2020 : The year of self-care

7:40 AM


2020 is the year of taking care of ourselves, journalling is a way to get there

In January, I wrote a blog post titled "Make self-care your absolute priority in 2020", it could as well have been written in another lifetime. 

Back then, I had no idea what was about to hit us, Covid was that thing that was making headlines in China, and starting to pop in Europe. Nobody thought that the planet as a whole would be dealing with lockdowns, quarantines and confinements a few weeks later. 

Our world was turned upside down overnight, we woke up one fine day not knowing what would happen next, how to navigate a draconian lockdown and stay sane, and found unity in doing stuff like raising a sourdough starter and baking our own bread...
Well, you guys probably did, I forgot to feed my starter after 2 days and didn't even remember it was there until a week later, so I decided that being an artisan sourdough bread baker was not going to be my lockdown thing. 
But, seriously, back in March-April it seems we were being bombarded about seeing this Pandemic as the perfect opportunity to learn new skills. Because, yes, the first thing we need when our whole world is coming down to a crash is to be made to feel guilty about wanting nothing more than watch Netflix the whole day long and cry in our pillow at night. 

After all, we all lived with the idea that we need to be performant at all time, in all situation and that being lazy during a viral apocalypse is inexcusable. 
Learn French, Mandarin, or Arabic, pick a new hobby, learn to make bread, knit a sweater, teach yourself something, anything god dammit! 

It took me a few days to snap out of that guilt, embrace the couch potato life and hug my dog as often as needed to get through this whole mess. 
What followed were weeks of me just taking one, day, one hour at a time, and just giving in to what my mind and body wanted. 
Being productive did not rank super high on my to-do list, I just let my expectation of anything go, having gone through a period of intense grief in 2008 I knew fighting it was pointless. 

Then, life went on...

The urge to be creative, to get things going and do things came back, slowly and steadily. Making peace with a new reality brutally imposed on us is hard, it takes time. Once that happened and I was over the hill, I could focus my attention elsewhere. 
I decided not to pick up new skills though, I decided to continue on a journey I set out on 2-3 years back. A journey of self healing and battling demons from my past (I won't go into details, so don't ask). These are big demons, and they caused deep wounds, but this year, more than all the previous years, I felt the need to really face them. 
I had the groundwork done already, I knew where to dig, I knew what to do, and I knew I would need the time and patience to seek them out.  

2020 seemed the perfect year for that, I went through a complete crash of the world as I knew it, I might as well clean the dark corners completely while I am at it. 
I did what I do best : write a diary and meditate. I spent a significant enough amount of time in the past 2-3 months doing that, and honestly facing ideas and struggles I had repressed for years. 
And I grew from it. One step at a time, I got things cleared up and chased a few of those demons away. 

I'm still doing it and in the midst of this great chaos that 2020 is, believe it or not, I am fairly at peace, with myself, and with the world. 

I even perfected a few professional skills I had set out to perfect this year, without even really aiming at doing so because the instant the lockdown hit, I discarded my 2020 Goal list. 

Self-care became the priority

The one thing I urged people to do in 2020 in my January blog post became my top priority without me knowing how big that goal was. 
Seriously, back in January I was telling you all about the importance of setting some "Me time" aside, take indulgent lunch breaks whenever you could, and the importance to delegate tasks at home and at work. 

This is interestingly a set of guidelines we all found ourselves forced to take to the next level, in the craziest situation any of us has faced so far.

Despite all the craziness that went down in 2020 so far, I am at a point at which I would say that on a personal level, it really hasn't been a bad year at all. I worked on myself and because we are facing a year of adversity it actually felt right to get rid of some emotional luggage that served me no purpose and was long overdue for the dump. The bonus is that it also gave me something else to think about beside the pandemic and all that goes with it. 

How to get started?

Taking an introspection journey is as easy as keeping a notebook, and be open to the idea of having inner dialogues with yourself.
Chances are you already know what it is that you are struggling with, or uncomfortable with. Just write it down. If you are more comfortable doing that dialogue on paper (not everybody hears their own voice in their head) just start exploring how you feel, what makes you feel that way, what memories the feeling brings and little by little, you may find the root of your problem. It can take days, weeks, months...but you'll find it out. Once you have it down on paper in front of you, you can start addressing it and finding a solution. 
A lot of time, our deepest fears and emotional wounds have a root in childhood and is ingrained in the subconscious. The subconscious takes everything at face value without questioning it, and unfortunately for the most part of the childhood it calls the shots because the conscious mind which is analytical and capable of reasoning isn't fully developed yet. 
But as an adult, we can reason back on those deep rooted issues and even rewrite the deep rooted programming at one point. 
In fact this is what therapy with a professional often is about : talking about deep issues, finding the root, and working on getting over it. 

If for any reasons, what you uncover makes you fearful, or cry or triggers an emotional response you can't handle on your own, please do seek help from a professional though. There is no glory in going in alone. 
We all have different demons, traumas and fears, and different people need different ways to get over certain things. 

Don't go in alone if you don't feel like doing so, you really don't have to do it. 

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  1. Hi Cyn, Indeed this year has really gone crazy. The past couple of months have been very stressful for me personally, as you would understand from latest post. Now I know what it means when people say these are uncertain and unprecedented times.
    Writing and mediation are so much of therapeutic effects too. I am sure it has helped you a lot.
    The best approach in these times is to face the problems head-on with calmness and equanimity; and look at the positives that are always there at any time.

    1. I just went to read your latest post.
      So sorry for your loss.

      I have been writing a journal since I was 13, back then it was a way to process my hormonal angst, heartthrobs, friends issues, and family issues.
      I think I started learning about meditation, positive thinking, visualisation and manifesting your goals when I was 15 because my parents had a set of Sophrology tapes and it sounded interesting.

      A few years ago I realised I had mental blocks over certain things, and was caught in thoughts patterns I really started noticing I didn't like much, so I started reflecting on these. Uncovered a lot, had an epiphany last year, and continued working on it more this year. The initial lockdown and complete change of eveything in my world did put a pause on that process because suddenly figuring out this new reality became more important. But now that I got used to the new "normal", I could go back to introspecting and facing those demons and make sure that I clear a few before we ring in the new year.

      I'm a huge believer in the power of gratitude and positive thinking. It has carried me through a lot of hard times.

  2. This post hit home for me, especially the comment from the poster above who is going through the same grief as I am (I also wrote about it recently). I had been doing the gratitude practice from The Magic after reading about it here and incidentally finished the last one the day of my lay off, and subsequently getting the news which sent us spiraling into mourning. This year really sucks but it’s also been many years of these life curveballs in my case. Even I was finally getting into the productive phase after the initial rough patch of lockdown, and was enjoying getting engrossed in work. But at the moment it feels like everything is up in the air. I will continue the self care and gratitude - it comes naturally to me, but not the part about being thankful for things that haven't yet happened - here I have a conflict with my anxiety. Wishing you well for your journey in freeing yourself of the demons and getting to be an even more happy you.

    1. So sorry for your loss and big hugs to you.

      After years and years of practicing gratitude, saying thanks for things I don't have yet is still a challenge, one I have done better with in the past few months but is still something I fell a bit "odd" doing.
      I think this one goes against all that we've been taught from childhood, the not taking things for granted, the fables about not selling the chickens before the eggs hatched and this idea that this kind of bragging is a lie and lying is bad.

      Freeing myself from those beliefs is one of the tasks I have set myself to this year, it's definitely not an easy one.

      I hope you find a little peace everyday, anxiety sucks.

  3. Happy Navaratras to you and family. May the divine goddess slay this Corona demon and bless us all with health and vitality.


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