2020: The good things.

With all the bad news coming our way in the recent past, I decided to sum up the GOOD that was brought to my life thanks to the pandemic. Its impact on our daily life is inevitable. For me though, when I do the aftermath (well, maybe more like a mid math as we're not done yet sadly), I'm able to see how positively this whole thing affected my life. At first, when they issued lockdown order and we were stuck at home for at least 2 months, it felt like an absolute nightmare. I never really got used to it (living the 'free as bird' life until then), and I was counting the days until they let us out again. In the first stage, I was quite unhappy, I felt stuck. I knew I couldn't do anything to make the outside world better. It was not in my control. Future was unsure, nobody knew what's going to happen tomorrow, in a week ... What an unsettling feeling we all had to deal with. I spent most days of these 2 months in my little apartment between the 4 walls, all by myself. The only time I left my 1-room flat, was to go buy groceries one block away from the apartment building I live in. I left in a mask, with sweatpants on, hair in a bun and zero make-up. You have no idea how done I was with this lifestyle. I was all moody in the beginning. You are used to living in a certain way and then it's taken away from you in a day! I was mad, I couldn't understand why they put our lives on pause. There was no choice, there was no option B, I simply had to follow the rules and wait. Wait, wait, and wait. Anybody else was going crazy? Most of us, I dare to say. I spent at least a few weeks in this mindset, before the things slowly started to change. My attitude turned around completely one day. I found out that the only way out of this cycle is to get it sorted in my own head. Deal with the things I've been consciously postponing, the things that were unsolved for so long that they started to rot. I needed this breakdown more than anything. It forced me to figure myself out and make major life changes.

'Nature is the greatest place to heal and recharge.' πŸŒ²

Here's a little list of the shifts that happened to me this year. The good changes that I'm thankful for.

I stopped senseless shopping πŸ›️
During the lockdown, I was literally buying just food once a week. I didn't want to spend any extra money not knowing what the situation will be like moving forward with jobs and economy in general. I stopped buying clothes, cosmetics and things I simply didn't need. I stopped going to the gym and all kinds of events (well, it was forbidden anyways), ... I had to use only the stuff I already had at home. And I realized I already have everything I need to survive! Food, hygiene, internet and roof over my head. The only thing that I truly missed was having my favorite people around. I would play YouTube videos in the backgound to feel a bit more alive. I missed socializing so much. But when you're at home and all you do is working and simply surviving, you really don't need to spend much money. (I spent the extra money I saved up on my outdoor activities later on! 😍)

▷ I'm appreciating true friends even more πŸ‘­
To be honest, this pandemic showed us who our true friends are, isn't that so? You know, sometimes people filter themselves out of our lives, and that's okay. In fact, you should be grateful for it. If that happens, don't ever chase that person who chose to walk away from you when you're dealing with the worst. I can say that I only have a few really good friends, but it's about quality, not quantity when you get to this age. Knowing you can rely on someone no matter what's happening, knowing that they will pick up the phone in the middle of a night and stop everything they're doing to come help you, that's what true friendships are about! Don't settle for less. You don't have to chase people who are meant to be in your life, let them go. On the other hand, value and appreciate those who love you even more, tell them often how much they mean to you, care for them just the same.

▷ I re-connected with many people on-line πŸ’»
So much time, so little options to interact with other human beings. Thank God for the internet, right? We were all mad at the internet at least once in our lifetime. But how great it is to have a Wi-Fi during the lockdown, hm? You can't go out and hang out at your favorite cafΓ©. Yet you're a social person who needs some kind of buzz. Social media was all of a sudden the only way to catch up with friends and family, coworkers or old acquaintance. I've actually found my way back to many people from the past recently. Checking on them, remembering them and wanting to know how they're doing. I re-connected with some sweet people and I probably wouldn't do it otherwise if I'm being honest. Because when I'm on my regular schedule, I'm usually very busy with work and other activities (and I read Instagram and Facebook messages only like once a month).

I'm done with fake nails & too much make-up πŸ’…
I was getting the fake acrylic nails done for almost 2 years when the virus came around. I would go get my nails done twice a month for at least 700 CZK ($30). When they closed all the beauty salons for 2 months, I had to peel the gel remains off of my nails as I was honestly so over it. So much hassel to get it done every time, so little time, oh and so much money! And who exactly was I trying to impress? My nails were super damaged on top of it. Paper thin. So I decided to finally keep my natural nails. Since March 2020, I haven't even put any nail polish on them (except for this transparent oil for strenghtening the nails). It's such a relief not having to go to a salon every time. More time for a walk, for hanging in a hammock. Same with make-up. My skin healed completely while in quarantine. I didn't use any make-up and my acne disappeared. No cystic acne since, just a little blemish here and there. I think I honestly don't need that much make-up. I still wear a BB cream and mascara for work but I haven't bought any new beauty product except for the face cream in 6 months. I think I'm closer and closer to not wearing it at all eventually.

I've been reflecting on my life ✨
The virus totally broke our routine and we had A LOT of time to reflect on ourselves and re-structure our lives. I feel like everybody came up with something that was way due to solve. Everybody had to think about their lives and how they want to live moving forward. We were basically forced to be with ourselves 24/7 and we probably realized it's not so easy. Spending so much time with our own head, our deepest thoughts and fears, thinking about problems that we let be and never solved. BURST! πŸ’₯ Your soul was desperately just looking for some peace. Things needed to be addressed finally. So much thinking, overthinking, re-thinking ... I know a few couples that ended up breaking up during this time, because they couldn't actually stand living together when they got stuck at home together. Funny how we don't know how amazing / bad our life is until we stop and have to face it daily. We are in this cycle of going to work, going back home, doing chores, and we never stop. God forbid we stop! I've been watching MANY spiritual videos in the past months (I especially love Aaron Doughty), I watched relationship coaching videos (love you Matthew Hussey!), motivation videos (Sadhguru is amazing), hiking vlogs and I'm getting curiouser and curiouser! I'm expanding my spiritual awareness and learning to enjoy my life to the fullest! 

I'm appreciating my job and amazing coworkers πŸš€
I'm lucky enough to work in the IT field. As a PPC specialist I'm good with just my computer. I can set up campaigns and communicate with my clients via internet. Our company let us work from home for at least 2 months. I actually didn't have to stop working during the worst virus outburst and I realize some people weren't so lucky. For example retail workers lost their jobs overnight, often without any compensation. I feel super grateful for the job I have, for having such amazing people around me. Me and my coworkers kept in touch and spent hours talking work and life via Google hangouts. We kept each other sane and I will always be grateful for how supportive these people are. I just couldn't wait to be able to go to the office ASAP. So over the lockdown and super excited to be back at my desk now.

I cleaned out my closet πŸ‘’
I wasn't just cleaning my head during the quarantine. I felt this desperate need to also get rid of things I don't like / wear / want anymore. So one day I opened my big closet in the hallway and threw everything out on the floor. I started sorting out all my clothes, one bag for charity, another one to be mercilessly thrown away. If you do this once in a while, you know that refreshing feeling you get afterwards. Our style changes of course, so does the need to own and wear certain things. When donating my old clothes to one of the textile container we have all over Prague, I also felt like I did a good thing by recycling some stuff. What's useless for me, can actually be useful for someone else!

I became more adventurous 🌲
We were not able to travel during the first stage of lockdown, of course. It was very strict. But right when things started to go back to normal (around mid May here in Prague), I was hungry for some nature fix. After staying home for so long, I took every opportunity to get out of the city via train or bus, to the nature. It's honestly the best thing, to be able to spend some time outdoors, breathe in the fresh air, watch wild animals, eat some forest fruit. In the woods, I'm able to switch off my brain completely and just enjoy the present. To be completely clear, I've always loved nature trips and hikes but now it's on a much higher level. My soul and body seek it, more and more recently. And I became a hopeless nature lover. This year, I made a bunch of hiking equipment purchases and I haven't bought any new fashion piece that isn't for outdoor this year yet. Wow. We really do change.

▷ I refreshed my apartment 🏠
When I moved into my apartment in August 2019, it was pretty much furnished and I just did some tiny adjustments - like added decorations and bought kitchen tools etc. I wasn't sure whether I was going to stay in Prague for a year or longer, so I didn't want to settle too much or spend money on furniture, not knowing my plan. Then came March (the virus thing that I don't even want to name here), and my home was the only place I could be at. Quarantined, working from home, I wasn't fully satisfied with the concept of my flat. I needed more light and space, comfortable chairs and some creative space. I knew that if it was for me, I'd definitely make some changes. Oh well, it WAS FOR ME after all! And I decided that since the travelling as we know is unsure for at least one more year (let's be real), I might as well make the space I live in the most beautiful and desirable place! So I made it exactly what I wanted it to be. I went to IKEA like 5 times and made my dream come true. I moved the bed (and I'm sleeping better since), I got rid of some pieces I didn't use, replaced them with a desk that formed my little creative corner. Now my flat is finally airy and spacious and I absolutely LOVE coming back there every day. (There'll be an apartment tour post soon!)

▷ Plants, and more plants 🌱
My friend Tereza transformed her apartment while in quarantine as well. She made a botanic garden in her room and I wrote about it in case you missed it. She's my best friend so I spend a lot of time with her, of course. And when I saw it, it inspired me to get some plants myself. Why should I NOT create a little jungle in my flat? It brings me a piece of nature when I can't go out. It evokes freshness. I love the color GREEN! Plus, I can finally learn to care for plants - it's about time. I was only able to care for a cactus that is the most undemanding plant ever. Time to step up the game! πŸ˜Ž You should see me every morning. I'm spraying the plants, watering them and, oh well, giving them cute names. Maybe I did get a bit crazy during the lockdown. πŸ˜‹

'We all have two lives. -
The second one starts when we realize we only have one.'

Would you add anything else on this list? How has this year been for you so far? Were you able to find good in the bad? I hope you aren't affected by all that is happening in any bad way. Wishing you all the best! XO Zuzana

(Oh, and if you want some food for your soul in the meantime, check my Spiritual board on Pinterest)

(The grass is definitely greener in KrkonoΕ‘e πŸ˜‰)

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