(DISCLAIMER: This post was written hours before the announcement that the county will be in a full national lockdown. I hope you're all doing okay, sending lots of love and here if anyone needs to chat)
Hey, look at me being on a roll and posting again so soon this week. It's that new year buzz I think, a buzz that I didn't expect nor did I necessarily want due to being 8 months pregnant, but that has graced me with it's presence nonetheless, so I am riding that wave baby!
Towards the end of last year I wrote a little list of the things that helped me through such a challenging year. Small things mostly, with the occasional bigger thing thrown in for good measure. Things that kept me going, kept me strong when all I wanted to do was give up and to cry in bed all day... didn't we all have those moments throughout 2020, please say so!? Things that brought light through such dark times, that made me smile, even made me laugh and things that I'll be forever grateful for and will bring that gratitude and those things, big or small into 2021 as we navigate yet another uncertain year together. Albeit with small glimmers of light with the vaccine, amongst other things (HELLO BABY GIRL ARGHHHH!)
First up I've got to say the biggest thing that got me through 2020 was George, my rock, my absolute everything! We had so much fun during the first lockdown I must admit, and I don't like to say that too lightly, but I think many of us managed to make the most of such a strange time. We spent days in the garden exploring new hobbies such as gardening, painting, puzzling and also old hobbies too such as drinking a lot of cocktails haha. It was SUCH a strange time but a really lovely one too where we kept each other safe and stayed home for months. I think it's clear just how much fun we had as our baby gal was created haha which is a major HUGE thing that kept me going throughout 2020. She was the reason I seeked help for my mental health, I did it for her. I stopped going into dark places, stopped reading things that weren't doing my head any good and readjusted my career and my life for her and for me. She's been that little bit of light throughout all of this and I'll forever be grateful to everything she's brought to my life, already, and she's still a month off from being born. She's made me whole again after a year or so of feeling a little bit lost. I am so grateful for the two loves of my life, George and our little girl. And the dogs also, they help a lot with bringing all the joy into what can sometimes feel like a joy-less time.
Next up is reading; escaping into a good book has really helped my mental health in a year that affected it so deeply. I read more in 2020 than I have in any other year of my life and I truly believe that it got me through. I'm SO behind on my book club blog posts but I'm going to get one together right away to share with you hopefully next week. Check out these posts here for previous reads and also you can follow along with me on GoodReads as I set reading goals etc if that's your bag.
Below Deck was the stand out series that really did help me through the year of 2020. The fact that there were a zillion and one seasons certainly helped with the binge-able factor and George and I absolutely DEVOURED it! I loved watching it whilst I cooked, whilst I bathed and in bed with Gee, it was such an escape and reality TV at it's finest. I would highly recommend giving it a go if you're in need of something to switch off from, that doesn't take much following if you're struggling to focus, it's just brilliant!
Making our house a home was also a great distraction from the real world and one that I am grateful for every single day. We were lucky enough to transform a couple of rooms within our home throughout the year, something I didn't plan for, but the nesting was REAL! As soon as we learnt we were expecting we knew we wanted to crack on with the home developments, particularly focusing on the downstairs but ESPECIALLY the kitchen. We were waiting until after we had gotten married to do the kitchen up but since everything has been flipped on it's head and things are happening in a very unexpected yet beautiful order, we thought we'd put the money we'd saved for our wedding to good use and do our kitchen instead.
The transformation is incredible and the whole process was such a joyful experience and one I'd love to do again one day with another room in our home, probably and possibly the bathroom is next. George and I designed and planned every single inch of the space and in-turn we have our dream kitchen once and for all. A kitchen that will be at the heart of our home, a real sociable space for when that part of our life reopens again and the ultimate family kitchen that I can imagine will be filled with the most magical of memories. I just love creating a cosy space for us to live in and just you WAIT for what we've done with the babies room, it's pure magic!
Like a lot of people, I turned to my good friend red wine to get me through the first lockdown which also evolved into cocktail hour every day to soften the bad news that the PM's briefing brought with it every evening. So, wine and cocktails helped with the first part of the year and tea has got me through the latter half of the year since finding out I was pregnant. I've ALWAYS been a coffee lover but the kinda coffee I like, black and really strong, isn't advised whilst pregnant so I've been opting for a couple of cups of tea instead and I may well be converted, which is a really good thing as George broke it to me the other day that he'd never met anyone who was so addicted to coffee as me(!!!!)... WHOOPSY DAISY!
Zoom was good for a while, as were apps like HouseParty; they certainly helped us feel more connected on weekends which were usually our days of socialising with friends and family. BUT I must admit I'm happy they've since died out a wee bit as they weren't my fave, particularly when business chats were involved, give me a phone call any day of the week!!!!
Walks in the park have been a saviour too right? There's nothing like a sunny yet crisp and cold walk in the park to clear the mind and make you see sense again. Walking for hot chocolates from our fave independent cafes in local areas and the centre of Manchester have been SO great for me, particularly throughout the festive period as I'm now struggling to get comfortable when sat down, which has meant I've been itching to stay active and therefore walking A LOT.
The sun always helps too. I've always been such an advocate for the power of natural light but waking up, in the winter months particularly, to a day that is sunny has been an absolute tonic for my mood, my motivation and my general vibe.
Work has also been a great distraction in a world that has been hard to navigate. At times I thought I was done with what I do, ready to give up, throw in the towel and live a much simpler, quieter life! However, all I needed was a good break, some time to reevaluate everything and fall in love with what I do and remember who I do it for. New avenues such as Instagram Reels has really allowed me to get creative in ways I hadn't before and has given me a new love for video content, one that had long since gone before I actually quit YouTube for real last year. I LOVE making Reels video and I'm excited to give some more a go throughout 2021. (if you have any ideas for things you'd like to see over there then please do let me know)
My other business Saturday By Megan Ellaby has also been a light in all of this craziness; giving me a different creative outlet to focus on has been just what the doctor ordered for days when the online world has seemed all too much. It's been such a tricky year to navigate as a small business that sources materials from around the world, a world that has been struck with a virus and has had to introduce safety measures such as social distancing etc but I'm super proud of what we were able to achieve in spite of the hurdles we were faced with. I'm so grateful to you all for your incredible support with this little project, thank you, thank you, thank you!
My sister Faye should be further up the list here as I genuinely don't think I'd have gotten through 2020 without her, thanks boo!
She's been a crutch throughout everything that happened last year, both good and bad. She's been a shoulder to cry on, a WhatsApp message to LOL through, a voice note to vent to and a constant creative inspiration for everything work related and more. Thank you Faye. You have no idea how much you mean to me.
MUSIC!!! HOW COULD I FORGET MUSIC! MUSIC GOT ME THROUGH ALL THE EMOTIONS OF 2021, especially this playlist!!!
And finally, I've found that treating myself for hitting certain personal and work related goals has really helped to motivate me and keep me going. I've always been an advocate for treating yourself at certain key times in your life, treating yourself to something special that means whenever you look at that particular thing, you will feel proud of yourself and your achievements or you'll be flooded with happy memories of the time you purchased it and why.
I lost my way a bit with that for some time but 2020 allowed me to realise my potential again and I was reminded of so much of myself that I lost for a little while. The term "treat yourself" was a term we used a lot last year, that and "life is short" both of which I think are good words to live by don't you?
I hope these little and large pockets of hope have registered something in maybe some of you (?) and you can relate in some way to some of the points made. I hope they'll also allow you to look at your own life and what you're grateful for, I think it's so important to try and seek the good in every part of life, especially in these times of struggle and strangeness. We're all different and I know some aren't into this positive malarky and being outwardly grateful for the good, and thats fine, but I find it a great help and I know many of you do too so this post is for you as much as it is therapeutic for me 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to read, and please do leave anything you've found to help you over the last year in the comments below, I'd love to hear them.