Leave The Bad (And Take The Good) Of 2021

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2021 was the most challenging year I have had in a long time. But, while some of the challenges I had to face were incredibly difficult, this past year has also made me stronger and a little wiser. I learned some important lessons that probably never would have hit home had I not found myself in the situations I was in. Here are some of those things I learned that I want to bring into the new year:

1Keep Using Those Spreadsheets

I used to always think of myself as a type B person for whom it’s extremely unnatural to stay organized. However, since I started taking on a lot more responsibilities than I’d ever had before in 2021, I discovered that keeping spreadsheets and planning my days actually help me stay on top of things.

Whenever I felt overwhelmed or anxious, creating a plan would help me gain back a sense of control. Being organized may not come naturally to me, but organization has allowed me to make things easier for my future self. It’s a habit that I am glad I started embracing more consistently last year, and one that I intend to continue in the new one.

2Set Boundaries and Respect Them

I’ve always had a tendency to overextend myself, but last year, I decided to start being firmer with my boundaries. I was always volunteering something of myself, whether it was my time, my resources, or even my energy. At some point, I realized that while it’s a good thing to extend yourself to others, it’s another thing to always be going out of your way to do so. 

It hit me that I might have been giving other people all that attention in an attempt to receive some of it back. I was emptying my cup and looking to fill it back up in the wrong places. As soon as I realized how tired I actually was, I decided to calm down and pour more of that attention on myself instead. I spent more time just minding my own business rather than frantically trying to offer whatever I could to whoever would take it. As a result, I began feeling more centered, and that feeling of centeredness is definitely something I want to bring into the new year.

3Visit the Doctor

2021 was the year my body forced me into a full stop after all the time I had spent pushing it to its limits and taking for granted its capacity to endure. Being in severe pain and unable to get out of bed for weeks was a loud wake up call that made me pay attention to my health. It started a whole series of visits to different doctors that gave me a clearer picture of my body and its actual health..

When in the past I would force myself to keep going even though I wasn’t feeling well, last year I learned the importance of stopping when my body asks me to. More than that, I owe it to myself to make sure that I am well. I used to avoid going to the doctor for a lot of reasons, but those reasons are not good enough to justify allowing myself to suffer. In the new year, I am going to show up for myself by maintaining all aspects of my health, even if that means going to medical appointments that I don’t necessarily enjoy.

4Remember That Rest Is Not a Reward

My mindset about rest used to be that it was something I had to deserve, a hard-earned reward after a long day. Last year, I learned that rest is not a reward, but a right that I have as a human being with a body that needs it. My body needs rest not just because I need to be able to function in order to become productive — my body simply needs rest, period.

It’s a pretty powerful thing to realize, that rest need not serve a purpose as it is a basic need and right. As soon as I had that epiphany, I started being more attentive to my body’s needs and allowing myself to take breaks with a lot less guilt. As I welcome a new year filled with new opportunities for growth, I am choosing to remember that before any period of growth comes a period of rest.

Tags: new year, Next Step, Organization, Self Care, work life balance

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Written By

Dana Delgado

Dana Delgado writes and edits content for the web. She is also an advocate of zine culture and all forms of independent art. See Full Bio

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