Wow, what a year and what a massive learning curve I’ve been on! The pandemic has had such a huge impact on everyone, but amongst the sadness there has been rays of sunshine.

As we approach 2021 I’m reflecting on the last 12 months. I have learnt so much this year, about myself, about people and most of all about what I really need around me to keep me feeling balanced and to help maintain my smile!

I thought I’d share some of my experiences with you, some of which might strike a chord, or perhaps they may resonate with you.

Most people that know me would probably say I’m a pretty busy bee, with quite a few projects on the go at any one time. During this year this has definitely been a saving grace, but has also acted as my own worst enemy at times. I’ve had to focus on finding a healthier balance, as during the first lockdown I found myself keeping so busy, which I began to realise was partly to avoid the feelings of loneliness. Thankfully I had close friends to keep an eye on me, and I found a balance that seems to be easier to manage moving into the second lockdown and the further restrictions most of us now find ourselves in. I think I must be one of few that didn’t succumb to Netflix box sets, but there’s always 2021 to watch Game of Thrones!?

I’ve realised more than ever, how much I value the close connection of individual friendships, something that Zoom group calls will never make up for. I will always be grateful for those people that have reached out, and the thoughtful acts of kindness during my lowest points.

I have always been a bit of a planner, and being more present is something I’ve been working on over the last few years, but more than ever this year has taught me to be grateful for the small stuff, the every day things that sometimes we take for granted. Although it’s a bit cliche to say at the moment, it doesn’t matter whether it’s appreciating being surrounded by nature, or receiving a card from someone that’s taken the time to write something special to you, or your local coffee shop owner who offers you a coffee on the house because you’ve supported a local business, (when they have actual no idea how much of life line they’ve been to you), those things have meant the difference to me between surviving and actually living in 2020.

The one thing I really hope that everyone will take into 2021 is the realisation that everyone has mental health. This it’s just something a small minority of people have to manage. Everyone’s mental health can fluctuate, and just like the next person, anyone of us can fall into dark times, but with love, support, and an open conversation, without judgement I hope we can all look out for each other.

Here’s just a few of my personal highlights from this year

  1. Being able to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday, 2020 socially distance style, with my closest family
  2. Having a very emotional, much needed hug from my sister in law Benedicte after the first lockdown was over
  3. Being able to share my passion for art with my niece, Ella and my friend’s daughter Bella, in our Zoom Art sessions
  4. Finding my creative mojo again, and enjoying the escapism of painting
  5. Receiving amazing and heartwarming feedback from my coaching clients through a difficult time
  6. Valuing the support from amazing friends and family which has helped me through the loneliness, and reciprocating that by helping others
  7. Feeling grateful for my health and my body, which has allowed me to experience numerous beautiful walks, rides and runs, not to mention much needed online yoga sessions with my dear friend Em
  8. Appreciation for the beauty on my door step, I’ve never needed the sea so much!
  9. Spending quality time with my family, walking really does give you the best time to properly talk
  10. Xmas day like I’ll never forget – Christmas 2020 style, in a farm shed!

Happy New Year everyone and keep safe!

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