2020 was probably the most anxiety triggering year people like me have felt in a long time. There were so many unknowns throughout this year, and I’ve shared my own experience with job loss and quarantining. (Please wear your mask!)

At the end of it all, I’ve learned 5 important life lessons in finance, health and more:

Live in the moment and be thankful: In these COVID days, who knows what tomorrow will bring? Each day I was home in lockdown, each day spent with my family because I didn’t have to go to work, each day wondering how to spend my time now that I had so much of it, I learned how to stop planning for tomorrow and enjoy today. And in the process, I found out that focusing on today actually reduced my anxiety! It makes sense if you think about it. Anxiety is worrying about what will happen in the future. So turn off the future thinking brain, and live in the moment now, because there may be things happening around you that are worth experiencing.

Invest in the stock market:  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people in their twenties to invest now! My husband and I did soon after we got married, and now we have a good chunk of change that we can withdraw whenever we need it. Full disclosure, withdrawals are taxed at different levels, so check out how much you’ll pay in taxes before withdrawing. And what did we invest in? Companies that we were familiar with and knew would be around for decades, such as Apple and Disney.

Eat carbs and still lose weight: Banana bread is awesome! Okay, I already figured that out years ago when my mom used to make it. But during lockdown I did a lot more baking than usual, and I still lost weight! How? I wasn’t sitting at my desk 8 hours a day. Seriously!

I walked around more and also found a few work out videos on YouTube I liked. So I learned it is possible to eat carbs and maintain weight loss at my age. Because at the end of the day, physical health is more about how much I move, than how much bread I eat. (Within reason of course.)

Find beauty where it’s not expected: People often travel to far away places to find beautiful beaches, romantic sunsets, mountain views, etc. But for those of us with busy minds, it’s very helpful to see beauty in the mundane things. Such as this video I captured of rain falling onto a manhole cover.

I must have walked by this manhole hundreds of times, but this is the first time I appreciated the rugged aesthetics of metal nestled into concrete while the rain pooled on top of it. For me, the rain doesn’t just have visual appeal, I also find the pitter patter sound quite soothing.

Make mental health a priority: I wouldn’t say I was neglecting my mental health, but at the same time, I wasn’t really giving it the full attention it deserved. Particularly when it came to the stress from my job. Now that I can take a breath and not be in such a rush all the time, I’m much more aware of how job stress was impacting my mental health, which directly correlated to my physical health.

I’m now going to take these 5 lessons with me into the new year. And when I do land a new job, it will be with a new attitude as a thankful, loyal employee, who does not compromise my mental and physical well being. And that’s more than just a soon to be broken new years’ resolution, it’s a lifestyle change that will last well beyond 2021. Hope some of these lessons will help you too.

Have a safe and happy new year!!