2021: My year of change

The beginning of 2021 was so scary for me.


We had just survived the horror that was 2020, I was still (barely) surviving on a drastically reduced salary and my mental health was in the gutter. There was barely any reason to be excited about the new year.


And yet, 12 months later, 2021 turned out to be one of the best years of my life!


Mainly because I desperately needed to deal with my anxiety which got worse since the onset of the pandemic, I took on a much-needed journey of healing in January. Somehow, life as I knew it HAD to change. My sanity - my LIFE depended on it. I made the decision to change my life and it has been the best decision of my life! These are the main things I did that have brought me the beautiful results that are now visible on the outside, but which I've been feeling on the inside for months:


1. Embracing Sobriety

Anyone who's known me over the years knows that I loved my booze and there was no separating me and my Savannah. But as I rang in the new year in 2021, I decided to cut back on the booze. The aim was to go sober for at least three months (something I've done before) but three months turned to six and 12 months later, I haven't been drunk and my sobriety has become a permanent lifestyle change. And let me tell you this, it feels AMAZING! My energy levels are so much better, my skin looks better than ever before and my mental health has improved beyond my wildest imagination.


2. Finding my way back to fitness

I've always had a love and hate relationship with fitness. I was one of those people who swore that it was impossible to stay consistently fit without the guidance of a trainer. But with my finances looking as miserable as they did post 2020, and my mental health in the pits, I had to give solo fitness a serious chance. So with my cheap exercise mat some free workout programs online, I got my butt moving. It started out with 20-minute beginner workouts once a week and I worked up my strength to do four to five advanced sessions for one hour every week. I've seen my strength and stamina increase over the months and as the experts say, with consistency, this new hobby soon became a lifestyle. I absolutely love exercising and can't imagine going even a week without some kind of workout.


3. Working on myself to better my relationships

One of the things I've struggled with my entire life is dealing with childhood trauma and having it affect my relationships negatively. This year, I continued seeing a therapist to deal with my mental health and it has equipped me with valuable tools that have helped me deal with challenges in a healthy way. Where I was quick to anger, I now approach situations only after calming down. Where I blamed others for every conflict I got into, I now reflect on my own actions and take accountability for my own behaviour and shortcomings. It's not been easy taking the high road but I swear it has brought me so much peace and my relationships have improved a whole lot. My friend Tuyeime can attest to this.


4. Adopting a fail-proof morning routine

This has been one of the most hectic years of my life but somehow, building a morning routine has made my days so much easier to manage. My day typically starts at 04h30 in the morning. Legit. I've become THAT zalie. I typically start the day with an hour-long workout followed by spiritual devotion, a shower, and by the time my child wakes up, we both prepare for the day and I drop her off at school by 06h30. This means that I now arrive at work by 07h00, which gives me enough time to catch up on any unfinished work before tackling the new day's tasks. This routine is perfect because as a busy mom, I always have time to exercise AND put in extra hours at work to keep up with its demands. I also have enough energy for the day and am usually in a great mood because I start it off right by taking care of myself both physically and spiritually.


5. Intermittent fasting

Since giving birth almost eight years ago, my weight has fluctuated so badly and I've struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Intermittent fasting (IF) started out as a mere experiment but quickly became a part of my lifestyle because it helped me deal with all the issues I had with both my eating and subsequently, my weight. With this fasting method, I only eat during an eight-hour period (Between 12h00 to 19h30) . This has helped me to adopt a healthier relationship with food (I no longer overeat or emotionally eat at odd hours of the night because someone broke my heart). I also hardly crave unhealthy foods as my body has now become accustomed to good, nourishing foods that I mostly consume - all of which I can attribute to IF.


As I enter the next chapter of my life, I'm proud of everything I did to improve my body, mind, and soul in 2021. I hope that going into my 38th year on this earth, these lifestyle changes continue to be permanent features of my life. I know that only by doing this will my life continue to be as awesome as it was this year!

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Wearing many hats that include journalist, publicist, events organiser and freelance writer, Rukee is most passionate about storytelling and brand-building. 

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