As we start a new chapter, I felt it was important to look back at what I’ve learned over the past year and how I can make 2016 my best year yet.
Now, ideally, I would have liked to post this list much sooner but life happened. The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind and I’ve had no time to blog. I then had some issues with the blog itself but all has been resolved now! I’m making it one of my goals this year to make sure I put a post out at least every fortnight. I want OliviaZao.Com to grow to even greater heights.
2015 was an interesting year. It was varied and tumultuous and probably the most formative year of my life. But, because of that, I learned a great deal. I’ve summarised it all into my top 5 life lessons of 2015.
1. Your wellbeing is #1
Your health, both mental and physical, is of utmost importance for anything you want to do in life. I neglected my mental health for a large part of 2015, culminating in a terrible breakdown in November 2015. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to take a step back from the millions of things we have going on in our lives to just focus on our own wellbeing.
I also stopped going to the gym around April 2015 and noticed this had a negative impact on both my physical and mental health. I’m super excited to get back in the gym this month and take on new fitness goals. I also plan on fixing my diet and drinking lots more water.
2. Value your friendships and family
Following on from my first life lesson, having a strong support system around you is truly invaluable. I’m guilty of not being the greatest friend – my communication is terrible and I’m often caught up in my own little world. But when you start to truly value the friends you have around you, the effects are wonderful. Check in on each other, let them know what’s happening in your life, support them, help each other reach your goals.
The same goes for family. The unconditional love I feel from my family is indescribable. They have been so incredibly supportive, particularly in the most difficult stages of 2015. I know now that they can always be my first port of call.
3. Travel more, expand your horizons
As you know, I spent the most part of 2015 in Italy on my year abroad. An incredible and life-changing experience. It was this year away that was the final push for starting this blog. I adore travelling and I want to do lots more of it this year.
I also want to explore the UK a lot more, even London itself. When you live in a place, it can be very easy to look straight through everything that’s around you. I’m sure there are plenty of hidden gems around the country for me to explore.
4. Love yourself
If you’d like some more background to this life lesson, check out my body positivity post featuring a bunch of truly inspirational people.
This was one of the most important lessons I have learned, ever. Before anything else, you must love yourself. Recognise your talents, your beauty, the positive impact you have on people…all of you. In order to find true inner happiness, this is the first step.
This is an ongoing lesson. I often find myself slipping back into negative thinking and picking at flaws that aren’t really there, which is where my final life lesson of 2015 comes into play…
5. Remain positive and stay focussed
It sounds like a terrible cliché but keeping a positive mental attitude is key. A major key (shoutout to DJ Khaled!). Whether it’s at work, in your studies, or in your relationships, remain positive.
I’ve stopped allowing failures or other obstacles from getting me down. I used to deal with rejection very badly. I now try to identify the positives in every situation – understanding why something happened the way it did and how I can do better next time.
And focus. I have my goals for this year planned out in my head. I’m going to write them down and stick them up on my wall so I am constantly reminded what I am aiming for.
Thank you for the lessons, 2015.