After 2020, Here’s How Our Priorities Are Changing In 2021

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2020 was a chaotic year. As we’re coming off of that and taking our first steps into the new year, it’s important that we have a strong knowledge of what things we’re going to prioritize moving forward, and what things we’re leaving behind. Last year caught us off guard in a lot of ways, like maybe not having enough insurance for medical bills, not enough savings, and for many Americans, not enough money available to even keep food on the table. Some of us also struggled to prioritize ourselves and to connect to the people around us. Regardless of the hurdles we faced, we’re getting our new priorities in gear so that we can face 2021 smarter, wiser, and happier.

Home schooling during coronavirus quarantine.

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Having Proper Healthcare Coverage and Policies in Place

This might be one of the biggest changes in our priorities this year and for good reason. We’ve all made “being healthy and exercising” a new year’s resolution at least once in our lives if not every year, but this year, prioritizing our health is deeper and more important than ever. Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, shape, or form, so going into the new year with a clear knowledge of what your healthcare coverage includes and doesn’t is a good way of getting your house in order. Talk to your employer about what health benefits you’re eligible for and which ones you haven’t been taking advantage of. Discuss with your family life insurance if you don’t already have it in place. Lastly, if you haven’t already, consider keeping some money stashed away in case you or a loved one needs to take an urgent trip to the emergency room. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we never want to feel caught off guard when it comes to being able to take care of our health.

Happy Young African Family at Home

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Choosing to Make Time for Family and Friends

Last year, many of us got to spend more time with our families than we have in a long time, even if not physically. We were working from home, our children were learning from home, we were quarantining together, and we were Facetiming relatives near and far to check-in. That, in addition to all of the people who lost loved ones in 2020 due to coronavirus (and otherwise), really helped re-focus our priorities back onto our families in a new way. Going into 2021, family should stay at the forefront. If and when we do start going back into our formal offices this year and reclaiming our routines of what “normal” life used to be, letting quality time with family and friends fall to the wayside might be easy to do. Although our careers, goals, and aspirations are important as well, having a sense of community and support through family and friends shouldn’t ever be taken for granted again. Making an effort to have family dinners, keep calling relatives, and clearly separating work time from family time are all great ways you can put this priority into effect.

Black Woman During Meditation

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Focusing on Peace of Mind

It’s incredibly important to prioritize your peace of mind. Even though many have struggled throughout the pandemic to make ends meet, some have lost their jobs, and others have racked up medical bills, at the end of the day, money comes and goes. Peace is harder to find. Now more than ever is the time to practice self-care, begin going to therapy if it’s something you thought about in the past, try meditation, or work on self-healing. Even though we need money to live and thrive, having peace of mind and security in your self-worth regardless of your financial status and situation should be a major goal for 2021.

Young woman holds up "I voted" sticker

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Always Voting When Possible Because It’s a Privilege

One of the major happenings of 2020 was the presidential election, as if any of us could forget. People showed up in record numbers to make their voices heard and their votes count. Moving forward, exercising your right to vote if you have the privilege, should remain a priority. This is true not just for the presidential election, but also for our local and state-wide elections, too. The year 2020 taught us that voting shouldn’t be taken lightly because with so many important issues on the line, it’s vitalthat we all fight for our rights and the needs of our communities. In 2021 and moving forward, being in tune with who’s really running our schools, counties, districts, and area codes will help us continue to feel empowered in changing our lives for the better.

Portrait of a Black woman with cool hair in home office

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Having a Complete “WFH Space”

In 2020, many of us who weren’t essential workers had to make the shift to working from home. If you were like me, you quickly realized that just having a desk in your space wasn’t enough to make conducting business in your home feel like it would in the office. If you haven’t already, this year is definitely the time to prioritize setting up an office-like area in your home so that if you ever do need a more “professional” space, you’ll have a place to go. The great thing about this is that anyone and everyone can benefit from this, not just those who work from home. Whether you’re having a virtual doctor’s appointment, talking to you’re boss, or sitting in for a parent-teacher conference, investing in a #WFH environment or home office within your space is a practical priority for 2021.

Black woman having a video call while enjoying a glass of red wine

Source: Marko Geber / Getty

Embracing Real Dating and Romance, Even if It’s Online

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing and restrictions being implemented all over the country throughout last year and into the new year, the way we’ve been dating has changed. A lot. In 2021, prioritizing online dating in all its capacities versus dating IRL has been the way to go. If you’re looking to jump into the dating world since many places like bars and clubs aren’t operating in the way they used to, opt for using dating apps. More people are using them now more than ever!

If you already have a dating app profile (or several), now’s the time to give your bio and photos a revamp. Show your potential matches how good you’re looking stepping into the new year and leave a flirty message in your bio. For those already committed but in a long-distance relationship, trade in your regular nightly Facetime appointment for a Zoom date. Get dressed up, grab something to drink, and have your partner do the same. Share dinner together by ordering something to eat and having the same meal delivered to your partner. If you want to go the extra mile, light a candle and create some date night ambiance in your space so your boo can see you made an effort and are excited to chat. Just because we’re not going outside like that doesn’t mean dating is dead! In 2021, we’re getting back to prioritizing romance!

Black Woman Shops Online From Bed

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“Running Errands” From Home

If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that I can do almost anything from home, often even from in bed. Getting groceries, conducting business, and connecting with friends, can all be done from the tap of your finger or pressing a few buttons. While it may have been that simple before the pandemic, the level to which we’re all doing these things from home now has increased immensely! That being said, continuing to keep yourself and your family safe by “running errands” from home should be a priority for everyone in the new year. Just be patient about how long it might take to get everything you need.

Black Woman with the sun behind her

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Not Sweating the Small Stuff

Another one of the big priorities we’re taking into 2021 is not sweating the small stuff. In the aftermath of the pandemic and seeing how many lives have been negatively impacted by it, choosing your battles is a major key to your overall wellness. None of us can afford to stress over every little thing, especially when there are so many big issues the world is facing right now. Instead of ruminating on the guy who didn’t text you back or your food delivery being messed up, focus on taking care of yourself, protect your peace, and strengthen your wellbeing. It will make a world of a difference!

Afro women decorating a cake at home

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Having Hobbies Besides Staring at an Electric Screen

Am I the only one who has been spending way too much time online? Whether we’re working from home on our laptops, relaxing after a long day on Netflix, or chatting with friends on Facetime, many of the days in 2020 just seemed like an endless cycle of staring at one electric screen or another. In 2021, let’s combat this by getting back to all the hobbies we picked up in quarantine and be consistent with them. Whether you were a quarantine crafter, began baking, read through 10 books, or trained to run a 5k, whatever your hobby was, get back to it this year and challenge yourself to a new goal. If you didn’t have time to gain a hobby in 2020 or didn’t particularly do anything fun that was a good fit for your free time, do what you can now to start a hobby that interests you. Let 2021 be the year when you escape the clutches of constant screen time.

Worried African American woman using cell phone while working at home.

Source: skynesher / Getty

Sometimes It’s Okay to Not Be in the Know

The last priority on our list is another biggy. Doomscrolling, the act of online scrolling yourself into an anxiety-filled black hole, became a thing in 2020 and it’s definitely a habit we’re avoiding in 2021. Instead, knowing and trusting the fact that we don’t always have to know what’s going on or everything happening in the news is a big positive step towards better mental health. Whether we miss a few Instagram posts, don’t know the latest number of deaths due to coronavirus, or miss Anderson Cooper’s daily roasting of Trump on CNN, the fact of the matter is that the world will keep spinning regardless and that’s an amazing thing. Give yourself a break. Not feeling the need to be constantly plugged in to all the things happening in the world this year, especially the bad things, will give us the space to see the good things happening right in front of us.

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