Whitney from December 2020 here! I'm writing this post right before I go on my holiday break and thought it would be fun to schedule this for a whole year from now as a letter to my future self. Enjoy my own connection to my future self. Feel free to drop a reminder to yourself of where you were a year ago in the comments!
Every year in December I like to revisit the importance of managing your energy and setting boundaries. That's never felt more important than it does this year, after all the chaos of 2020. We got hit with everything from wildfires in Australia and California, to the pain racial injustice, to isolation and loneliness of COVID-19, and yet it felt harder than ever to set clear boundaries and protect my own energy.
My wish for you in 2021 is that you have absorbed those challenging lessons and feel even more confident about prioritizing what you value most.
As you head in to this holiday season, and the inevitable USAID solicitation that drops two weeks before the new year, I hope you are remembering everything that last year taught you (us?). Just in case you've forgotten, here are some of the things I'm thinking about right now:
It's okay to slow down, even when it feels hard. In mid-November this year I finally admitted to myself that I'd been turning all my election-related anxiety into working more and more and more. It can be easy to hide my feelings behind being busy all the time. This year taught me that it's important to feel the feelings that you're trying to hide behind the busy-ness.
Ask for help. The smartest thing that you did in 2020 was hiring Laura (our first intern), L'areal (our email marketing wizard), Keila (our tax accountant), and Jess (our social media associate) to help out. The second smartest thing was just realizing that you and SJ don't have to do it all or learn it all.
Habit-ize your coping mechanisms. One of my favorite lessons of the year is how essential it is to stop only rewarding yourself with self care after the stressful period. It only took til the middle of April to realize that I needed to build self care (journaling, meditation, movement, and skincare being my favorites) as daily, weekly, and monthly habits. They work best for me (you?) when they are consistent.
Be happy with what you have. This past year showed that you are incredibly privileged. The ability to work from home, earn money consistently this past year, and be an ally rather than a victim of racial injustice were all ways that your privilege showed itself this year. That means that you have so much to be grateful for, and no reason not to appreciate it. Gratefulness as a habit feels so important now.
While I truly hope that you are having less of a reason to focus on appreciation of the little things in 2021 because you've just had such a relaxing and less stressful year, I hope you have taken the time this month to look back and remember why it's important to slow down, create healthy boundaries, and prioritize your time off.
Here's to a warm and happy holiday season.
P.S. I seriously hope that you'll get to see all your nieces and nephews this year! Hug them extra tight for me.