What lessons are there to learn from 2020?12/18/2020
It’s been a funny old year, eh?
Lockdown has made life tough for us all, and many people will have felt the effects of not being able to see loved ones, being stuck inside or losing their jobs.
But it’s also taught us a lot about what’s truly important to us. We look back at what we’ve gleaned from a year that’s been surprising and lifechanging in so many ways…
Delight in the ordinary
‘With fewer distractions, and by slowing down, we’ve had to look at our habits and find out how best to stay healthy and motivated,’ says Ali McDowall, co-founder of The Positivity Planners. ‘We’ve found value in focusing on the simple rituals that bring us joy, those moments that often pass unnoticed. We’ve also realised self-care is really self-preservation.’
Rosie Peacock, CEO of Conscious Enterprise suggests writing down a list of highlights from the year, however trivial they seem, and reflect on the enjoyment you experienced. ‘By practicing the process of savouring regularly, we give ourselves the tools to cope with negative or challenging situations in the future, as well as being more grateful for what we have.’
‘2020 was so revelatory, not only on a global scale but on a very personal one,’ notes clinical psychologist and author Dr Tony Ortega.
‘What did you learn about yourself you can now build upon in 2021? What things did you really miss doing in 2020 that you have an increased sense of gratitude for now? Make a plan for how to evolve based on this. This is not a New Year’s resolution but an ongoing life plan.
Walk into the new year with that gratitude and increased motivation to do these things (when you can) and in full awareness of how strong you really are. Many of us didn’t know how strong we were prior to 2020, now we know better.’
An appreciation for the present
‘Many invaluable life changing lessons can be gleaned from adversity and 2020 has taught us the importance of living in the now, as it’s virtually impossible to plan for an uncertain future,’ says psychotherapist Keeley Taverner from Key for Change.
‘We learnt the value of living more simply and prioritising what matters and letting go of what no longer serves us. Ultimately, adversity reveals that certainty is unpredictable, and change is inevitable.’
‘2020 has given us more of time to take stock and re-evaluate our lives. While working from home, people have had a little more time to focus on their personal fitness and mental health,’ remarks Jemma Thomas, founder of Jemma’s Health Hub.
‘I hope that people spend more energy doing things they love into 2021. It’s not all about work; it’s about making yourself feel good too.’
The control we have
‘This was a year when we all felt that we had no control, but this wasn’t actually the case,’ says life and business coach, Emma Jefferys.
‘We will always have control over who we are, how we show up for ourselves and others, what we read, who we hang out with, what we share, how we react. We are still in control of everything except circumstances and that can be a powerful thing to remember.’
Regret can be useful
It would be impossible not to have regrets or feel an element of grief for the experiences we lost. ‘It’s been an exceptional time, and the normal rules of working and living have been severely disrupted. We must not be too hard on ourselves for struggling to cope,’ advises Professor Craig Jackson, psychologist at Birmingham City University.
‘The ability to have regrets is a sign of emotional maturity, and the ability to admit to others that we have regrets is a further testament to a healthy mind. A positive use for regrets is to not ignore them and hope they go away, but to listen to them and think about the things we might want to amend, or do, once the opportunities arise again.’
A new perspective
‘There’s no such thing as a waste of time. Every situation teaches us something if we’re willing to switch our perspective,’ says life coach Taz Thornton.
‘Very often, situations like this shine a light on cracks we’ve been papering over for far too long – relationships, career, mindset.
‘We can keep bemoaning the situation that forced us to open our eyes, or we can recognise this as the kick we needed to create change. Change is rarely comfortable, but the end result can be a much happier life.’
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