On the year ahead…
It feels like this latest lockdown stretch is really dragging, I’ve never felt so exhausted, defeated, hopeless and drained! I am itching for a taste of my old life, or even just some of the privileges (for lack of a better word!!) that we had last year when things opened up again for that brief, brief spell. Now that Spring is on the horizon, the days are getting longer and the weather is improving, I feel like I’m feeling happier too. I wanted to stop and take stock and sort of assess how I’m feeling and where I’m at with life right now, it’s something I do often when I need a bit of motivation. Right now I want to feel hopeful and positive about the coming year as restrictions start to lift, but I also want to think about how I can take some of the lessons I’ve learned in lockdown and help to shape a new life for myself going forward.
I think a lot of us have made the most out of a bad situation this past year; we’ve realised about resilient we are, how much we need a good support network to lean on, and how important it is to look after our mental health and general wellbeing! So while it’s been a bit of a chaotic ol’ time, I know there’s parts of this new life I want to hold on to.
01. On learning to slow down. I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that lockdown has definitely encouraged a slower, more manageable way of life! Without the time spent commuting and travelling, as well as less meetings and events, we’ve been able to carve out more time for hobbies, side hustles, and spare time doing nothing at all. I love the slower pace – with less travel and work commitments (and less pressure on myself too!), I have time each morning to go for a big walk without feeling the need to run back to my desk, I take an actual lunch break or spend an hour away from my phone in the afternoons if I feel like it. I’ve spent way more time outdoors, we have more time to cook healthier dinners and I have a dreamy self-care routine on the weekends that involves cleaning my flat followed by a pamper session!
In my old life, I never had enough time for a routine – with back to back trips, meetings, catch-ups and social events, I just spread myself too thin and always felt like any spare time went to catching up on life admin! I really appreciate having time for myself these days, and I’m absolutely going to be taking these new routines with me as we eventually (hopefully!!) move out of lockdown.
02. On being kinder to myself. I thought turning 30 would pass me by without much thought, I’ve never been one to fret about age or growing older, but actually I’ve embraced this new decade with a more positive outlook and a better state of mind. I am kinder to myself, I feel the best I’ve ever felt and I have a sort of care-free approach to life that I never had in my twenties. I feel comfortable and content in my skin, I am good to myself when I look in the mirror and I feel like I encourage the people around me to do the same. I like to think I am a good influence; promoting a happy way of life, as well as body positivity and the importance of self-care and looking after yourself. I think 30 suits me – I’ve accepted the way I look, my quirks and flaws, and I’ve embraced who I am as a person. Surely there can be no better feeling than that.
03. On appreciating my friends. I am what I like to call a “sister of brothers”, I am the only girl in a family of three boys and I grew up climbing trees, hanging out with my brother’s friends and generally being a tomboy. I wasn’t the best at female friendships while I was at school or university, although it wasn’t intentional – I was just used to being around boys! Even now I naturally gravitate to conversations with my friend’s husbands or the guys in our group of friends, but I’ve also spent a lot of time undoing these habits that were so ingrained in me from childhood. I’ve had the same group of best girl friends for the last ten years, and in the last five years or so we’ve become a very close-knit unit. I trust them with my life and I know I can truly be myself around them. The pandemic has really put pressure on friendships, so to come out of it with a stronger bond is quite something.
It’s been hard, though – without seeing each other regularly and instead only relying on communicating through texts or calls, you just don’t always get that same familiarity and it can be hard to keep up the closeness without face-to-face contact.
Thankfully, my relationships with my best friends have flourished. We are there for each other no matter what, and I am forever grateful to have such a wonderful support network.
04. On keeping on track with my goals. I set myself so many goals each year but I never think of myself as particularly driven; I just jot down some things I’d like to achieve each year and then try to keep them in sight as I go about my life. I don’t put too much pressure on myself because I think we can only guide ourselves in the right direction, and some things will happen in their own time. Saying that, I’ve tried to push myself this year – in new directions with my content, at trying my hand at new ventures and saying yes to opportunities that come my way. I have a very relaxed approach to my career but there are definitely goals I’ve set my sights on that I hope will eventually fall in to place, whether that’s next year or in five or even ten years time. It’s all a bit of a journey, so timelines don’t worry me too much, but I think it’s motivating to have some idea of where you want to be in the coming years or to at least have something to work towards.
I hope things start to pick up for us all soon – I know there are elements of our old lives we’re desperate to get back to, and I hope you’re feeling hopeful about the next chapter but also reflective about how you can make some positive changes to your life! It’s good to stop and assess where you’re at every now and again, and I can only hope this post has inspired you to do just that.
What are you feeling good about right now?