Last week marked one year since the Covid restrictions were imposed for the first time in Bulgaria. I can still remember 13 March 2020 (Friday) extremely vividly – we had our first Covid case a week earlier and the nervousness around us could be felt easily, something was coming but none of us knew what to expect exactly. There were fewer people already using the metro, including myself as I had started going to the office with Kaloyan by car. That Friday, 13 March 2020, I went into the office, washed my hands as usual, turned on my computer and the first sign that something had changed appeared on my screen. A very long email from my boss was on top of my inbox saying that mandatory working-from-home practice would be applied for all teams in the company starting as of the same day. So I packed the few personal things I kept in the office, went back home and never returned to work in the office.
A year later, we are here now, still not knowing what to expect from the future as different things change dynamically every day. You wake up every morning and hope for the best – that you and your family will stay healthy, that the ones who already went through the disease will cope with its consequences, that you will have the chance to get one of the vaccines, if your general health condition allows it, that you will still find something positive to look forward to in your day. It’s still pretty much difficult for everybody but I choose to look on the bright side and find the silver lining in every situation.
So today I wanted to share my top 5 lessons I learned since March of 2020 – a year of global pandemic, a year of all-kinds-of restrictions, a year full of self-examination and reflection. I really hope that you have had the chance to draw your conclusions in the past year and have found something positive to be grateful for despite the numerous difficulties we all had to endure. Here are my good takeaways from the past year.
LESSON 1: Your health and family matter the most
Yes, I agree that this should be pretty straightforward but the truth is that in our everyday lives it can be easily forgotten. What the past year has proven to me is that no matter how many things you possess, or where you go for your vacations, or how lavishly you spend your free time, nothing, and I repeat, nothing is more important than your health and family. It can be taken away from you so easily, it can change your whole life in a moment and it must never be taken for granted. Since last March I wake up every day extremely grateful that both I and all my family members are healthy. And on the days that we are not in our best shape, I pray that we will go through this with as little damage as possible.
LESSON 2: Learn to let go of trying to control things
The truth is there is little we can control. So it’s essential not to waste precious time trying to control things that aren’t ours to manage in the first place. That was extremely difficult for me to understand as I have always been a girl that makes a detailed plan for every single little thing in my life, no matter how small and mundane it is. Instead, the past year has taught me that it is okay to let go and focus on what I can control: my actions, reactions and the choices I make.
LESSON 3: There is no time for drama and toxic people
Life is short, and your energy is a limited resource. Drama and toxicity negatively impact your wellness, which can then affect the ones you love most. Distance yourself from toxic people and set clear boundaries. It may be a childhood friend, a sibling, or a cousin; I know it’s a challenge to remove these people from your life entirely, but in some cases, it’s necessary. Choosing not to have people in your life has nothing to do with being vindictive, selfish or not being forgiving. It has to do with your inner peace and not being drained by drama, negativity and manipulation.
LESSON 4: Slowing down is essential
Yet another lesson that I learnt the difficult way. There were times when I was 100% sure that the only way to have productive days is to tick off all of my tasks in my to-do list. This has changed the past year – now I can reschedule things for different days and be more flexible with my agenda, without feeling too stressed about it. You don’t need to be productive at all times. It’s okay to have days where you do nothing and take time for yourself – this is not being selfish or lazy, it’s simply necessary for your mental well-being.
LESSON 5: The need to make self-care a priority
Self-care is a topic I often write about. I know it’s a term that some people roll their eyes at, but the reality is that self-care is essential to physical and emotional well-being. You can call it what you like, but whatever you do, please don’t neglect your needs, feelings or health issues. You are no help to others depleted, overwhelmed and burnt out. Remember true self-care isn’t about spending money on expensive spa days or vacations. It’s about taking time to tend to our physical, emotional and spiritual needs on a daily basis.
So that’s all from me today. I am sure that there are many other things that I could add to the list but I guess these 5 lessons are the most important ones from the past year. What are the key lessons you learned since March of 2020? Let me know in the comments.