Life lessons I’ve learnt so far in 2020 during the pandemic and throughout everything that’s gone on
2020 has been a roller coaster of a year. I don’t think anyone could have predicted just how wild this year was truly going to be. The scariest part? We are only halfway through it. Like everyone else, I have no idea what the rest of the year will bring. I just hope it’s better than the first half! As of now with COVID-19 around I know many are dealing with loss, sadness, financial worries and a whole wave of emotions. I’ve personally have found the whole situation has massively had an impact on my mental health but this is something I’m trying to get under control. I myself have been furloughed from work for a few months now. Although as a whole I’ve been tackling lockdown boredom fairly well, I’ve still had A LOT of time to think. That being said, I’ve actually learned quite a few life lessons. These life lessons have been about myself and life in general. So I thought I’d share some of those life lessons with you all today.
1. I don’t spend enough time truly focusing on my mental health
My mental health is a bit of a whirlwind at times. Having anxiety and depression with non-epileptic seizures thrown in can be exhausting. Often at times in the past when I’ve been having a bad MH day I’ve tried to ignore it. During this time I’ve tried to force myself to do things and set unrealistic goals for myself. In a way, I’ve basically set myself up for failure and as a result, I end up feeling even worse about myself. You know, despite the fact that deep down I know I shouldn’t be pushing myself because in the end, I know I’m just not in the right frame of mind.
So instead of ignoring my feelings and trying to act as if I’m in tip-top condition when I’ve been feeling like complete rubbish, I’ve taken a different approach. I’ve accepted that setting myself huge goals is a cocktail for disaster and I’ve recognised that taking time for myself isn’t weak or being a failure. It’s called self-care and self-care is SO important. I can’t stress that enough.
2. I love adore being creative and should put more time aside to do so
Another of the many life lessons I’ve learnt during the pandemic and wild year that is 2020 is that I adore being creative. Whether it be cooking and playing around with flavours, writing, experimenting with my camera or just simply doodling, I love being creative. I just love how I am able to just allow my mind to run free and my ideas flow. I’m also a big fan of how therapeutic and distracting being creative truly is. I think when I’m creating something that is probably when I’m most happy and content. It’s just nice to escape things that are troubling you whilst also expressing yourself in various different ways. I think in the future I’d really like to get into other creative hobbies. For example, resin art, painting and maybe even some form of needlecraft.
3. I often undervalue myself and don’t recognise my achievements no matter how big or small they are
One thing I’ve really noticed in 2020 is that I often massively undervalue myself. Whether it be in terms of my skills, my personality or even my looks. I’m often too critical or harsh on myself. This is something I’m actively working on improving. Now I’m not saying I want to have this huge egotistical attitude. I think there’s definitely a difference between having confidence & being comfortable in yourself and having this huge ego & an “I’m better than everyone else” attitude.
As humans, I think we should all have confidence and feel good and proud of ourselves. I mean it can only help in terms of things like our mental health and attitudes. Obviously for many like myself being overly self-critical is a deep-rooted issue that’s going to take time to improve. It’s certainly not an overnight fix. However, with an open mind and a little bit of work, it’s definitely something that can be improved.
Don’t be afraid to celebrate and acknowledge your life wins and achievements, no matter how big or small they may be
So how am I trying to fix this issue in myself? Well, I’m simply acknowledging and celebrating all of my wins, no matter how big or small they may be. When you suffer from poor mental health it’s easy to beat yourself up and totally overlook your daily achievements. I think a lot of it for me has to do with comparing yourself to others. I’m personally guilty of this. I often see various people online posting about these really huge amazing achievements. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super happy and proud of those people. However, it does make me think and question my own life, choices and achievements.
When this happens there are two things I have to remind myself. The first is that often people only share the really good parts of their life online. Most people don’t share their struggles, worries and insecurities. So whilst I might look at this person’s achievement and think “Wow, that’s incredible, they’re so lucky” I have no idea what it might have taken for that person to achieve such a thing nor do I know what that person goes through on a daily basis.
The second thing I remind myself is that we are all different. We all have different circumstances, insecurities and things that we are dealing with and working on. Therefore, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others and their achievements. Just think, what might be a little achievement for you, may actually be a big achievement for someone else and vice versa. We are our own person. Comparing ourselves to others can do more harm than good. Also, life isn’t a competition. Everyone’s journey is different.
4. Focusing on positivity rather than negativity is massively important
This life lesson kind of ties in with the last. For a long time, I’ve always leaned more to focusing on negativity. For example, I’d worry about potential problems before they’d even occurred and I’d always jump to the absolute worst-case scenario. You know, things that realistically wouldn’t happen and even if they did they’d probably not be nearly as bad as I’d made them out to be in my head. I mean there’s being a pessimist and then there’s being, well, a bit over the top. Don’t get me wrong I think being realistic and cautious in life is fine but worrying yourself over things to the point where you’re ill and in a constant state of worry is not good.
So yeah, you can probably imagine how bad the COVID-19 situation heightened this issue within me. I got to the point where I was constantly thinking about the worst-case scenario in every aspect of my life. It was like I just couldn’t switch off. I tried to distract myself but it was almost impossible. Then I got to the point where I was just completely exhausted. It’s then when I asked myself the question “What the hell am I doing? This worry is not helping anything.” Seeing the many people losing their lives day after day also made me think about how unpredictable and short life really can be. Enough was enough. I couldn’t live this way any longer. So from then on, I told myself no more over the top worrying.
Try to look for the good in every situation where possible
So what’s my plan now? Well, I try my hardest to look at the positive things in life. I’ve been trying my hardest to really look for the good in every possible situation instead of focusing on the negative. When things happen and I do find myself being negative I stop and think about what it’s actually achieving. Its kind of like nipping the bad thoughts in the bud and boy has it helped. By being in a more positive mindset I’ve found myself feeling happier and more optimistic.
I’ve also found that certain things I used to worry about massively no longer bother me at all. Why? Well because I’m in the mindset that if something bad is going to happen, it’ll happen regardless. Worrying isn’t going to change that. Plus, if it does happen, it more than likely won’t nearly be as bad as I think it will be because I’ll adapt, come up with a solution or just simply get through the problem.
5. When it all boils down to it, a lot of things really don’t matter
One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learnt is that when it all boils down to it, a lot of things really don’t matter. Unnecessary materialistic things you thought you couldn’t live without? They don’t matter. The opinions of that god awful toxic person who you have to endure in your life? They don’t matter. For me personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of things in life just don’t matter. When it comes to life I think as long as you’re happy, fed, watered and you’ve got your loved ones everything will be fine. Often life is so hectic and we fixate and focus on the stupidest of things. Instead, we should be using the limited time we have to do good, spend more time on things that matter and less time on things that don’t add joy or value to our lives.
If you’re struggling, you’re never alone
I hope you enjoyed reading my life lessons. That being said, I know that life can be incredibly difficult and I know now more than ever people are finding life particularly difficult. If you’re someone who’s struggling, please understand that you’re not alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Below I’ve compiled a list of helpful websites that are offer support and advice around the topics of mental health and COVID-19.