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COVID-19 Year in Review: What Have You Learned About Yourself?

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It’s an anniversary none of us will celebrate, but one that we will all reflect on. A year ago, we entered our first lockdown - the first lockdown of COVID-19, and likely the only pandemic of our lives. So, it’s a good time to pause, look back, and look forward. Take our three question check-in to see where you’re at – you may be surprised at what you find.

What did you learn about scheduling?
For most of us, much of the last year was spent way quieter. We stayed home, formed our bubbles, and found new ways to keep busy and stay connected. It was a huge change of pace for many of us. Gone were the days of the hurried commute, kid drop-off at school, squeezing in a lunchtime gym workout, and having multiple dinner parties on the weekends. Things suddenly got simpler (not to be confused with easier). To gain insights into how this change impacted you, ask yourself:

  • What did you miss most in this past year? What did you miss the least?
  • Did you like having the pressure of filling up your calendar gone?
  • Did you enjoy time to yourself to focus on hobbies and self-reflection? Or trying to come up with creative ways to connect to others?
  • Did you realize you’re more resilient than you thought?
  • Were you able to adapt in surprising ways? 

Hopefully the changes of the past year helped you learn something new about yourself, or helped you better understand what you really enjoy doing (and those things you don’t miss!).

What healthy (and unhealthy) habits did you develop?
With our routines thrown out the window, our habits were inevitably impacted. Gyms came home (if we were able to make this happen), work came home, childcare came home, entertainment came home. Some of us may have developed positive new routines, such as cooking more meals at home, going for daily walks, or exercising more often. Others may have turned to more binge-eating, alcohol use and…couch-dom. Take stock now, so that you can identify what habits you want to continue fostering, and ones you want to take action on. Identifying what you want to work on is the first step towards forming a plan to meet your goal (e.g., being more active, eating healthier, getting off the couch and outside).

What matters most to you?
Gratitude. That may be the word of 2020. With everyday things we took for granted suddenly taken away, we now value even the simplest actions. A hug. A handshake. A trip to the store. Talking to a waiter. Riding the bus unmasked. A visit from mom. Take a moment to look back and identify what, and who, you hold dear – and are grateful for this past year. Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, improved health, and resilience. By actively practicing it, though a gratitude journal or even telling those you cherish that you cherish them, is just plain good for you. 

We still have challenges ahead – but it’s different now. We have experience under our belt. We know what we need to do to protect ourselves and each other. We have insights on what worked for us. We have lessons on what didn’t. Use what you’ve learned as building blocks for self-discovery and self-growth. 

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"It’s an anniversary none of us will celebrate, but one that we will all reflect on."

 

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.