As a new year comes around, we bid farewell to the mess that was 2020. A year of Tik Tok sensations, series on Netflix about American exotic animal enthusiasts and paying exorbitant amounts for loo roll. Yup, I paid £10 for 9 rolls of loo paper. That’s R200. I’m assuming I need not address the elephant in the room that led to the tv-show that was 2020. Oh, and by the way, I would consider a scotch egg a substantial meal, but I am a model and you know our dietary habits. (That was a joke).
Here is a list of things I believe are worth taking into the New Year. We are filtering out words like ‘detox’ and phrases like ‘new year, new me’. We are inviting in the idea that you are basically the same person you were in 2020 just another day older as the calendar climbs on. However, I won’t negate the motivational benefits that come with the 1st of January. Not to mention the hangover, but that won’t be me this year. Nope, NYE will be spent in my apartment with my roommate playing chess. Add chess to the 2020 hit-list. Sometimes I wish I had started a dropshipping business selling chess sets. I guess there’s always next year?
3 Things to Start in 2021:
Listening to podcasts
Ever feel like you’re in limbo on your way to work, school, on the treadmill or taking a walk? Feeling like you’re over your Spotify suggested playlist that plays no music you actually like? Want to get your head into some deep and gritty information but reading whilst driving isn’t really advised? Podcasts, my friend. These little nuggets of auditory education are the perfect companion. Professionals in their niche spill their knowledge to humble people like us FOR FREE. Want to learn how relationships can contribute to longevity? How to get better sleep? How to breathe better? The benefits of baking? The best places to travel in 2020? Your favourite actors biggest failures? They’re all found on podcasts. Plug in and press play and become the person at the dinner table empowered with random facts.
Getting creative in the kitchen
“I can’t cook,” she said. “I’m useless in the kitchen,” he said. Well, just to put it out there, many professionals couldn’t do what they do now until they tried. Cooking doesn’t have to be perfect. I learnt that in 2020. Food doesn’t have to be Instagrammable. Honestly, most of my meals look like a pile of mush. However, the joy of making a meal for a loved one or yourself outweighs the frills that are sometimes a misconception. You don’t need the best pairing knife or Kitchen Aid. Watch some of Jamie Oliver’s latest videos. The dude cooks with a pan that you might find lurking in the back of your grandma’s cupboard. You know the one with no handle and omelette stains from 1994? Find inspiration around you.
Ever had a dish at a restaurant you loved but have never tried to recreate? Nows the time. Nothing says I love you better than a home-cooked meal. Even if that meal is for yourself. Self-love is the new motto.
Taking care of your health
If there is anything 2020 brought to light, it’s the importance of taking care of our health. The world around us is not in our favour. Sorry for the dull news but it’s real. We are flooded with toxins every single day. Whether it be from the food we eat, the carpets in our homes, the deodorant we use or the air pollution outside – our body is constantly fighting to keep these toxins out. Luckily, we have the perfect mechanism to handle this. Our bodies. However, comparable to a car, in order for it to run right, we need to give it the right fuel.
When you start to take charge of your health and make conscious decisions around being better to your body, the benefits will be non-negotiable. Get outdoors more. Spend time with your loved ones. If having red wine with your friends on a Friday night brings you joy, do that. If having a good quality pizza with your family brings you joy, do that. Happiness has a direct impact on the immune system. Get as much sunshine as you can and walk often. And no, none of this is for weight loss. I do not promote that. It’s not about what’s going on on the outside, it’s about how you feel on the inside.
3 Things to Stop in 2021:
Guilty as charged. But the thing we have to remember is that these apps are designed to be addictive. Remember the good old days when the Instagram feed would eventually end? When there was no such thing as “stories”? And I may be biased, but I definitely preferred a world without Tik Tok. I don’t know if it’s the tweenagers or obvious adults learning bizarre dance routines that bugs me the most. Maybe it’s just the fact that I am severely uncoordinated and can’t learn a dance routine for shit. I’ve found that the best way to combat the mindless scrolling is to switch off notifications for apps like these. If nothing pops up, there’s much less temptation.
I am trying my best to make going on Instagram an active decision. And only once I’ve made it to Kendall Jenner’s third cousin’s profile, do I stop myself and throw my phone across the room. The way you wake up sets the tone for your day. The smallest change I’ve made with the biggest impact is to charge my phone outside of the room. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s also not the first thing you grab when you wake up in the morning. Give your partner a smooch. Or sing “Lovely Day” out loud to yourself. I don’t judge. Another tip my friend gave me is to turn your phone onto black and white mode. As humans, we are triggered and drawn in by colours. Making your phone into a movie from the 50s might be the best trick yet.
Trying to have control over everything
It’s a bitter pill to swallow. As a control-freak myself, I found it really tough to accept that things were out of my hands in 2020. I always thought that having plans meant having my shit together. I always thought that if things panned out the way I’d expect them to, I’d be happy. Well well. When all of my jobs got cancelled in March and was on a return flight to London after spending 3 of my 30 days in Madrid, I realised that things weren’t going to be in my control for while.
I listened to a podcast (told you they’re worth it!) that opened my eyes to the reality that things are never actually in our control. Life will always throw us curve balls. There will always be some annoyance to interject as soon as we feel we are on the right track. As soon as I let go of expectation, I felt more at ease. Not only with 2020, but with life.
Beating yourself up for not having a ‘productive’ 2020
One of the by-products of 2020 was having a lot of spare time at home. We coined phrases like “WFH”, downloaded a weird app where you could see all your work buddies houses, thought that weird app was stealing your data and then watching videos of Zoom fails. Bless the internet. However, if you weren’t part of the minority that took up a new hobby, enrolled in a course, learnt a new skill, became a pro at yoga or the next Nigella Lawson – that is fine. I am here to tell you that if all you did in 2020 was stay at home looking after your health, combatted feelings of anxiety and stress whilst protecting yourself and others – you won.
All you needed to do in 2020 was to make it out the other end in one piece. And even if you feel a little broken, you’re not alone. I saw a quote on Instagram that said: “if 2020 didn’t bring the hustle out of you, it ain’t in you”. Well, you know what I think of that? Bull-fucking-shit.