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What I’ve Learned From a Year with COVID-19

The last year of our lives was far from what we ever could have imagined. A global pandemic shut the world down last March, and here we are again, in March. It’s hard to believe the year went by so quickly. When I stop and think about the last twelve months, it’s hard for me to think of so many positives in a year of bad news and unpredictability. The last year was:

  • Difficult 

  • Isolating

  • Scary 

  • Debilitating 

But, the last year was also:

  • A time for self-reflection 

  • A time to focus on ourselves

  • A time to start projects we put off

  • Meaningful 

  • Telling of what matters in life 

  • An opportunity to spend more time with our families 

In a year of all the negativity, I’ve come to realize what truly matters in life. Everything I was so hyper-focused on before the pandemic is not nearly as important as I had made it seem to be. Instead of materialistic things, let’s focus on the simple things. I’ve made every aspect of my life a ritual, romanticizing the things we would typically deem mundane. My morning coffee is one of my favourite parts of the day. Why? Because it’s 5-10 minutes where I can sit with myself, relax, reflect and enjoy. We don’t need to buy new things or go to a fancy restaurant to feel something. Sure, those things are nice and I can’t wait until we can do that again, but it’s not the sole source of happiness in my life. Cooking dinner with my family every night has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined – this may be the last few times in our entire lives where we spend as much time together as we have. Usually, everyone is busy with their own schedules that family time is not as much of a constant. Appreciate that.

Human connection. Something we’ve all been lacking over the last twelve months, but when you have it whether it’s virtual or not, you can notice a shift in your mood and energy. After a day of being alone at home, just having a phone call or FaceTime with my friends or boyfriend can drastically turn my mood around. Reach out to your friends. This year has been rough for everyone, and you never know when someone is having a bad day. That quick “hello, how are you”, can shift how the rest of their day goes. It’s a huge mood booster.

Growth. This year has been a huge year of growth for many of us. The beginning of quarantine was a time where many focused on their mental health through reading, journaling and finding at-home workouts to motivate them. If you weren’t one of those, that’s okay too! We all handled the year differently and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I feel that I have grown immensely. My mindset has shifted. I have become a more open, communicative and positive person, even through the hell of a year we’ve had. I don’t really remember what I was even like pre-pandemic, but I’m grateful for that. If we don’t grow and evolve, nothing will change.

The biggest thing I’ve come to realize throughout this year is that we all need to put less pressure on ourselves. The productivity pressure from social media and working society is far too much. Mental health comes first. If you aren’t up to tackling your to-do list one day, don’t. Rest is so important. Be there for yourself first. Take the time you need to refresh so that you can tackle your to-do list. Accept that it’s okay to do nothing for a period of time, especially in a time like this. If you are lacking motivation and having a hard time pandemic or not, just know that you are not alone.

Sasha Folgoas

Ryerson '23

I was born and raised in Toronto. I have a passion for health and wellness, and spend most of my time focusing on school, friends, work and creating content for my own health and wellness blog + instagram! I love all things fashion and frequent Aritzia (maybe a little too much), but I love ballin on a budget, too! My goal is to help inspire other young women by opening up important conversations that can often be taboo!
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