I'm not sure if it's for the best that I'm writing this at the end of January or not, because at the end of 2019 the dawn of a new decade seemed like we might be launching into things improving in our world. However, almost one month in and we're finally about to launch out of the EU, Trump's impeachment trial is getting shadier by the day, WW3 has already been trending on twitter and there's a deadly virus forcing people to be quarantined. 2020 is off to a stellar start.
2019 was a bit of a challenging year for me personally, but without sounding vomit-inducing I really felt as though I grew into my own person a bit more. I learnt to take things a little slower, how to really set boundaries on toxic people in my life, and dealt with some hard mental health issues that I feel like I've come out the other side of. Which breaks me on to the start of my 2019 recap ...
2019 mental health
This was a real focal point of my year. In January I stopped taking antidepressants and the different stages of withdrawal from that was astounding. I finally felt as though I'd really stabilised in around mid-December, so it pretty much took 11 months for everything to sort itself out. It was tough, and there were moments where I felt lower than I had done in years, but I'm glad that I stuck with it, and I'm feeling pretty okay at the moment. There were a few issues that I faced in terms of my relationships to other people that impacted my mental health a lot this year. I've learned to say no when I need to and tried not to shy away from difficult situations that would have more long-term repercussions on how I felt.
I mean, the whole antidepressant withdrawal was obviously probably a big one. However, I've struggled with my physical health more over the past year than I probably have ever done. I developed an vomit-inducing allergy to stone fruits that made me think I might be pregnant (I really miss peaches). I've got pompholyx eczema now, which is limited to my hands but pretty much always hurts or burns or itches. This is something I really want to get sorted (hopefully) in 2020.
I also gave up eating dairy. I eat the odd biscuit or piece of cake with dairy in, but for the most part I'm completely free of it. And good lord do I miss chocolate. And brie, and red leicester, and cheddar, and wow Christmas was a struggle without cheese. But, I no longer get any joint pain, the number of headaches I have has massively reduced and my skin got a little better.
I cut ten inches off of my hair to donate to the Princess' Trust. I'm SO glad I did it, but I've now reached the point where I'd kind of lie long hair again right now.
I mean, this has been the ultimate fail. I feel like between some mental health struggles and a lot of stress at work I lost some of my creativity. I miss looking forward to writing posts and taking photos. I miss filling in my bullet journal, and colouring to wind down of an evening. I think this year I really want to reclaim my creative side, because it's something I love to explore. Hopefully this will mean more posts from me after writing about a fifth of what I'd normally put out there last year!
2019 top posts
Although as I said there weren't many of them, I really enjoyed writing the posts I did post. Here are my top 5 - they're not top because they did the best, but top because they're my own personal favourites that I wrote:
1.) Save £100 a month from each paycheck. I'm actually *really* proud with how much money I managed to save this year, but it was all towards the latter end of the year, and definitely wasn't every month.
2.) Take 3 trips across the year. Another one that didn't quite go so well. There were a few days out, but only one actual trip for the whole year.
3.) Come off my antidepressants. This is something that I'm really proud of myself for sticking with even when it felt completely rubbish. It was the right time for me to come off them (and there's no shame in being on them, but I'd reached a point where I was okay without!).
4.) Exercise four times a week. Lol. I kept up with going to the gym for the whole of last year, but four times a week?! Who did I think I am?
5.) Reach 8K total followers. I'm on about 6.5K now, after removing a few hundred followers from Instagram that had clearly followed me years ago and were either random spammy porn accounts or are now inactive. It was a big hit followers wise, but because they never engaged with my content I didn't see a drop in likes/comments etc.
6.) Get a raise at work. This was a bit of a cheat goal because I was pretty sure it would happen in some form.
7.) Go on holiday with my sister. We totally considered planning a little getaway but honestly getting my act together is just something I'm not very good at. Maybe 2020 will be our year for just the two of us to take a trip somewhere!
8.) Clean and declutter the whole house. Absolutely not. I did a lot more cleaning this year than I've done in the past. Am I getting old, or do I just actually care about where I spend most of my time? I would love to do a proper big clear out though!
9.) Lead a more sustainable lifestyle. There were a lot of changes I made this year on this front. From using recycled toilet paper to having re-useable cotton makeup remover pads, we really tried to tackle our waste at home this year.
10.) Go on a long car journey alone. I've been driving for a year and a half now and the anxiety I get being in the car on my own is just not worth it.
All in all I managed a solid three out of ten goals last year, which isn't exactly great. But I'm really proud of the achievements I did manage.
I really want to make this a really great year, so let's DO THIS:
1.) Get my eczema sorted. This has really been getting me down over the past six months or so because it's just relentless. I'm hoping that I can find out what's causing it, get some better treatment and be eczema free this time next year.
2.) Save over £1000. Last year was the first year I've ever had any savings whatsoever (I'm always a paycheck to paycheck kinda gal). This year I really want to nail trying to save a decent amount of money because adulthood is extra hard when you have no fallback, and haven't even started trying to save for a house.
3.) Deep clean and declutter the whole house. I'm *hoping* that we don't have to move again this year, and if not then we'll be heading into the two years mark since we moved in. It really feels like it's time to do a proper clean and sort out all the junk we've gathered.
4.) Try using eco-friendly period products. I'm not sure I'm quite brave enough for a mooncup, but I'd love to switch to re-usable pads or underwear or even just biodegradable cotton pads. We waste so much plastic through normal period products and it's something that is bothering me more and more.
5.) Keep up with my gym membership. Going to the gym at least once a week is something that makes me feel good about myself and massively reduces my stress levels. I want to start getting into more classes again as well.
6.) Learn to knit. I want to be more creative, and learn a new hobby this year. Knitting is something that looks really soothing and I'd love to be able to even just make my own scarf. If you know any good Youtube tutorials, or where to start at all, then please HMU.
7.) Try new foods and new activities in Croatia. I've booked my first summer holiday in years and I'm SO EXCITED. I'd like to not be guided by my anxiety, but actually make some really good memories and be brave.
8.) Reach 8K total followers. This would be a big jump for me, but hitting 3,500 Instagram followers, 3,500 twitter followers and 1000 bloglovin followers would be amazing. I'd love to get to 500 Youtube subscribers this year, so let's see!
9.) Work towards a promotion. I love my job, and I work really hard at it so this year I'd really like to move closer to that next step up.
10.) Buy sustainable gifts and use sustainable wrapping this Christmas. I dread to think how much waste goes to landfill each year because of Christmas. It's my favourite time of year, but it's killing the planet quicker than we can cope with, so I'm going to make a real effort this year to make my impact as minimal as possible.