New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

You’ve probably heard over and over again about how challenging the year 2020 was for the world. It was a year that certainly presented hardships for people all over the world due to all of the events that took place. It’s tough to reflect back on all of those moments and not get emotional. I’m lucky enough that I didn’t lose anyone to COVID, I’m grateful that I’m able to do my job safely from home, and I’m appreciative that I live in a safe and tolerant city. As we move deeper into 2021, it seems as though we’re still in for quite a few challenges. The pandemic is hanging on as we continue to navigate the vaccine process, our political environment is divided and tense, and our social change has presented a lot of pushback from other areas of the country that may not be as ready for change.

As we get closer to our one-year anniversary of living in this pandemic, I’ve made a point to make sure that I’m taking care of myself in multiple ways. Being far from family has made this year difficult for me, as I haven’t been able to see them beyond Zoom. So I’ve learned to practice behaviors that make sure I’m mentally and emotionally okay. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, I’m carving out enough time and attention to making sure I’m taking care of myself. Some of what I’m sharing might make sense for you, and you might have found ways that work for you that I haven’t tried, so it’s all trial and error.

1. Pay attention to your sleep habits

I’ve never really been a “good” sleeper – following a schedule was always hard for me to do, and as a night owl, it’s so easy for me to stay up late and sleep in. Now that I’m working from home and no longer spending 2+ hours a day commuting to my office, I’ve found that I have more time to sleep. It could be really easy to stay up later because of this, but I’ve found that if I’m disciplined in when I go to bed, it’s easier to wake up in the morning. I also take natural aids that help push me to sleep if my anxiety about current events keep me awake. This helps me reach that sleepy “sweet spot.”

2. Keep tabs on your thoughts

Speaking of that anxiety, it’s really easy to let your wandering thoughts take you to worry about everything that’s going on in the world. So much of what’s happening is out of your control, but it can still keep you up at night. I’ve found that when I’m having those moments of extreme anxiety or worry, I’ll pull out a notebook and just jot them down. Sometimes it’s just a list, while other times, I’m writing pages and pages of how I’m feeling about everything. While writing these things out may not solve any of these problems, I find that by placing them in a different place gives my brain a rest and let’s me relax for a bit.

3. Getting outside

Living in New York City while all of this is happening has felt strange – there are some days that I almost forget that I live in this great city because I barely leave my apartment anymore. There are some days where I don’t even want to get out of bed – “what’s the point,” right? On those days, when I’m feeling particularly down, I force myself to get outside and just take a walk. The fresh air and the reminder that I’m still here, living in the greatest city in the world, gives me the pick-me-up that I needed. Often I find that it almost even gives me a second wind – I’ll come back home and feel rejuvenated, ready to dive back into whatever project I was working on.

4. Pay attention to your needs

No one knows your mental health needs better than yourself. You know what this means. For me, I still see my therapist (virtually) once a week. I find this is a really good exercise, as it gives me the opportunity to check in with my doctor to make sure I’m doing okay. This looks different for every person – for some, mental health maintenance means exercising or reading or meditating or creating art. Whatever your mental health practices are, I urge you to keep them and do them as often as you can.

Category : Stay in New York

The beginning of January typically inspires us to look ahead and think about how we want to improve ourselves. Maybe we want to eat better, exercise more, pick up more hobbies, or just spend more time with loved ones. In January 2020, I made a list of things that I wanted to achieve during the year – some were tactical, like reading 20 books, while some were more aspirational, like being kinder to myself. Given how quickly everything changed in 2020, I completely forgot about that list until a few weeks ago when I found it. I couldn’t help but laugh, as the circumstances didn’t really allow me to achieve a lot on my list (like taking more vacations), but it has me thinking about how I want to go into 2021. I know that our world will continue to be uncertain, so I’m going into my list with a bit more flexibility in mind.

One of the other things I discovered in 2020 was a greater appreciation for finding silver linings amidst so much hardship and challenges. As time went on in 2020, it was hard to not feel completely defeated. Instead of narrowing in on the elements that were stressful or made me sad, I would try and find the silver linings. It wasn’t an easy task, but the one that had the biggest impact was how I was saving money. I know that this looks differently for each person, as I recognize that I was able to keep my job, didn’t have to move, or didn’t have to tap into my savings or look into getting loans. More than that, however, I realized just how much I was saving – this is also something that I’m hoping to integrate into my 2021 financial plan and strategy, so I wanted to share what those ideas were so that you can take those into consideration as well.

1. Spend more time DIY

I’m not the most artistically driven person of all-time, so I’m still a bit surprised that I’m writing this, but after the first few months of quarantine, I started to get creative. Instead of spending money at the salon for some “me-time,” I created a spa-like experience at home with essentials I found at the drugstore. It’s the same effect but massively cheaper. It also forced me to gain more independence in the kitchen – I’ve never been much of a cook, but since dining out wasn’t an option, I had to start getting experimental with the foods I’m used to, which was a huge money-saver as well.

2. Socialize differently

I didn’t realize how much money I was spending on a weekly and monthly basis until I couldn’t go out to socialize anymore. Between the pricey meals and cocktails and even the Ubers home if it was too late for public transportation, $30 here and $50 there definitely added up. Now, I enjoy making my own cocktails at home and having virtual happy hour with my friends. Not only is this great because I can experiment with my mixology skills and still see my pals, but I’m also super comfy at home and saving tons of money in the long run.

3. Reorganize your long-term finances

This is completely unique to your position, so what worked for me here might need to be tweaked to satisfy what makes sense for you. In March, interest on my federal student loans was paused, which meant that every payment I made towards my balance went to my principle amount, which meant that I was getting closer to a $0 balance faster. I’ve been able to make payments as the months went on, saving me hundreds of dollars in the long run. Interest is set to kick back in in the new year, but because I was able to whittle my balance down so much without the interest, payments will be much easier. If you have student loans or tuition payments, be sure to reach out to your lender or your institution to find out what your options are depending on your circumstances.

You have likely found your own financial silver linings in 2020, so it’s a great idea to take those learnings and find a way to implement them into your 2021 habits. No matter what the world looks like and how back to “normal” we’ll be, I plan on emulating a lot of these practices so I can get a better handle on my spending and overall financial well-being.

Category : Stay in New York