Well, as 2020 comes to a close, I go into my yearly habits. I make a master to-do list, deep clean the house, and enjoy time with my family. One of the biggest things that I do at the end of each year is to reflect upon the passing year while planning for the year to come.
After all of the confusion, stress, and exhaustion of 2020, many are glad to see it go, but a new year doesn't necessarily create a clean, all-new chapter. Many of the things we dealt with in 2020 will still be around in 2021, but there are some takeaways from the learning experiences of 2020.
This year we learned the importance of self-care like never before. We tested our skills of balance and juggling. We revised plans over and over again until we (hopefully) found what worked. We spent more time with our immediate family while missing and losing so many. This year had highs and lows, heartbreaking turmoil, and unrest like we've never experienced. 2020 at times, felt like the perfect storm. I'll admit, there were many days where I felt like I was walking up a sandy mountain in rain boots. So, how do we carry the lessons we've learned this year to help with the uncertainty of the upcoming year during the pandemic?
We must shift our mindset and look forward to the opportunity of each day.
Within it, each day carries possibility, hope, & expectations.
During a pandemic, I have learned that there are moments when we need to make intentions simple and attainable. For 2021, I'm laying some ground rules.
My 5 Rules for 2021:
1. Find joy in everyday
Every joy. Whether it's simply feeling the sun or your face wit your bare feet in the dirt, enjoying comfort food, or watching your favorite show, do something every day that makes you smile.
2. Make memories
Spending every day isolated for months on end can be frustrating. We suffered a lack of social engagement filled with uncertainty and had to learn new tricks just to keep everything balanced. During the performance of our magic tricks, it could be difficult to see an opportunity for creating lasting memories. I tried to shift my mindset, which was hard at times (like when it felt like there were 195 days in March), but I tried to notice and take advantage of the opportunities for creating enduring and smile-inducing memories.
3. Give yourself grace
If there is one lesson I've learned this year, it's that I need to be kind to myself and be my own cheerleader, not my drill sergeant 24/7. I've always been hard on myself with big expectations of what I want to accomplish with my time on Earth. However, the waves of the day to day flow don't always allow for the feeling of accomplishment. I had to change the way I approached each day and how I viewed success. I learned that every project cannot be finished in a day, nor a week sometimes. While juggling several balls in the air, some are going to drop, and that's okay. The takeaway is knowing which balls break when dropped. If it all doesn't get finished right now, it's alright. Take a deep breath, acknowledge your accomplishments at the end of the day and try again tomorrow.
4. Be flexible
My 2020 daily lesson: A plan is a set of ideas not set in stone. Every day I write a 'Get To-Do' list and every day I feel like I revise it. It's been a frustrating battle of organization and time management during these past few months. Every day has it's own unexpected challenges and hurdles, especially with a toddler, but I had to learn to be flexible and allow for change. Finding a rhythm that works every day is hard, and while it may not look or feel the same as the day before, being open to maneuver through uncertainty to weather the tide may just be your best bet of survival.
5. Have fun
The best piece of advice I received this year was to just have fun. While performing a balancing act of new proportions this year, I tried to keep things simple. Being a preschool teacher, I loved the moments of entering school and leaving much of my personal "stuff" at the door for a few hours and focusing on my students and their families. I lost a bit of that separation during the pandemic. I had to find a way not to let the personal "stuff" of my day take over my whole day now that I was at home. So, we had dance breaks, bubble parties, and video chats with family around the country. I had zoom happy hours with friends and relished in quiet snuggle times with my growing little one. I was reminded in these fleeting moments, that my family is the reason why I do all I do. I want to create bonds and memories with my family that will remain with them long after I'm gone. Many of those memories are created in moments of happiness and fun.
I hope 2020 has left you wiser, more determined, and healthier for 2021. I'd love to know what lessons you've learned and are taking into the new year with you, feel free to share it with me!
Happy New Year!!!