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Looking back on 2020 with Rhealine

18 year old GirlsGotThis player Rhealine shares her struggles, realisations, and things she had to go through this year and how she managed to stay strong despite the difficult times.

What were your plans this 2020 before COVID-19 spread across the world?

I wanted to pursue my dream to become an architect, so I planned on shifting from an engineering course to architecture. I was expecting that this year would be the best; I also had plans with friends; fun things we will do this year. That was before COVID-19 hit the world, all my dreams were put on hold because of the pandemic.

What situation did you find most challenging to handle this year?

I think the most challenging to handle this year was the negative impact or effect of COVID-19 on me. The "new normal" or adjusting to or adopting a new way of life took me by surprise. We were quarantined inside our homes for many months. I'm a person who loves to go out with friends, so it was really difficult not being able to go out and I didn't realise that it was already consuming or affecting my mental health.

How was your life before COVID-19?

Before COVID-19, everything was okay. I could still go out with my friends and do the things that interest us. I also attend Fundlife football sessions so it was more of going out and interacting with the other players; just the typical teenager who loves playing outside.

Do you miss the Fundlife football sessions?

Yes, I miss playing football. I miss attending the activities of Fundlife and I miss my daily routine before COVID-19.

Since you mentioned coping with the lockdown, what were the struggles you had to face in adjusting to the new normal?

In coping with the lockdown, I found that the things that I experience or emotions that I feel are part of anxiety. There were months that I found it hard to sleep at night; I also feel anxious for no reason or quickly get afraid of the small stuff. My mental health was the thing I struggled with most. Another negative impact of COVID-19 is my hesitation to talk to other people, because of my fear that I'll contract the virus, I don't speak much to people, even those close to me.

So what did you do to overcome these struggles or to overcome anxiety?

To overcome anxiety, I always listen to instrumental music; it helps me a lot in calming my nerves, and it helps me go to sleep smoothly. I also avoid thinking of negative things. Of course, we still have to look to the brighter side of everything and feel optimistic that next year will be a better year for everyone.

If there were terrible things in 2020, what are the good things that happened that you were thankful for?

Since the lockdown in March, one positive thing that happened is I had more time to spend with my family; our bond is stronger now compared to before. I also had time to discover myself and reflect on what I want to do once everything is back to normal.

Also, COVID-19 tested friendships, it showed which friends are there for you and would leave you when things get worse. And I'm also thankful because I didn't lose any friends; instead, we were even more bonded because of the situation. We served as one another's support system this year.

Do you have any learnings or realisations for the year?

I realised that I had to live every day as if it's my last that I had to enjoy it fully. I also realised that there are beauty and peace in spending time alone. It's a way of nurturing our mental health and keeping a balance in our life. Also, I realised that family is all I have. They've been very supportive to me and was my support system during this pandemic. They guided me on what to do and helped me cope with my anxiety.

What are your new year's resolutions for 2021?

For me, a new year's resolution embodies the learning or life lessons you get from what you experience in the previous year. So for 2021, I want to save money that I can use during emergencies like the global health emergency right now. I also want to focus on my mental health to keep it healthy and sound.

Do you have a message of hope to your fellow GirlsGotThis players?

You are beautiful, you are loved, and you are appreciated. As early as now, find your passion and maximize your strength and become a better woman in the future. 2020 may have gotten the best of us; yes, it was a stressful year, but it's also a year to discover our inner strengths as women.

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