In our spot where we chat about things to do with wellbeing and mental health, a few words on what’s been ‘a bit of a year’.

Hello and welcome to Wellbeing and Mental Health Matters, a quite corner to sit back and chill, feet up and mug in hand.

This is my last column of 2020, and the end of my first year writing for Film Stories. I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has stopped by, engaged, commented, or has taken something positive away from it. You’re ace.

I don’t think we could have foreseen, at the start of the year, how things would pan out. I look back at my first columns with their uncertain steps of optimism as the year began. I wrote about breaking out from your normal routine, about changing the voices in your head, and about finding joy in the small things.

Then we hit March, and the world shifted. The pandemic took Pandora’s Box, blew the lid off and shook every spite inside loose, infecting the world with fear, disease and uncertainty that buried under the skin, and into every aspect of our lives.

There was the long quiet of spring into summer, where we looked for rainbows and distractions, kept our doors closed and our families at a distance. Late summer had a brief burst of colour, when lockdown was lifted, and we found an appreciation for the outdoors, for the simple things in life like a walk and a cold beer with a view.

We’ve talked about things that brighten us up – old fashioned mix tapes, films, music and books, cake. Probably a bit too much cake.

We’ve talked about loss, about grief. About asking for help or seeking medical help in these uncertain times. Together we’ve walked a lot of crooked paths.

I’ve written about reaching out to people over social media, about being heard from behind a closed door. I’ve been grateful for the company of you all, helping me through a year in which I’ve not been well physically.

What we have perhaps not reflected on yet, with this year still so raw around us, is that however we’ve done it, we have gotten through it. We may have found talents that were previously hidden. Reserves of strength that have seen not just ourselves, but other people through very tough times.

We have seen immense bravery and commitment from frontline workers across all spectrums. In a world flooded with negativity, there are people who have shone out of the gloom, giving hope and support to millions of us.

We might not have achieved everything we hoped to this year, fulfilled resolutions we made to ourselves at the end of last year. That’s okay. We’ve been coping with a pandemic, a recession, a whole heap of trouble that pushes other concerns to one side while we deal with the reality of now. Be kind to yourself, when looking back at this year.

So, a huge thank you for seeing me through this first year, a year that went in directions none of us could have predicted. I hope that when we next meet, on the shores of New Year, that we are looking towards to a brighter spring. Whatever you do this festive period, I wish you and yours a safe and happy time.

Take care, Jane.

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