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Please give yourself a big hug right now – do it! While holding yourself in this sincere embrace, look at yourself in a mirror and say these words, “I love you. I’m proud of you. And I’m thankful for you.” You and only you are deserving of such praise after the year we just hadThank your body for getting you through a year of living during a global pandemic. Thank your mind for letting you be as present as you could have possibly been, and thank your heart for never letting you give up. This past year, you lived through multiple historically groundbreaking events, while still trying to stay on top of your own responsibilities. You got through it all with courage and hope – so don’t be so hard on yourself if you are not where you wanted to be at the beginning of the new year. 

For me, 2020 was the year from hell, and I’m sure many can relate when I say I am so glad it is over. Unfortunately, our current world and own personal problems didn’t just disappear into thin air when the clock hit 12:00 am on January 1st (but I wish this was the case.) As traumatic as last year was for me, I can’t imagine my life without having endured all that I did. 2020 gave me experiences, lessons, and allowed me to learn more about myself than I would have ever been able to if not for all the hardships that were brought onto me. 

Healing my mind and body was my main focus in trying to keep myself sane last year, but I found that this goal should follow everyone for all their lives. What we need this new year more than ever is to heal and through my journey towards this development, I have come to learn a lot. 


Thoughts = Power

Time with yourself and your thoughts was something we all had a lot of last year whether we wanted it or not; I am sure we’ll have plenty more for this year too. As scary and annoying as being alone with yourself sounds, these moments were some of the most eye-opening for me. Daily journaling is what helped me get all of my emotions out and really get in tune with myself and my feelings. Bottling up all of your prayers, hopes, dreams, fears, stressors and anything that you give significance to in your life is keeping you from living to the potential you harbor in those thoughts – out of all of the people in the world, the one person you should never hide anything from is yourself.


Green Spaces and Happy Faces

I’ll admit, I have never been an outdoorsy person. Hiking, taking walks, and just being outside generally never appealed to me – until I realized just how beneficial it was to my mind. At the beginning of this pandemic, the only source of “change” to our days was going for walks, which I despised. I was depressed, tired, and saw zero point in trying to do anything really. However, I started noticing that even if I was outside for a small amount of time, my mood lifted and I felt recharged. My stress levels decreased, and waves of calmness embraced me in this warm feeling all over my body. Falling in love with yourself has just as much to do with loving the environment you are in. Take into consideration just how beautiful the world is around you and appreciate being able to be one with it.


Quiet Mind – Lively Soul

I knew meditation was a thing growing up, I just never understood the huge significance of it. Having more free time than ever during the beginning of 2020, I decided I wanted to give it a shot. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I have made it a goal of mine to incorporate 15 minutes of meditation or “my quiet time” somewhere into my daily routine. I learned that this practice has so many benefits and I have only just started to scratch the surface of all the good this will bring me. But out of it all so far, I have seen a dramatic increase in my self-awareness. I became more aware of how toxic and self-defeating my coping mechanism were and meditation has helped me figure out ways to participate in more constructive healing patterns. You can do this anywhere and it has been proven to improve your quality of life! 


It’s important to always remember that your life will get harder when you make the decision to grow and heal your mind and body. Be prepared for uncomfortableness, pain, and all sorts of discomfort. There will be moments when you want to give up and return to where you were before, only to realize that you can’t. Remember all you have gone through already when you once told yourself you couldn’t do it. Through all the pain you will end up in a happier place and you’ll live life to your fullest potential!

Sitlali Cortes

Washington '23

Sitlali is a third year student at the University of Washington and intended communications major! She's from Yakima, Washington and when she's not busy with school or work you'll find her with friends and family! She also enjoys reading and writing poetry and making playlists.
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