2020. What a year. Some of us have an infinite amount of words to express the events, some of us have no words at all. In this edit of TALA Talks, @saphsworld_ gives us her rundown of 2020 and introduces a fresh perspective on how to get through these tough times. If there was ever a text relatable to us all, this is it! 


We’re all friends here, so let’s just go ahead and address the elephant in the room… 2020, am I right? As a consequence of the current pandemic, many of us have found ourselves involuntarily stripping our lives back to basics, trying to find joy in the smallest of pleasures whilst managing the frustration and uncertainty of trying to both prepare for and answer one question: “Well, what’s next for me”? I’d bet good money that most of us, for the most part, have some idea of what we’d like to change or gain in our lives moving forward or at least we did before all of this. The problem with this is that, at the moment, where we think we should be either feels like it’s on hold for the moment or under pressure to move forward at light speed. Interestingly, what has emerged in all of this is a belief that there are just two types of “pandemic person” – those fully embracing slowing down and those thriving in productivity. So what if you don’t feel that you fit into either of these profiles and more importantly, which is better? Spoiler alert – in typical British Covid-19 update style, the answer is simultaneously both and neither. The answer is balance.

So what does balance mean? Well, we’ve spent much of our lives inadvertently being encouraged to “find balance”. We are encouraged to eat a balanced diet, to “work hard, play hard”, to plan and want things for ourselves but to be spontaneous too, to be academic in our achievements and creative in our vision, to spend time socialising with friends and at home in our own company, to be professional but not take ourselves too seriously, to have clear goals but be flexible, to exercise regularly but make time to relax and recover, to be comfortable to show vulnerability but not take any s*** and more recently to stay home and go out too… aaaand breathe. Overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Together we’ve faced worry, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, confusion and loneliness. We’ve also enjoyed hope, joy, relief, excitement, pride, optimism and gratitude. This is balance, honey! All of these feelings and emotions, both those which feel easy to be with and those which feel more difficult to be with, enable us to better understand how presence (or absence) of certain things in our lives make us feel. They’ve helped you to better understand your values, your desires, your needs and your wants. They’ve helped you to navigate an understanding of what is important to your happiness - this is the messy part of finding your happy balance.

If you haven’t recently, I’d encourage you all to spend some time reflecting on how 2020 has made you feel. To listen to what you need more or less of and begin navigating how to find your happy balance. I’m often asked how I manage to balance “both Saphs” and the answer is, I don’t. I’m one Saph balancing all the different aspects of my life which feed my happy balance. I’m an academic and a creative, I work and I play, I lead and I follow, I drink water just as well as I drink wine and sometimes I get overwhelmed too. Funny thing about me is that, I let my happiness lead the way and that’s how I do my best to maintain my balance. I don’t always get it right, but this is where reflection and introspection (listening to your needs) becomes key to restabilising yourself.

You may have felt that prior to the national lockdown, you were in control of your next steps. You may even feel that it messed up the sturdy balance you had going for yourself. Truth is, if something can be taken away by something out of your control, you may never have had control of it in the first place. Eek, controversial, I know. The reason I say this is to invite you to not carry contempt for the things that you can’t control, but rather direct your attention to the things that contribute to your happiness. If I can leave you with one message today, it’s that your balance is likely somewhere between the two types of “pandemic person” – embrace playing around in finding your understanding of that and your authentic happiness shouldn’t be too far behind! In a time where things may feel uncertain, listen to what both your body and your mind needs and feed it that with love. Take opportunities, take rest, take up space and take time to get to know what you need. Once you’ve done all of that, you’ll thank yourself and find that you’re giving back mountains more than you’ve taken.

Sending all of my love,

Saph xx