work seemed fine. By the time the pandemic hit, there was a sense of this unknown which was scary. Luckily, I was not financially impacted by the pandemic nor have I contracted Covid-19 but I lost social connections and things that made me happy. My mental health took a dive and so did my physical health.
I thought I would end on a positive note and share 10 life lessons that I have learnt in 2020 in this global pandemic. Maybe you resonate with some of these points. I hope you are all recharging during the holidays and may 2021 be an amazing year!
1. Prioritise both physical and mental health
More than 1.6 million have died from Covid-19 worldwide as of December 2020. This pandemic definitely taught me how important it is to have a healthy lifestyle and reduce risk of contracting the disease. In late 2020, I finally saw a dietician for the first time and really strived to make positive changes to my diet. I’ve fallen off sometimes but I’m just so happy I’m embarking on this health and weight loss journey for the long-term.
Covid-19 has probably played an even bigger toll on mental health. As someone who has experienced anxiety and depression (not Covid related), I know the significance it plays on our everyday lives.
Both mental and physical health has such an important impact on our lives and do not work in isolation. Mental health affects physical health and vice versa.
2. Find your passions and pursue them
Life is too short to not enjoy things you love. Working from home a lot has given me a lot more free time. I’ve taken this opportunity to take on new hobbies (both successfully and unsuccessfully).
During lockdown, I’ve tried painting and learning to DJ and mix music. What has stuck with me is blogging. I finally continued to blog on my old blog and made weekly updates and called the series ‘Stuck in Quarantine’. I decided to start fresh on a new blog and hence ‘The Sydneysider‘ was born in late June 2020. It’s been my little work in progress and have thoroughly enjoyed it.
3. Invest in personal growth
I think the self-development business is booming and for good reason. You are your greatest asset so invest in yourself and your future. Strive to become a better person and learn valuable skills that will make you more marketable to employers.
I’ve tried to invest in is my finances. I know I’m an accountant and I know I have bad spending habits haha. It’s a bit of an oxymoron. I think the pandemic has showed us all the importance of having an sufficient savings in case for the unknown and emergencies. Especially if you’re Australian, two resources I recommend are:
Book: The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape
Podcast: She’s on the Money by Georgia King and Victoria Devine
Both have large Facebook support groups. I would say The Barefoot Investor is more generic and more for couples and families. She’s on the Money is designed for millennial women striving for financial freedom and I think is more applicable to me but I’ve had such simple yet effective takeaways from both these resources that have just changed and transformed my finances.
4. Switch off. Taking a break is productive.
Especially when working is all done on my laptop, it can be really hard to find that balance between work and social life. I try to switch off before 5:30pm. Often we find that we need to work all the time, but taking a break can actually be productive. I find that it a break allows me to refresh my mind and recharge and I come back to work more efficient and awake.
I also find that my phone usage has decreased dramatically in the last few months which is amazing. It’s to the point I barely use Instagram. My Instagram usage used to be around 2 hours but this week my usage was 8 minutes. I am so impressed with myself. Recently with all the updates, I’m finding Instagram more commercial, vapid and lacking any substance. I don’t want everything I’m consuming to be an ad.
I’ve also been reading a lot more as well which is fantastic. I’ve definitely been inspired by a lot of bloggers and it’s really amazing to see how often y’all read.
5. Being alone does NOT equate to loneliness and isolation
As an introvert, I love my alone time. I love being myself and in a way, the pandemic has actually been a blessing where I am able to focus on myself.
However, being alone does not equate to loneliness. When I am alone, I am in a physical state of not being with anyone. When I am lonely, I am in an emotional state of feeling alone and isolated from others.
I’ve definitely experienced elements of both but the pandemic has showed us that we can be alone but not lonely. The technology has evolved dramatically through texting, Zoom calls and Facetime. I can be far far away from all my friends but they can all be contacted through my phone. Amazing how technology is.
6. Importance of human interaction
Whilst my last point mentioned how valuable technology has been for connecting with others when we are alone, nothing compares to face-to-face human interaction.
Whether it’s a boyfriend’s smile and warmth, hugging a good friend, having brunch with the girls or catching up with some work mates and then having drinks. It’s definitely something I’ve missed for most of this lockdown. I’m very fortunate to still live at home and it’s been so nice spending more time with family.
7. Live in the present and be grateful for what we have
I know earlier I mentioned the importance of self-development and thinking about the future but the present is just as important for we may not know what the future holds.
Practising gratitude can be so helpful especially when it comes to low bouts of mental health. The world seems a bit bleak now but we have so much to look forward to and we are fortunate to have strong connections with our friends and families.
Practising gratitude and being thankful has a range of benefits. You’ll be in a positive mindset, express kindness and even improve immune systems and quality of sleep.
8. Cut unnecessary spending. You don’t need another ASOS parcel this month.
I know this is a bit ironic with how much I spent on Black Friday sales but the pandemic has made me cut unnecessary spending so much. Getting my nails done was a monthly expense and not an essential one. I’ve saved so much money buying an at-home nail kit and doing my nails at home. I still have salon professional quality nails without the expensive price tag.
Also since everyone is working from home. you don’t need more clothes if you wear the same outfits on rotation during the week (lol me).
9. The world can be unpredictable. Learning to quickly adapt and be open-minded will be what drives us forward
2020 has shown us how much can change in a blink of an eye. Like I mentioned, the beginning of the year seemed fine and all of a sudden, we went into a lockdown in March that really didn’t ease until May-June and has since never reverted back to pre-pandemic. In fact, it’s gotten worse.
Getting into unpredictable events is not your fault. It’s not something you can control but adaptability is an essential skill. It allows us to be open-minded and flexible in uncertain situations. Life goes on and all we can do is move forward.
10. All of us are so courageous and resilient. We are a lot powerful and stronger than we think we are.
If there is one takeaway I’ve learnt in 2020 is that we are all so strong. 2020 has not been an easy year by any means. 2020 has thrown us so many challenges and we’ve been able to conquer them all.
All of us have been resilient. We’ve been able to adapt and be flexible and open-minded when presented challenging situations. We’ve all built strong connections with family and friends whether that is in person of virtually.
I’ve learnt the importance of daily lifestyle, taking rest for myself and focusing on my mental and physical health. If I can’t travel, I’m at least still going to work out to get that bikini body haha.
I’ll love to know what life lessons you learnt in 2020.
Images taken: Great Ocean Road/Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia (Loch Ard Gorge) March 2020