2020 has been a year to remember. One for the history books for sure!
Who would have thought, back in January, that this year would turn out like this?
While this year has been tough for many, let's not forget all the positive things that have happened too.
After 3 months of a national lockdown and with many parts of the UK still in local/regional lockdown, people's mental, as well as physical, health has been hit hard. The media publicises all the bad that is going on in the world, sharing headlines of positive Covid tests. However, they forget to acknowledge the good that is happening in the world too!
Throughout April and May, we shared some of good that was going on in the world during lockdown (Quarantine Positivity / Quarantine Positivity 2.0) and there's more today. It's been a tough year, but there has been some good to come out of it!
Children are now back in schools and the memories they will hold with them of this year will be those of spending quality time with parents; learning to ride bikes; baking cakes; and a whole host of holisitc skills that school won't teach them. It'll be those memories of 2020 that kids will take with them, so why don't we hold onto them too?! Forget about the hard times and hold onto the memories of spending time with families, facetiming friends, and endless quizzes. Memories of a summer spent in the sun down at the beach or playing in the park!
Many businesses, especially those in the tourism industry, have struggled this year but the boom in staycations has helped massively. When things start to back to this 'new normal' let's continue to have 'staycations', help support those businesses in the UK because there are so many places in England that can be just as stunning as anywhere abroad!
2020 has been the year where people take up something new. Whether that is a new skill or hobby found during lockdown or a resolve that once things started to ease you were going to start something new (have you stuck to it...Why not?)
Lots of people have decided to take up paddleboarding with most suppliers selling out of stock just weeks after lockdown measures started to relax! Paddleboarding is a great up-and-coming sport that develops your coordination, core strength and your stability! There's much more to do than everyone's 'go to'...kayaking. If standing on the board isn't for you, then treat it as a kayak and sit or kneel. But with a paddleboard, you have the option to venture out and go one step (or two steps) higher and stand up!
You may have a bumpy start to paddleboarding but once you relax into it, it becomes a very easy activity. It is perfect for something to do on lakes or rivers and for those feeling a bit more adventurous, try it on the sea! It has all the relaxing qualities of a lake (most of the time) with the added extra of a little bounce on the occasional swelly day and the stunning scenery and caves you don't necessarily get elsewhere.
North Devon has a stunning coastline, with many people visiting just to walk the South West Coastpath, so why not view it from a different angle? Take to the water and learn a new skill while you enjoy the beauty that Devon has to offer!
So many people have used what they could of 2020 to tick things off their bucket list. In September, over 500 people were lucky enough to take part in the Exmoor Open Water Swim. While marshalling, we had the opportunity to see what it meant to so many, being able to put on and take part in this Covid safe event! Swimmers ages 12 to 70 took part for a variety of reasons; whether it was training for a channel swim, a goal before a 50th birthday, or just to oush themselves! It was great to see their faces on the finishing line when they'd conquered this challenge.
Are you looking to push yourself as 2020 comes to an end and 2021 begins?
We've seen so many people this summer come coasteering for the same reasons people took part in the Exmoor Swim. Coasteering will see you siwmming, climbing and jumping your way around the coast - perfect for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies! With exclusive access to some of North Devon's best coasteering spots, we can definitely get this one ticked off your bucket list for you!
One of the other side effects of the national lockdown at the start of this year, is the massive increase in the number of people suffering with mental health issues. The outdoors can be such a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, some doctors are even beginning to prescribe outdoor therapy as a treatment for depression.
The charity SurfWell has been set up to provide wellbeing support for those working in the emergency services who are suffering with PTSD among other mental health conditions. It provides a safe space to promote psychological, physical and psychosocial well-being - something that is of vital importance over the coming months as the effects of Covid continue to unravel.
Getting outside has many benefits other than just relieving stress, it is proven to help focus people. As we see many people continue to work from home, the likelihood is that concentration levels and productivity will fall, so getting regular doses of the outdoors will boost your productivity and efficiency.
People may start to feel isolated when working from home, and inter-teamworking skills may start to dip as interaction is limited and/or is only over zoom. It is important to keep morale up, maybe through rewards or incentives. Or use teambuilding days as a way of ensuring the team gel and work together effectively and efficiently. There's a whole host of teambuilding ideas out there, from physical things like getting in the sea, to mental challenges like escape rooms or other activities. Pushing people out of their comfort zones is a great way of seeing how people react, as well as providing a great bonding experience for teams.
This year has been one to remember, one to learn from. Let's move forward striving to do better, to take care of ourselves, those around us and the world. We are in a very different position now than we were in at the start of this pandemic, but let's not revert back to how we were before. Embrace this 'new normal', and check in on friends you haven't seen or spoken to in a while.