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2020 a Year On Reflection and a Moment of Thanks

Posted by James Oakley on
2021

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s natural to feel melancholy and reflective. Perhaps this year, however, the mood of the country is more reflective than ever before. In some ways it's difficult to know where to begin. It’s been a strange and tumultuous year to say the very least. Rewind 12 months and Brexit was still the hot topic. No one could have foreseen that within a matter of months, there would be a global pandemic. Nobody imagined the pain and anguish that would be experienced by so many or of the ways that we’d have to adapt to this new situation. 

There's no doubt about it. COVID-19 has disrupted everything. From schools shutting, to working at home, the closure of nonessential businesses, cancelled weddings and people unable to say goodbye to loved ones, life has changed immensely. Seeing the eerily deserted streets of London on the news will always remain firmly rooted in my mind. Yet, we shouldn’t forget that for the vast majority of us, we have homes, food and television. Whilst it’s been tough, we can ‘stay at home’ in relative luxury. On the flipside, we shouldn’t forget those whose lives have been cruelly cut short by Covid-19, others who will continue to battle symptoms of long Covid and families that have lost loved ones prematurely.  They’re the ones that have really suffered. We should keep this in mind whenever we need perspective.


Community Spirit

Yet despite the many challenges and difficulties, brought on by Covid-19, there have been moments of light and immeasurable hope. At its heart, there’s been global realisation that nothing’s more important than our community. People everywhere have stepped up, community-based face-book groups have been created to offer local support, neighbours have checked in on elderly or vulnerable people and masses have donated money to good causes or food to food banks. Not one of us can forget the lump that rose in our throats as we stood on our doorsteps clapping our thanks to the NHS, even though we could never thank them enough. Then, there was Captain Sir Tom Moore and many others, wanting to do their bit, inspiring generations to come with their humility and compassion. 


Keyworkers

At last, we’ve understood that it’s the key workers of the country that do the most vital work and who should be revered. It’s those people, selflessly providing an infrastructure, often without much thanks and on minimum wages so that we can have all those things we take for granted. Medical help when we need it, food in our shops, deliveries to our doors, care for the elderly, education for our children. 


Our Need to Socialise

We’ve also dearly missed close contact with our loved ones, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, even those that we don’t necessarily know. Just being around people. Fundamentally we’re social creatures. Being confined to our houses didn’t come naturally. Yet somehow, we all got through it, that sense of community keeping our spirits up when we felt low. We got creative with home-schooling, all joined Zoom, exercised with Joe Wickes and shared ideas of things to keep ourselves entertained. Never again, will we take for granted being able to hug someone, go to the pub for a drink, or meet up with a wider circle of people. It's also been an eye opener at how quickly we can adapt when we need to do so. When we’re finally allowed to socialise again. I’ve no doubt that many people will struggle with adapting again. 


Mental Health 

Something else that came to the fore this year is mental health. Not being able to do our normal activities, exercise or socialising has resulted in more depression, stress and anxiety. The uptake of Yoga, mindfulness and meditation have massively increased because they’re accessible to everyone from home. It would be a wonderful legacy if more of us adopted these in the longer-term, given the wonderful health and mental health benefits they promote. With at least several months more of restrictions, these activities are not only a great way to exercise but also to keep the mind clear, calm and retain a sense of perspective. Try our 7 easy standing poses for yoga at home for an easy to follow routine.


A Moment of Thanks

After the roll out of the vaccination programme and life returns to a relative normal, will we still remember these times? Or will we simply move on and continue with life as it was? I'd like to think that we'll hold onto these memories. That whenever we see a rainbow in future, we’ll feel thankful to the NHS, key workers and our community for providing us with crucial support when we needed it. We’ll be that bit kinder and more compassionate to those around us, keep being inspired by true heroes. Finally, my biggest hope is that in future, we won’t let other things get in the way of time with our loved ones. Instead of putting it off for another day, we’ll make time. Covid-19 has made us realise that there’s no time like the present. Roll on 2021. Let’s raise a toast to each and every one of us for getting through this together.

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