ArticlesMental Health

Coming to Terms with the Year that Wasn’t

By January 29, 2021 No Comments

2020 - the year that wasn'tWere you one of those who stood there on the Eve of 2019, toasted to 2020 with a big smile on your face, and vowed to make it ‘your year’? With 2020 being the “year that wasn’t”, like many others you are probably feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and hard-done-by.

2020 was challenging, tiring, and taxing in terms of physical, mental, and emotional health. It most certainly was the year that wasn’t, and there is no concrete evidence that 2021 will be much different. Needless to say, most of us are feeling down and deflated. Here’s how to come to terms with it and to start looking at the New Year with a more positive perspective.

What we learnt from the year that wasn’t

Considering how much in-class teaching time was lost as a result of the pandemic and South Africa’s lockdown, it is easy to feel as though we weren’t as productive as we could’ve been. However, while we might not have covered as much coursework as we planned, it is incorrect to say that learning was scarce.

2020 taught us a lot. How to manage stress, how to be comfortable in our own company, how to tighten the purse strings. Most importantly, it taught us how to be resilient and keep going despite being faced with great uncertainty.

What we did

We missed out on a lot of parties and get-togethers. We didn’t have the opportunity to go away on a well-deserved mid-year break. We didn’t see as much of our friends and family members as we would have liked. But we did learn more about ourselves. We did learn new skills by embracing online learning and free online courses. We did discover what is most important in our lives.

How we felt

Even the cheeriest of individuals probably found themselves feeling lost, anxious, and depressed at least some of the time throughout the course of the year. Lockdown wreaked havoc on practically everyone’s mental health in one way or another.

While it is difficult to find the positive in all of that, we can celebrate the fact that it helped to lift the stigma surrounding numerous mental health issues. It also helped to normalise the act of seeking support when you need it and admitting when you aren’t feeling ok.  These are huge steps towards a happier, more inclusive, and understanding society.

So, while 2020 definitely wasn’t what anyone wanted it to be or what anyone had planned for, we certainly aren’t leaving it empty handed. We have gained wisdom, optimised our self-confidence, and become kinder, more accepting individuals. That’s great news for 2021 no matter how you look at it!

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