2020 reflection

by - December 20, 2020

2020 was nothing like I think anyone imagined it would be in so many ways. Generally on the internet as a new decade, it was hyped to be such an incredible year. Instead, this has potentially felt like the longest year ever, being difficult from the very start in January to December, and one of the hardest years, if not the hardest year of my life. As a year that put me through a lot and for the most part seemed to be playing games with my mental health to see how far it could push it, I have learnt a lot. From recognising my limits, learning to reach out more for help and that I am so much stronger mentally than I ever gave myself credit for, 2020 is definitely not a year I ever want to have to go through again. However, it is a year I will forever remember for all the hardship and growth out of things going very wrong.

What I learnt in 2020:

  1. It’s not selfish to focus on yourself - in fact, it’s important you do pay attention to how you feel. You can’t help others if you don’t look after yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. We all have our limits and that’s okay. You need to listen to your mental health, how you feel and not ignore signs that things are not right - listening to my mental health as much as I should is still a working progress for me. But, this year more than ever, I’ve been more aware of its importance after I ignored it more than I should have. After I placed other people’s mental health above my own almost constantly. Looking out for my mental health as much as I should is still is a fine balance I am trying to strike, especially as a carer for others with mental illness and I am still learning my limits. But, this year reminded me to listen to them more.

  2. You doing your best is and will always be enough. Sometimes no matter what you do, it feels like it’s never enough- it never cuts it. It still isn’t going to plan. Doing all you can and your best is all you can do, all that can be expected of you and you shouldn’t expect more of yourself. I know I have stated that previously on my blog, but some difficult situations this year really reminded me of this, and it is something I am still trying to navigate. I find that when it comes to myself I am not always the best at applying and acknowledging that my best genuinely is enough. That my ‘best’ is doing all I can in my current situation, not what I could potentially do if I had nothing going on.

  3. You will handle the exact same situation better some days than others and there is nothing wrong with that - you will have some good days, some better days and some bad days. There are days where it may feel like a struggle and it is alright if all you did is just get through the day. 2020 taught me to take it day by day and sometimes hour by hour. But, to never give up. 

  4. You are always learning about yourself. I thought I had reached a point last year where I had a pretty good idea of who I was as a person. Going through a lot this year really emphasised that I am and will always be growing. How my path will always be changing and it is OK if that is not the expected path you originally planned. Your experience naturally shapes the who you are and who you will become.

  5. You cannot be available for others 24/7 and that does not make you a bad person. There is only so much you can do. There will be situations where other people will have to step in to help and if they do not, it is not you.

  6. I genuinely learnt that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. Some of the situations I managed this year and the way I went about it… I shocked myself. What life threw at me this year were things that I previously thought I would have been absolutely awful at handling or just not been able to cope with at all. But, I handled it and I coped so much better than I ever would have thought. That isn’t to say that I did not struggle a ridiculous amount, was perfect and could not have approached things better - I definitely could have in certain situations and I’ve made a mental note of them.

  7. I have learnt that I actually like to have more control of things in my life than I thought. I feel like up until this year I have not really acknowledged how I do like to feel more in control of my surroundings than I like to think. I have never thought of myself as someone that needs to feel in control because I am naturally more of a spontaneous person. That is still the case - I am content not being in control of everything. But, I think I definitely realised this year that sometimes like many others I do want to be able to control things more than I am able to (life is unpredictable) because it helps give me a sense of security. We all want some sort of security as people- I just need to make sure that it does not spiral to an unhealthy habit and something unrealistic. I also need to remind myself to trust the process when it is outside of my control and slow down.

  8. Reaching out is so so important and you need to talk things through when life gets hard. You need a support network - constantly giving yourself to others and not getting back anything from anyone is not sustainable in the long run. I have typically found it hard to reach out to others when struggling and I still do. Whilst this is something I am still working on, I think I have come a long way in reaching out to people when I need help this year, particularly in the last few months.

  9. Things can always get worse. This is more on the negative side, but it taught me to be grateful for what I have at the moment. There were various points in 2020 where I thought things couldn’t possibly get worse than they already were, and they did. I know that eventually, things will get better as everything is temporary.  But, I think it is important for me to recognise that 2020 did highlight to me that the situation can always be worse, even when you feel you have hit a very low point. It is why you need to be able to recognise and be grateful for what you have in the current moment. 

  10. Despite all the difficulties and struggles this year, I am still very lucky and privileged in so many ways (whilst I am generally aware of this, this year especially emphasised this). Lockdown and isolation reminded me I am so blessed to have a healthy family and a safe home to have stayed in. Helping people in my life I am close to struggling with their mental health and the impact that also had on my own really reminded me how I have never really appreciated in the way I do now how lucky it is to have a healthy mental space. Like most people, I have had points where my mindset was not healthy and quite negative so I have been aware for a while of the importance of mental health, but never in the same way as this year. The end of 2019 and particularly 2020 really opened my eyes and educated me more on just how difficult it can be for people battling with their mental health.

Keep me caffeinated so I can write more 🙂:

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