10 Lessons from 2020: Mental Health, Community, & More
We love a good 2020 meme as much as the next person, but as we end a year where the running joke continues to be ‘the worst year ever’, we can’t help but reflect on what 2020 has taught us.
What if, instead of being the year we all want to forget, 2020 becomes the year we made some crucial realizations that stick with us as (fingers-crossed) things start to slowly get better?
1. MENTAL HEALTH SHOULD ALWAYS BE A PRIORITY
Hand up if you’re battling anxiety and depression this year. Even if you had a way to cope with them before, this really was the year we all got to learn how fragile our mental state can be. And although that was a painful lesson to learn, it also forced us to take the steps we may have been avoiding before with busy schedules or band aid solutions.
Our hope is that anyone struggling right now has been able to seek help if need be and find the routine and tools that help move you forward. Some of our go tos? Journalling, meditating, watching funny movies, asking for help, creating something with our hands, going for a walk, a long cry in the bath, yoga and talking to someone, whether it be a professional, friends and family or even, on occasion, pets.
Pro Tip: Well.ca Services offers virtually consultations with professionals for a number of mental health needs, including Meditation Training, Sleep Coach, Music Therapy and virtual therapy.
2. SUPPORTING LOCAL COMMUNITIES MATTER
Between lockdown, border closures, and travel restrictions, we all had to get to know our local communities much, much better this year. That may have meant buying your produce at the local store you walked by everyday or helping elderly neighbors with errands, or sadly, it might have been watching your favourite restaurant or small shop close down, unable to survive the economic hit we took this year. This was a bittersweet discovery this year, as local business owners and community members continue to struggle, and their neighbours attempt to rally behind them.
For better or worse, we learned the true meaning of community this year, and we’re committed to continuing to support each other, support small and support local to ensure our communities thrive beyond 2020.
Local Brands We Love:
3. THE WORLD IS CHANGING, AND WE ALL HAVE A PART TO PLAY
In late May, you might have been part of the group learning and realizing (maybe for the first time) that social and racial inequality still plagues our society, you may be part of the group that was protesting, or part of the group who has been plagued with those issues your whole life. No matter what your journey is with racial and social inequality, no matter where you find yourself on this painful road from realization, to education, to action and one day, to reconciliation – we all have a part to play, and we can no longer go back to not knowing.
4. MANY OF US CAN WORK FROM ANYWHERE
In March, most of us were sent home (including our Well.ca office team), while many brave front-line workers continued to go in daily, or take turns, ensuring our society stayed functional. Whether you enjoy working from home, are waiting for the day you go back, or somewhere in between, the future of remote working and a work-life balance is bright! 2021 might just be the year we all get to create the work schedule of our dreams.
5. BEING PRODUCTIVE ISN’T EVERYTHING
Prior to 2020, you may have been lost in a sea of obligations. Work, side hustle, friends, volunteering, family time, appointments, concerts, travel, Oy Vey!
In March, that stopped. If you’re lucky, you kept your main employment, but suddenly, everything else was off the table. And as the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, our busy society had to come to terms with something our European counterparts already had a clear grasp on; being productive does not define your self worth.
Suddenly, we were taking two hours walks and indulging in 10-step skincare routines, we were baking for no reason, watching Netflix like our lives depended on it and finding endless random things to entertain our kids with. Not only did our self worth remain completely unaffected, but we learned a lesson or two on the joys of hobbies and the beauty of doing nothing at all (the Italians call this dolce far niente). Cheers to the days we produced nothing at all!
Products we Loved:
6. SELF-CARE IS NOT FRIVOLOUS
Self-Care isn’t a 2020 thing – it’s always been there, circling the parameter of our busy, hectic lives. Maybe in 2019 your self-care consisted of a hot bath once a month, or a guilt-pleasure read on your train to work. One thing is for sure, self-care was synonymous with guilt prior to 2020, we all knew we deserved some alone time, but not at the expense of cancelling plans, missing a deadline or letting someone down, right?
2020 solved that problem, real quick. Self-care was absolute a MUST after back-to-back video calls, a visit with a loved one we couldn’t hug or even after seeing the news each night. It helped us feel what we needed to feel, gave our minds a break and ground our bodies in the chaos of this year.
We’re done feeling bad about taking care of ourselves, and we’re done judging others for the same. Explore a few of our favourites for a little R&R, or try our tested and true (free) self-care moment: three deep breaths in absolute silence.
R&R Products we Love:
7. BOREDOM REALLY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION
This year may have been the first time in a long time you were actually bored. With our work, friends and social lives constantly available at the click of a button or scroll of a finger, we really had lost the art of being bored. Particularly when it comes to the littles.
Boredom breeds creativity, it encourages people (especially kids) to use their imagination in the pursuit of something to do, and because of social media, we were able to participate in people’s delightfully random creations time and time again. From paper-towel-roll slides so that kids could trick-or-treat while social distancing to whipped coffee and endless tik-tok trends, we learned a few new tricks – and we’re able to use the internet in the best way possible – to share and inspire others.
Activities for when you’ve watched everything on Netflix:
8. TIME TOGETHER IS PRECIOUS
In theory, we could split everyone in 2020 into two groups – the people who saw a bit too much of their family (hello parents of small children, we see you!), and those who didn’t see enough.
No matter which camp you fall into, and no matter what your strategy for being cooped up in the house has been – one thing is very clear. Time with each other is precious, and it’ll be awhile before we take it for granted again. Maybe you’re missing your friends or family abroad, missing your coworkers, missing time with adults, away from the kids, missing your grandparents or just missing being able to stand beside a stranger every now and then.
Whatever your case may be, hold onto that feeling as we progress through this challenge and let’s commit to savouring every moment of time together, when we’re lucky enough to get it back.
9. GRATITUDE, GRATITUDE, GRATITUDE
There is a lot to be angry about this year. Some of us are dealing with loneliness, some of us have lost our jobs or business, and a large portion of us have lost people we love.
It’s hard to stay positive through all that, and falling into toxic negativity is easier than ever. And while mourning, being sad and feeling what we’re feeling is incredibly important, seeing the good that remains is too.
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, we recommend the age-old, Oprah-approved method of writing down three things you’re grateful for first thing in the morning. Even if your lists start out as simple as “got dressed today” – this habit will train your mind to focus on the good, no matter what life throws your way.
10. WE CAN SURVIVE ANYTHING
Remember in March, when we were told to stay home for two weeks and it was insane to us? 10 months later, here we are. And although we keep making jokes about how we’re going to get through this, we keep forgetting that we already are getting through this.
Some of us are surviving, some of us are thriving, and some of us are playing the role of backbone for people who can’t do it alone – but we’re here, we’re doing it and we’re going to keep doing it, no matter how much longer it takes. Is it too dramatic to say we’re rock stars? We don’t think so!
We hope that along with all the bad, 2020 has brought you and your loved ones some good to hold onto and bring with you into the next year, whatever it might bring. Give yourself a big round of applause – you got this!
We want to hear from you! What did 2020 teach you?