As we are starting to come out of the latest lockdown here in the UK, we have found ourselves reflecting on the year that has passed. Although time was passing slowly as the days rolled by, we find it hard to believe a full year has passed since the first lockdown. Maybe having a multitude of smaller moments, precious everyday memories, rather than larger events to look back on allow the months to blur in to each other.
There is no doubt that this entire year has been a huge learning curve. The first lockdown was about survival and getting through each day to the best of our ability. As these measures have continued, we have learnt so much about ourselves and our lives.
Here's just a few things we have learned this year.
1. We cannot take anything for granted.
Sure, we knew this before, we flippantly said it to family and friends but this last year has truly cemented this truth for us. Having our movements restricted, our time with loved ones limited or removed has truly made us appreciate the smaller things in life. It has also made us aware of how much we need that social interaction with others. In the times when we have bumped into neighbours and friends and have had a chat, it has certainly had far more profound effect on us than it would have done when we were rushing to get somewhere.
2. Looking after our mental health should always be a priority.
This year has given us the space to really look at what we need in our lives to look after our mental health. There has been no doubt that the isolation of multiple lockdowns has encouraged a downturn in our mental health as we dealt with the 'what-ifs', the worries. It has been so easy to live in our heads this year, we have had to make it a priority to look after ourselves. We all need fun, time to get out of our heads and just 'be'. We've learnt that having fun has helped us to feel more resilient in times of uncertainty. We have reached out to those around us, where we would have been texting before, we have called them, arranged Zoom calls... anything to connect with loved ones more than just through text, something that left a huge smile on our faces.
3. A slower pace of life is definitely healthier.
When lockdown first began, we were unsure what to do with our extra time and compensated with schedules to structure our days. This wasn't negative at all but we realised it was because we needed a stepping stone from 'normal life' to a slower pace. Living a busy life has almost become a badge of honour in today's world, with many feeling as though they are not living a meaningful life if they aren't doing, creating or building something. The reality is however, that there are many ways to live a meaningful life and lockdowns have shown us that this slower pace of life does not mean it is less productive or less meaningful. It is certainly healthier for the environment too.
5. We are more creative than we think.
We are not just talking about our hobbies and creative pursuits, although those have seen us through some tough times this year. We are also talking about the ways in which we have all had to adapt to a new normal. We have seen some of our Ambassadors adapt to online Zoom workshops, suppliers have found new ways of working to provide the best service they can. People all around us have had to get creative and start to think outside the box to create networks and to reach out to others in ways we thought were impossible before.
Most of all however, throughout everything we have learnt we have developed a great sense of gratitude for things big and small in our lives. This year has not been an easy one for anybody, but we hope more positivity can flourish as a result of our experiences throughout the last year.