It is no secret that 2020 was an abysmal year all together. Covid-19 happened, and all our worlds stopped turning. Though, we are making progress with new vaccines being rolled out to our most vulnerable and front-line workers, life is still vastly different. Normal doesn’t really exist anymore, and it hasn’t done for a while. Were having to take every precaution and limit our social lives.
However, despite how awful it has been, I am grateful for the year we’ve just had, because it has opened my eyes like no other. For the last few years, I have struggled more and more with my mental health, mainly with anxiety, self-love, and motivation, which noticeably worsened during the pandemic. For the most part of those years, I wasted my time not doing anything about it and now I realise the impact of that. Before 2020, I had always been in a position where I could distract myself by seeing friends, going for drinks, just being a sociable young adult, I suppose. As a result, my mental health was spiralling, and I was completely oblivious to how bad it was.
So yes, 2020 has been the most difficult year of some of our lives, mine included, but it has also made me aware of where I am going wrong. It has pushed me to realise that you can’t just push your insecurities, darkest fears and so on to the back of your mind, because it will ultimately manifest itself and cause you more detriment in the long run. You never know what can happen. For instance, the whole world could be put on hold and all your distractions could be stripped away in a blink of an eye.That is what happened to me and I’m sure so many others too.
With that in mind, I have set myself some goals for 2021 to improve my overall perception of myself and my outlook on life. I guess you could call them resolutions, I just prefer the term goals (mainly because I have never stuck to a new year’s resolution in my life.) These are just small changes/additions to my day-to-day life but hopefully they’ll have a huge impact on my happiness.
The first one of these being…
Now, journaling may seem like the easiest thing to just start doing, but let me tell you… I have tried time and time again to start journaling consistently and it never goes to plan. It sounds crazy but I wound up putting so much pressure on myself to write an entry everyday that it becomes a chore. Though I know I never needed to write an entry every day because it was only ever going to be for me, my head said otherwise. So, to solve that problem, I have decided that my journal for 2021 is an ‘as and when journal’ which means I don’t have to write in it every day. I can pick and choose when I feel the need to make a note whether that be to vent, to remember a great day or just to spill my emotions out on a page frantically.
In all honesty, I thought I would end up sacking it off but were currently ten days into 2021 and so far, so good! Now I’ve got it out of my head that it needs to be consistent, I am thriving. I think one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is because I look forward to reading it back (and hopefully be able to see my progress within it.) I like that I can look back in ten, even five years’ time and reminisce on my life and all the ups and downs that come with it. I guess you could say I see it as my own little auto biography and who doesn’t want that.
If you feel like you need a safe space that remains private and personal, a journal can be that place. I would highly recommend this as release of any internal stress’ or worries.
Again, meditating is something I have struggled to get on board with. Despite being told by friends and even doctors that it is so beneficial for the mind, I am just a very impatient person and I find it to be too slow paced for me. It sounds shallow but I just get bored and switch off.
However, when you think about it logically, meditation is literally there to take a time out and slow down. It is something that I struggle to do but I realise that it is necessary. Due to my anxiety, I am in constant need of a distraction to feel good, but I know that is no healthy way to live. So, I’m giving it another go. I’ve set myself a goal of meditating at least two times a week. I know this isn’t much, but if you’re a beginner I think it is more than enough to start with.
I do still have my days where my mind won’t allow me to shut off, but when it does, I do feel so much calmer both physically and mentally. The tension leaves my body (even if it is for a few minutes) and my thoughts seem clearer.
If this is something you haven’t tried, I do think it is worth having a go. Maybe you have tried it, but it doesn’t seem to work. To that I would say be persistent. I am still trying to be better with it myself. All I know, is that it’s a great way to train your mind to rest when it is very much needed.
Year in pixels:
This is such a small thing that I’m planning to do daily throughout this year. It requires no effort at all, but I feel it would be rewarding/interesting to look back on at the end of 2021. Before I go on to explain what my year in pixels is, I do just want to say… I have completely nabbed this idea from one of my best friends who did it last year. I know that she really enjoyed doing it and i wanted to give it a go myself.
Essentially, this is graph of everyday of the year with boxes I can colour in with a key for each colour. For example, my green boxes represent my stressed days, and my purple boxes represent my normal days. This is proving more difficult to explain than I thought, but that is okay because I have added a picture below of mine so far.
The reason I wanted to do this is because it is not only interesting to look back on, but it will also hopefully put things into perspective by the end of the year. If my completed graph shows me that I have way more good/normal days than bad (which I already know is likely), I think that will do wonders for my mindset, just to know that the positives outweigh the negatives…you know. I think it’ll be a great way to work on my gratitude.
If this is something you want to try, all you need is a notebook/bit of paper, some coloured pens, or pencils and that is literally all.
As I said at the beginning of this post, these are just small additions to my routine that will hopefully improve my mindset. Whether it will work or not is a different story, but i am feeling positive about it. Trial and error is still progress and progress is better than nothing at all.
If you have any tips to kick start the year right do comment below. I hope you have an amazing 2021!