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Hello 2021


2020 was certainly a heck of a year and that's putting it lightly. These past few months have taught us to be even more grateful especially for our health and our families. This pandemic caused quite the disruption to our daily lives, while also adding uncertainty, fear, anxiety and lifestyle changes. Needless to say, this has been an extremely challenging year for us with lows and highlights.

While it's time to turn the page on 2020 and welcome 2021, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the significant moments we've accomplished and should be proud of - they certainly have brought us together in so many ways! On a global level, we developed a vaccine in record time, started to show more appreciation for local and small businesses, have put more of a focus on mental health and supporting those in need, learned to be grateful for those close to us and our health, spent more time at home and outdoors, witnessed incredible feats with social and racial injustice, found the silver lining in the little things and the list goes on!

While I didn't post as much as I had hoped for on my blog this year, I couldn’t let the year go by without publishing my annual end-of-year post where I share a recap on the year and my goals for the upcoming year. 

Hello 2021 By Rosalyn Gambhir The Staycationer

Recap

I wanted to share something I wrote on Instagram on March 22, 2020 - a week after we went into our first official full lockdown:

Truth: It’s been a long and tiring week staying up to date during these challenging times. This weekend I finally took a moment to let everything sink in and reflect. ❤ I've been avoiding talking about what's happening (publicly) as it adds to my anxiety and positive thinking lets me coast and avoids stress (I know I’m not alone).⠀

During this difficult time, my feed and stories will be a place of positivity for our community and I look forward (with you all!) to share practical yet inspiring ways to uphold our #YGK spirit in the face of this global challenge. As always, I’ll be continuing to share my love of local businesses/restaurants, recipes, bae and his gardening (@rootswithryan), our pup Dakota and more! And leave a comment below to let me know what YOU would like to see, hear and learn more about!

We will get through this together. 

The response I received from this post made my cheeks hurt from smiling as I do what I do online for the love of my community! The words I wrote above still ring true to the type of content I hope to share and the feelings still linger as well even as we welcome a new year. This emotional rollercoaster of a year had us feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless and exhausted, but most importantly we persevered. We were hopeful, resilient and strong! Even though we were six feet apart, it brought us closer together as a community more than ever.

Personally, it definitely allowed me to spend more time with my fiancée and pups Dakota!

Rosalyn Gambhir, Dog, Fiancee, Home Sweet Home Doormat

2020 was filled with...

A global pandemic. A vaccine. Unprecedented times. Staying home. Quarantine. Face masks. Flattening the Curve. Social distancing. Endless amounts of hand sanitizer. Lockdowns. A new norm. Essential workers and front line staff. Unemployment. Chaos. Struggle. Black Lives Matter movement and racial reckoning. Grief. Climate change. A presidential impeachment. A monumental election. Transformation. Supporting local and small businesses. Work from home. Zoom calls. FaceTime. Microsoft Teams meetings. No makeup days. Loungewear. Baking bread.

Working from Home

On March 11th, the World Health Organization officially declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic and thus, the new norm of working from home was set upon my colleagues and I on March 16, 2020. While many thought this to be temporary, we were wrong. We're now almost 11 months in and no end in sight. Working, sleeping, eating, breathing and trying to decompress all in the same space has become exhausting. Pair all of that with an increase in screen time and well I don't need to tell you what that does to someone's mental health.

In 2020, the lines between home life and work were very much blended. While the luxury of working from home was appealing to many, what we’re forgetting is that, for most of us, an office wasn't just an office, it was a place where we spent most of our time. A place to eat lunch with our peers, vent about the frustrations of work and life. An office provided a routine, a structure and above all, a community.

But now, our computers and our screens act as barriers as we sit at home. We don't get to see our peers every day like we use to. We might have check-ins, team meetings and mental health resources but at the end of the day, there is no substitute for seeing and interacting with people. We no longer have the spur of the moment meetings or casual hallway chats that lead to creative ideas or to simply catch up.

Personally, the work from home process was fine and dandy at the start, but I did get into a major rut. I was feeling unmotivated, anxious, tired and unable to sleep well. I was groggy when I woke up. My mind was foggy. While I juggled pretty much two roles and gave 110% to my day job, my personal life was lacking. Work-life balance was non-existent some days. My workspace at home became my office for my day job when it was originally dedicated as my creative zone.

While I did have workplace flexibility with my work schedule, this also hindered me as I'd sometimes do work at night when I knew I'd get bursts of energy or sparks of motivation or have my creative juices going to get work done for the social media aspect of my role. I was more focused and present, primarily due to it being silent with no distractions of my dog barking (love Dakota but she can be loud!), notifications, video calls or meetings. 

Overall, this work from home situation is still an adjustment. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Social Media & Its Consumption

With news of lockdowns and measures to stay home, it's no surprise people took to social media to keep busy and entertained this year. But 2020 was no joke for communications and social media managers as the start of the new decade brought on a whole new set of challenges with trying to stay afloat with the overload of information.

The positive to 2020 was the incredible community on Twitter that came together! There are some true gems out there in the industry that simply shined the light on the hard work we do as professionals and it was refreshing. Go follow these amazing folks on Twitter: @jsstanse @AnthonyYepez @jenncrim @HashtagHeyAlexa @SippinSocialTea @chvrlesjr and introduce yourself using #MarketingTwitter.

I know for myself that friends and colleagues sometimes underestimate my responsibilities and assume my job in social is fun and easy. At the end of the day, we are digital bodyguards to a brand - we take all the hits and avoid situations from escalating up the chain. We know first hand the voice of the customer as we interact with our audiences on a daily basis, so we will certainly know how they'll react to information that is shared. We have crafted engaged and insightful communities where ultimately we have set a tone for the page. 

You might be asking yourself, why the heck is she going on about this stuff? The reason is that social media managers were online front line staff as well during 2020. Many suffered from burnout and were constantly exhausted by the bombardment of information, trolls, angry customers but also the consumption of evolving news while keeping up with the demand of their jobs.

One of the things I wanted to focus on during 2020 was to not have my work be my identity aka as a social media manager and communication lead, I am not the brand I work for aka I don't take anything personally when people comment, tweet or message. So when I finally close my laptop or put down my phone and disconnect from work at the end of the day, it’s my personal happiness, values and fulfillment that matter most.

Social & Racial Injustice

In June, I shared on the blog (read here) about how we need to use our voice with everything that still continues to happen even if it makes us uncomfortable. Taking the risk to speak up rather than staying silent. We showed that discomfort leads to bigger things. If we want to instill change, we need to do our part. We need to listen. We need to do our research. We need to start advocating for change in politics. We can't just plainly ignore what is happening. We need to have the willingness to learn. We need to open our hearts and our minds. If we have the capacity to speak out, respect boundaries and do so. I reminded people to have a conversation to “call-in” others rather than “calling out.” Our voices are powerful. We are a strong community that can make a difference. We need to be unified when it comes to injustices and continue this journey well into 2021 and further.

Supporting Local & Small Businesses

2020 allowed us to show our appreciation for local and small businesses more than ever! As we know, Kingston is a wonderful city and we know darn well the value and importance of community. With the news of the lockdown in Ontario, this year I focused on spreading the message of local love and supporting local, not just today but every day, as small businesses are the backbone of our community.

Remember that our community of passionate people keep our city alive and gives it its unique flavour. So by supporting those businesses, you also ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of our community. Also, in some shape, way, or form, we are personally invested as our friends, family and neighbours are local business owners or are employed by those owners. We celebrate when our favourite local business succeeds and we mourn when they're forced to shut their doors.

So please do me a favour. In 2021, let's continue to show our love for local! 💕

Supporting local and small businesses

Staying Home with Bae

If you asked my fiancée aka foodie partner in crime what he thought of 2020, he honestly would say that it had its silver lining. With all the chaos and disruption 2020 presented us with, he shifted his mindset to be more positive but in a manner where the tasks and projects he took on allowed him to have control in what seemed like an uncontrollable world. As he spent more time at home, he focused on our backyard, expanded his garden yield allowing us to be more self-sufficient in our eating habits, allowed us to become healthier (he's great in the kitchen!) and made our backyard a true zen zone.

Staying home brought about a newfound appreciation for the things that made us feel alive and finding joy in small things. While I was working from home, my escape from my desk was the outdoors and our backyard. Our evenings were filled with walking our dog Dakota, bonfires and roasting marshmallows, dinners on our deck, making homemade pizzas using our Ooni Karu (wood chip pizza oven!) and enjoying each other's company. Sounds cheesy and old couple like but we'd also bird watch as well! 😂

Lastly, along with the vegetables that Ryan grew this year, a highlight to each start of my work week was the fresh cut flowers from our garden on my desk along with my morning breakfast of toast with homemade jams that he made with the fresh black raspberries from our garden as well as local blueberries, strawberries and apples. Honestly, I think he needs to open his own shop!

p.s. go follow @RootsWithRyan on Instagram!

Backyard zen zone with tall trees and garden fresh tomatoes

In 2021, I hope to...

In an effort to try and end the year on a positive note, here are a few items I want to focus on in 2021:

1. Slow Down & Be Present

I'm committing to setting healthy boundaries in my life to prioritize and valuing my well-being. I've realized that I need to take moments to slow down, rest and recharge. It’s so easy to get caught up in the cycle of never sitting down, trying to cross off items on your to-do list and always feeling like you should be doing something. I’m quite guilty of this and taking a much-needed break is definitely needed if I want to perform and give my best to those around me.

Self-care is a priority, not a privilege.

As social media and communications professionals, we are part of an “always-on” culture. Always responsive. Always listening. Always plugged in 24/7/365 to our news feeds and consuming information even if we're not on the clock.

Like a pendulum, sometimes slowing down can feel like you’re moving backwards, but as I see it your stepping back to reflect so you can be pushed forward to grow even more. So today and moving forward, I'm going to allow myself to slow down a little. Remember that taking time for yourself is not selfish or lazy. We need to commend ourselves for getting through 2020 and knowing when I need to refocus to make space for mental breaks and protect my mental health is key to my well-being.

2. Stay Positive

Like I said in my post for 2020, this isn't a new goal whatsoever but a reminder. Having a positive mindset has played a huge role in my life for a few years now. Learning the ability to stay resilient when times are tough in life or work has held me together.  If you're struggling to shift your mindset, don't worry, honestly, it takes baby sets and doesn't happen overnight. Simply know and say to yourself that this is a moment in time that you will get through and get past it. Celebrating the small happy moments and the little joys in a day.

In a previous post, I said the following and it certainly still applies,

Staying positive leaves us more motivated, productive, improve our mood and of course likely to succeed. Remember to fuel your passion and go that extra mile - blogging and work can be quite demanding with struggles of burnouts and criticism. So keep your head held up high and rock what you've got!

We made it! Cheers to a new year!

Let’s look forward and hope for the day where we may see our loved ones who we have missed so much, travel again and not live in fear for our well-being.

Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether it's exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure within Kingston, Ontario and beyond. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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