LESSONS LEARNED IN 2020
JANUARY 22, 2021
2020 was a chaotic year of strangely uneventful days. I mean, think about it.
This past year, Americans endured a Global Pandemic, protests and riots across the country and a highly controversial presidential election. The difficulties were multiplied for minority communities: Asian Americans faced hostility at the start of Covid-19 and Black Americans mourned the loss of fellow citizens with widespread uprisings against racial injustice. Yet the weirdest part of 2020 was experiencing all the craziness...from our living room couches. We can probably all agree that working and studying from home over the past nine months has been a journey. And like all journeys, there’s been good parts, bad parts, and lessons learned.
The Importance of Well-being and Self Care
Odds are, you’ve probably seen blog posts, magazine articles, and books on ‘well-being’ and ‘self-care.’ The topic has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, especially this past one. But when we talk about well-being and self-care, we mean more than just a ‘Life is short! Buy the shoes!’ mentality. For self care to really be effective, it must encompass the mind, body and spirit.
- Mind: The brain, like all organs, can be healthy or unhealthy. Last year, many Americans felt that their mental health declined during the Covid-19 lockdown. We ought to pay attention to the thoughts we’re thinking and try making changes if we recognize overarching negative tendencies.
- Body: This category is more straightforward than the other two, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the easiest! Last year we indulged in creature comforts (pizza, Netflix, and lounging) but had to learn moderation and mix in good amounts of veggies, exercise, and fresh air.
- Spirit: This category is likely the most vague and disputed. Yet when the world feels so upside down, it’s only natural to look for truth, meaning, and answers. If you sometimes wonder “Is there more to life than this?” don’t ignore the thought—pursue it.
The Importance of Rhythms for Work Life Balance
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t remember how many times I lost track of what day it was last year (ironic, right?). And I know a lot of people felt this way, with the hundreds of memes jokingly noting that the 2020 calendar was a truly “useless purchase”! However, it’s important to remember that healthy habits and good rhythms help us maintain a work life balance and keep us productive, active, and organized. Using a daily workout plan, having a weekly call with a friend, or joining a monthly video book club can motivate us to be more active and give us something to look forward to!
The Importance of Community
Covid-19 basically meant that every fun social gathering was cancelled, but it also taught us the value of community. “No man is an island” as the old saying goes and it’s one we should always remember. So, if you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a friend. If you suspect a friend, grandparent, cousin, or classmate might be feeling lonely, reach out and reconnect even if it’s just to say hello. With limited social gatherings, it’s hard to know how people in our life are really doing. One way to find out is to send a friendly text, DM, or give them a call. And I guarantee that it will lift your spirit too – as we’re all in this together!
The Importance of Patience
It seems that we’re all just waiting. Waiting to receive the vaccine. Waiting for events to be rescheduled. Waiting for the school or office to reopen. Waiting for life to get back on track. Waiting for the world to get back to normal. And, all of these things require patience. We don’t know how the world events have affected those around us, so it’s probably best to assume that people in our circle are just doing the best they can. Likewise, we may not fully appreciate the gravity with which we’ve been personally affected. Therefore we need to not only be patient with others but kind to ourselves.
The Importance of Compassion
If nothing else, last year definitely taught us the need for genuine compassion. The pandemic caused fear, the systemic injustices caused protests, the election caused tension, and the storming of the captiol caused chaos. But, the moments where we worked together to support first responders, flatten the curve, care for those who were grieving, and even watched countries come together to find a vaccine, were amazing and inspiring. The word 'compassion' literally means 'to suffer with'. Who are you choosing to suffer with? Who are you choosing to love? At AngeLink we believe that love is the way forward. We'd like to see a future that's known for its love, its kindness, and its compassion.
To Wrap it Up2020 was a difficult year that none of us will ever forget. But I believe it taught us a truly profound lesson, to pay attention to the well-being of our mind, body, and spirit. It taught us to create rhythms to prevent our days, weeks and months from turning into mashed potatoes. It taught us to invite others into our loneliness and reach out to those who may need a little extra help. It taught us how to embrace the slow, painful, and lovely process…of learning patience. And perhaps most importantly, it taught us to look beyond ourselves and love and care for others--not just 'including' those who are different from us, but 'especially' those who are different from us.