2020... Did we lose a year or gain a few?

2020 was a whirlwind.

No one could have predicted that we’d spend months in lockdown, that working from home would become the new norm and that by the end of it we’d be back in another lockdown. I think we can all agree it was a pretty rubbish year, but what if the way that the world has changed in this past year means that we haven’t lost a year but actually gained a few?
Last year was the year that everyone prioritised their health, both mentally and physically. We’ve done more exercise than ever before, even if it’s just a walk to get out of the house, it still counts! Mental Health funding increased which was a huge positive. And we’ve become much more aware of personal hygiene, who’d have thought that keyring sanitisers would become a staple at the start of 2020?
But one of the best things that came out of the world slowing down, was how much it helped the environment. Crystal blue waters in Venice Canal, Clear blue skies in Deli, cleaner air and wild animals roaming locked down cities was a major highlight of lockdown.
What we also gained in lockdown was time, and a lot of it. Even though at points the amount of time we had was quite intense, it gave us time to focus on what was really important to us. Many of us realised what we wanted to do with our lives, were able to reconnect with ourselves and appreciate the small things, or the large things such as technology.
Technology has never been appreciated as much as it was through lockdown. Skype, Facetime and Zoom were saviours in making speaking to family and friends more personal. Voice notes were also proven to release more happy hormones, such as oxytocin, in comparison to meeting up with people in real life; so maybe that's a small positive to take away from this when we’re not able to be as social.  
And as well as video calling, technology helped us to easily learn new skills. Along with the satisfaction of finally getting past the beginner sections on duo-lingo, learning new skills increased our brain health, our energy levels and our life satisfaction. 
The biggest thing to come out of 2020 that probably everyone can agree on is the increase in compassion and sense of community. The kindness shown by everyone was heartwarming, with over 750,000 people signing up to be an NHS volunteer and donations to charities being one of the highest they ever been. People really came together by supporting local businesses and many of us met our neighbours for the first time!
Lets keep this going for 2021.
Some of the main things that we’re taking into 2021 with us are;
  • Trying to find daily positives, even if they're small they still count!
  • Prioritising intentions and putting our mental health as the no.1 priority
  • Remembering to give ourselves a break and time to refresh when things aren’t going great
  • Finding causes we care about and continuing to donate
  • Learning new skills
  • And continuing to connect with family and friends
And with that, we hope you have a great 2021 and we’re sure with the right mindset you will.
Even though 2021 is a new year and will hopefully bring great things, remember that if the pressure is becoming too much and you start to feel overwhelmed, don't be afraid to reach out to your support network. And if you need further support, reach out to a professional as it is never weak to look after yourself and mental health first.