This time of year I always look back at resolutions I’ve made years prior that lasted a whole month(ok week) before I gave up and went back to my old ways. After living the year 2020 I’m taking this time to reflect on some hard lessons I learned during this time and how I want to live in 2021. The year 2020 did not go as planned like many of us had hoped, but reflecting on this time spent at home really opened my eyes to certain values and behaviors I want to change in the new year.
- Family First: This year my mom kept reminding me that as long as my family was healthy and safe that was all that mattered. I was often concerned about our mental health during the quarantine, but we had each other and were all healthy. I keep thinking I will look back and be grateful for the extra time I had with my children when things go back to ‘normal’. Both my kids will be in school all day soon so I like to think I’m lucky to hold on a little longer to these last few years when they are little and still want to be with me. I also realized how much I took for granted seeing extended family regularly until it was taken away. I can’t wait to see family members I haven’t seen since February.
- You are nothing without your health: 2020 definitely opened my eyes to eating better, exercising, and making my health a priority. I got very sick in February (I’m assuming it was covid-19 as I had all of the symptoms then before testing was available) and it was a chain reaction to other health problems. So whereas in past years I would make resolutions about drinking more water and eating healthier now these aren’t options, but necessary going forward. In the past I put my self care to the wayside to my family’s needs, but it is true you really can’t pour from an empty cup and I’m making an effort to work on this in the new year.
- Slow it Down: I can’t tell you how many times I said I was so busy. The hustle and bustle of daily life really left me feeling worn down. Last December I remember driving my daughter to an ice skating competition two states over and driving back for a nutcracker practice the afternoon of the same day. My mom friends thought I was crazy and I was! We were always overcommitted and I was exhausted. Then, the stay at home order began. I can’t tell you how many projects I finished because I wasn’t racing out the door for the next obligation. I am the type of person to look to the future, or worry about what is coming up. During the quarantine there were no social obligations and really no plans. For the first time I felt present with my children and this is something I strive to work on more. The quarantine really showed me that slowing down can be so amazing.
- Take time for Hobbies and things that bring you Joy: I’m not going to say these quarantines have been easy. As a mom of two young kids there literally is no escape some days except for bed time. I finally had to force myself to escape. I have really been wanting to take up reading again, but to sit down with a book is pretty much not happening these days. I started listening to audiobooks and I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Whenever I’m folding laundry, doing dishes, or I make my husband do bath time I take a bit of an escape with audiobooks. I forgot how much I loved reading and I am really trying to add books of different genres to my library in the new year.
- Less really is More: We have been home a lot. I have seen all the stuff we have in our home… a lot. I have picked up the things in our home…a lot. And well I’m kind of over it..a lot. I think we all became a little ‘The Home Edit’ obsessed this year because seeing clutter in our houses is really energy draining. Since we were home so much I really took inventory of how much we accumulated. I can honestly say that my kids don’t play with half the toys in our house. I don’t wear half the clothes in my closet. I am on a mission next year to declutter and minimize my house to the fullest after spending so much time in it to alleviate the clutter in my life that I believe is not helping my anxiety.
- Take every opportunity that comes along; Live like there is no tomorrow: Another reason for a minimal house is I don’t want to be tied down to cleaning on the weekends or when I know people are coming over. When (or if) things get better in 2021 I want to be able to do all the things. I don’t want to be overwhelmed with chores and errands. As an introvert I can be a homebody by nature, but even I am looking forward to taking trips, trying new things, and experiencing adventures with my kids.
- Express Gratitude: 2020 really bared us down to be grateful for the small things like paper towel and toilet paper. With so much suffering and bad news, it’s easy to get bogged down by the negative. I found myself really wanting to stop being a negative person and complaining so much. I just started reading “Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy” for a plan to start adding gratitude into my daily life.
This year was not what I had hoped for and it’s been especially hard to watch my children live through 2020, but I’m hopeful that the lessons I learned will help shape a better 2021. This ‘opportunity’ to slow down really opened my eyes to things I’m doing wrong in life and I’m excited to see what 2021 brings no matter what it looks like. Cheers to a new year!
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow’ – Melody Beattie