Shakira Moore

Sr. Media Planner

If a poll was taken on how 2020 was for us, the overwhelming consensus would be: 2020 had struggles and challenges of epic proportions. There were times I wished the Infiniti stones were real! But thankfully we made it. The celebrations to usher in 2021 may have been lowkey due to COVID 19 or we were being cautious about welcoming a new year; but 2021 is here and now we must contend with whatever the year throws at us. Indeed, I am hopeful and expectant of 2021 being a fabulous and extraordinary year. If 2020 has taught me anything it is that we are resilient creatures and we can adapt. We might not like it and may not be, look or feel graceful but we can adapt and pivot. So, I will step boldly into this new year armed with the lessons I learnt from 2020. I will share three of the lessons I will take into 2021.

Boundaries Are Super Important – 2020 reminded me of the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries. Boundaries are important as they govern how you navigate relationships and are meant to protect you. The benefits of maintaining healthy boundaries include: better self-esteem, conserving emotional energy; reducing stress. In establishing and enforcing your boundaries you may lose friendships and relationships. If someone takes offence to you enforcing your boundaries; take it as a gift and recognize that this person does not respect you, your personhood, and your right to your space.

If you do lose friendships or have a strained relationship at work, a soul-searching internal conversation will reveal to you that you have not lost anything by enforcing your boundaries. Instead you have gained from it.  You have gained peace; you have taken your power back; you mitigate stress and lessened the emotional and mental load of dealing with that friend or colleague. It is not always easy to establish and communicate your boundaries especially in the work environment; but in so doing you demonstrate maturity; your protect your energy, reduce resentment, set a good precedence which makes for a healthy happier life at home and work.

Be A Friend to Yourself First – Two prevailing sentiments in 2020 were check on your friends; and take note of those who check in with you. While we can dissect the intent behind these two sentiments, the question I want to ask is: when was the last time you checked in with yourself? I quickly realized that I had to be a friend to myself first, before I could be a friend to anyone else. The same care and compassion I extended to others, I needed to extend to me first. I am reminded of the flight safety demonstration about securing your oxygen mask first, before assisting others. This principle can really be applied to how we prioritize ourselves in our own lives! So, before I took up the phone to reach out, I had to reach within first to make sure I was ok!

This practice of self-care goes over and beyond Instagram memes of self-care. Putting myself first is more than physically pampering myself; it is the reflection and the introspection. It is the growing self-awareness. It is a daily striving to be better than I was the day before. It is giving myself the room to fail and make mistakes. It is forgiving myself and moving on. Because in so doing, I can give others room to fail and make mistakes. I can forgive others and move on.

Health Is Wealth – This has never rung true more than 2020. This global pandemic really taught us the value of health – excellent health; because without it you aren’t living you are just surviving. We’ve seen examples of people really sacrificing all, on the altar of success, only for their lives to be cut short because of poor health. Our physical and mental health must be made top priorities. The quality of life, relationships, work, partnerships and contributions will all be gravely affected if we treat our health with scant regard. Take advantage of the health resources available through work. Talk to a colleague or your manager if you are unsure. Define what a healthy lifestyle means to you; create actionable steps and commit to it. Get an accountability partner on your team if you need that support. Now more than ever we are all in this together.

I hope my lessons inspired you to walk into 2021 armed with tools you can use to navigate the year. Maybe you were inspired to reflect on 2020 to find your own lessons. In any case, this year will be whatever you desire it to be.

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