Now is the time of year when we begin to reflect on the past twelve months. 2020 has provided each of us with the worst and best kind of experiences. And because of that, we all deserve a big round of applause. We have been tested and presented with uncertainty, yet we have adapted and faced the challenges head-on. We shouldn’t settle on bouncing back in 2021 to the way things were. Instead we should want to bounce forward and be stronger in the future having gone through this experience.

Despite a lot of suffering, we’ve seen successes. We’ve witnessed relationships strengthen, new opportunities present themselves, the coming together of communities, positive changes to the way we live, work, play and learn, the prioritisation of what really matters and the slowing down of some overly busy lives.

So what went well for you this year? What were your biggest lessons? What made you resilient? What will you take forward? What will you be leaving behind? Take time to consider these questions as this will help you shape the kind of year you want to have in 2021. But before we get there, we need to take time to rest and recover from the year we’ve had.

Rest and recovery

The pandemic has weighed on all of us, and we have seen increases in stress, mental health issues and burnout as a result. After a year of massive change, it’s normal to feel fatigued right now. Everyone I speak to is looking forward to a much needed and well-deserved break over the Summer. And this is the perfect time to refill our cups. Having a full cup enables us to be at our best when adversity strikes and to take more control of our wellbeing.

Looking after ourselves isn’t self-indulgent but rather it should be viewed as enabling yourself to feel good and function effectively.

Outlined below are some simple but very effective strategies to help you recover from the stress endured and to reenergise yourself for the year ahead.

Sleep

  • Try and get the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night
  • Add some naps into your day if needed (if you don’t have sleep issues)

Food

  • There are parallels between our gut health and brain health
  • Ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to be well

Exercise

  • Helps relieve stress and improves our mood
  • Consider your exercise enablers such as friends or being outdoors

Mindfulness

  • Supports us to be calmer, reduces stress and helps our brains recover
  • Try a breathing activity, savouring or meditation (there are lots of apps to help here).

So what will you focus on?

The key to trying something new is to start small and be specific (including what you will do and when) and to remember that it takes time and practise. A great way to fully embed change in our lives is by considering how we can turn our desired behaviours into habits, which I covered in a previous post.

Measure your wellbeing

If you’re interested in working out where your wellbeing is at, my new website includes a survey based on the PERMAH framework that takes less than five minutes to complete.

By taking this measure, you’ll understand the wellbeing domains in which you are doing well, and those where you might need to focus your attention to enable you to consistently thrive! This is a great first step in taking more control of your wellbeing going forward.