Every year we hopefully learn a few life lessons - but this past year has been like no other.
Being locked down at home while also going through a divorce and homeschooling and trying to find a resemblance of something that used to be me a decade ago, this year has taught me seven lessons that I will never forget:
1. Embrace technology.
For someone who has a website, a blog, social media, a subscription platform, and online programs, technology is ever-present in my life... yet technology and I have a love-hate relationship. The endless nights I have cursed my computer just before a new launch, the times my child suddenly screamed "I have to go potty" in the background of a live call, and the numerous occasions I would give long speeches only to realize 10 minutes into it that my mic wasn't working properly. Yeah, there have been many times I have hated technology.
And yet, aren't we so incredibly lucky that this pandemic happened at a time where we could still be connected with each other through FaceTime, when we are able to seamlessly work from home through Zoom meetings, and when apps allow us to order food and medicine to our homes so we don’t even have to leave unless we really want to? Technology has truly been a life-safer this year!
2. Connection with other humans isn't just about meeting up for a coffee.
This past year I have connected with more old friends from all over the world than ever before. Maybe because we were all tired of just sitting around binge-watching Netflix shows. Or maybe because we all realized that we don’t actually need to meet up in person to catch up and be there for each other. It's been a year of letting beautiful friendships blossom and also excitedly making travel plans post-pandemic to actually go visit all of these lovely humans. Loneliness has been hard on all of us and yet I keep thinking how grateful I am for these connections that have gotten me through the last year.
3. I now understand my clients who hate cooking.
Even though I have always cooked a lot, there were still a couple of meals we would eat out for fun every week. And cooking those couple of meals extra has killed me this last year.
I have realized that eating out isn't just about fun or celebrating, but also for convenience's sake. Eating out gives you inspiration to cook again at home and gives you a much-deserved break from standing in the kitchen all day. Because that is literally what I felt like in the last year: thrown back into my first year of nursing a newborn like a cow on tap. The amount of snacks needed to keep a toddler entertained all day at home requires multiple trips to the store every week and a lot of "I don't care anymore, just eat the crumbs from the floor!"-attitude.
I used to love to cook and now have a hard time motivating myself in the kitchen. I totally get all my clients now who don't love to cook. Perhaps this requires me to create a new program or ebook or something?!
4. Self-care doesn't mean a trip to the spa!
My breaking point came at day 103 when I had realized we hadn't left the house in months, we had zero interaction with other people, and - most importantly - I had had no seconds just to myself to breathe, read a book, have a shower, or simply just day dream. Every single day was full on and I wasn't just running low on gas; I had been out of gas for weeks simply surviving on chocolate.
I have always preached that self-care isn't selfish, that self-care doesn't have to mean a fancy trip to the spa. Self-care simply means you recharge your batteries somewhere where they are not simultaneously being drained. For me that meant that once a week at 5.30AM I would leave the house and go for a hike. No dog. No child. No ex-husband. It was pure bliss. It didn't cost anything. It didn't take up a ton of time because everyone was still asleep. And it was the best self-care I could give myself in this moment.
5. I can live with less.
I always used to think of myself as a big city girl. I loved living right downtown for most of my life with walking distance to restaurants, cinemas, and action. I already left that life behind after Baby Zand's birth and this past year has just solidified the fact that I can live without a lot locked away in a home that is comfortable and I love spending time in. That is really the key! All the outside stuff can be fun once in a while, but it's your home and the people in it that give you comfort in life.
6. Health is our true wealth.
I recently read somewhere on social media (and please, if you know who originally said this, let me know so I can give them credit!), what if the government hadn't just mandated masks and staying at home a year ago? What if they had also told us to eat vegetables and fruits every day, drink more water, move our body daily, get 8 hours of sleep every night, and see a mental health specialist once a week? What could the world and our health look like today?