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What a Difference
A Year Makes...

Last April, like so many other people, I naively thought just a few weeks into the world coming to a halt that it wouldn't be too much longer until normality resumed. That things were harrowing for so many but that surely by the summer months, we'd have beaten what we were coming to know as the Covid-19 virus.

I actually wrote a blog post about the things the first lockdown was changing for me and what I hoped the rest of the lockdown would hold. I wrote about the things I had stopped worrying about, the things I had started worrying about, the feeling of panic that had crept in, the feeling of perspective that had deepened, the emotions I felt being away from people I loved and even the things I had realised truly mattered. 

A year on and I can scarcely believe that we are only now on the road to some sort of normality. Three lockdowns later, so many broken hearts, millions of vaccines in arms and an utterly determined strength to get through from so many - it feels like there's some sunshine and some hope to look forward to finally. 

So what now? 

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I think the one word I've heard so many people use to describe the last year, that I wholeheartedly agree with is simply - hard. It's been hard to navigate, hard to understand, hard to come to terms with, hard to be there for each other, hard to find any calm. Just hard in so many ways, for so many people, for such a long snd unexpected time. I think through that feeling, so many of us have discovered so much about ourselves too. An unexpected side effect so to speak. We've discovered the things we're capable of, the strengths we have, the privileges we live with, the weaknesses we hide, the things we adore, the boundaries we need and so much more. It's been a long 12 months (even longer for those who have been shielding, working on the front line and keeping the country running throughout) but seeing so many people be kind to themselves, kind to others and show such strength through adversity has been a light for me. 

I think in March last year so many of us felt we needed to be strong. To show that we were getting through just fine, that we were able to continue so much of our lives at home and that we had an aim to come out of lockdown better than before. Almost like we were going to use that time to 'switch things up' rather than taking each day at a time and being as kind to ourselves as we needed to be. Of course we're all different and it's likely true to say we've all coped with the lockdowns in so many different ways, but for me I've learned that being honest and looking for honest people, has done more for my own mental health than anything has before. 

You know I'll happily sing social medias praises in a world were so many see only the downsides but I truly don't know what we would have done without social media and those virtual connections in the last year. Although I've taken more breaks from my platforms than ever with a much more 'considerate to myself' schedule then ever before, it's also been a crutch when I've need it. It's distracted me, entertained me, educated me, bonded me, inspired me and even comforted me. It's shared with me those honest people who have taken the time to lessen my anxieties, shown me what I'm feeling is normal and helped me when I've perhaps needed a comforting virtual hand on my shoulder so to speak. 

Yes it's been hard and it's also been a million more things all at once. I'm so grateful for essential workers, for scientists, for healthcare professionals, for creatives, for sharers, for honest people and for loved ones. I'm so grateful that when it has been hard and all the other things we've felt weighted on top, there have been people working hard to make sure that now, 12 months on from the first lockdown, so many of us are around to take a glimpse at the light we're all so ready for. The last year has brought perspective in abundance and I think for a lot of us the realisation that perhaps our priorities have needed a rearrange for a while now. Whether we've changed our boundaries, adapted our physical self, discovered our ability to love, made more time for our mental health, started the search for more calm or even solidified the path we were already on, we all seem to have changed. What a difference a year can make, it's just we never knew what this year would hold. I hope the light and normality we're all so lucky to be here to experience is giving you a little hope this spring if you've needed to see it. 

If you'd like to look back at any of my other recent posts then feel free to visit them below! Hopefully you'll find a little positivity, a little happiness or even a little distraction :)  

How to Protect Your Mental Health Online 

5 Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2021 

Why We're So Much More Than That 

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