• Belinda Grace

2021 Reboot: What 2020 Taught me for the Future

Time to say goodbye to 2020? Gladly so, but not before taking stock of what we learned in this trial of a year. After all:

Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.
Victoria Holt

And 2020 was nothing if not full of experiences. Join me in reflecting on the past year, and let's take away some positives for 2021.

Takeaways from 2020

Three major areas come to mind when reflecting on ways we can grow in life:

  1. Mental well-being

  2. Professional

  3. Personal

Let's take a deeper look at each of these areas together.

1. Mental well-being

More sunlight

Did you know that vitamin D helps reduce depression? While you can get it through food and certain supplements, the most direct way is through safe exposure to sunlight. That's why vitamin D is also called the "sunshine vitamin".

For the majority of 2020, I was cooped up in my little office with no windows in our Manchester city centre flat. At the time, I valued separation between "workspace" and "living space" more than authentic daylight. Needless to say, I was wrong and felt the negative consequences: tension, isolation, sometimes sadness.

One of the first things I did in 2021 was moving my workspace from that little windowless room into our large living room, without feeling like I'm "intruding" on it. It's only been a few days, and I can already tell it's an improvement: Work seems more effortless now and the lit open space around me is soothing.

What's your workspace like, particularly if you're working from home? Is there anything you could improve?

Mind de-clutter

Keeping a tidy space and letting go of things that we no longer need is crucial. After all, an organised home eases up the clutter in our minds as well. But that's not enough. What we really need is a direct mind de-clutter. We do so many tasks that we think we need to do but actually don't. Everything we spend time and energy on should serve a purpose.

If it doesn't – directly or indirectly – it's most likely not serving us.

Take stock of your regular to-dos. What's something you could let go of in 2021? For me, it's journaling. I thought it would be great to help guide my thoughts (which it initially did). Also, because I love writing, it seemed like the perfect idea. After a couple of months, however, it felt more like a chore and less like a good habit. I've let go of journaling and replaced the journal on my nightstand with a book I can't wait to finally finish reading.

2. Professional

Webinars and online courses

Webinars have never been bigger than they are right now. When was the last time you attended a seminar in person? Can't remember? Same here. I've been a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists for about a year now. Their 2020 online events were inspiring and helped guide my plans for Belinda Grace Translating.

The same holds true for online courses: With many of them being free, there's no excuse not to brush up on forgotten skills or learn new ones. In May 2020, I took an online course in content marketing provided by HubSpot Academy which I happily recommend. Which webinars and online courses helped you grow in 2020?


The biggest change I experienced in 2020 was the increase in my online networking activity. I truly enjoyed meeting so many new people, most of them within the language community. Prior to 2020, I occasionally attended in-person business events in Manchester and made new connections that way. With a series of lockdowns forcing us to stay home 99% of the time, that's no longer an option. Building new relationships with peers and potential clients online is a whole new playing field. I even got to celebrate Halloween and Christmas on Zoom with some of my LinkedIn connections and collaborate with fellow translators. That's something I'm most definitely taking with me into 2021!

3. Personal


A beautiful realisation I made in 2020 is that I'm happiest when I'm leading a balanced life. I am not "just" a translator, I am also defined by my passions and hobbies and what I can bring to the world beyond my business skills. It sounds simple, but far too often we define ourselves mainly through our work. Part of that is modern society's fault. How do you introduce yourself to people? Do you start with your name, immediately followed by your vocation? Why not try something different next time by talking about something you enjoy doing in your free time. Your face will light up and people will sense that passion. As a result, they'll be more likely to talk about things they care about as well. Sounds more fun than work small talk, doesn't it?

Coping strategies

There were plenty of things to cope with in 2020 – and there still are: recurring lockdowns, cancelled holidays, and other harsh restrictions. The coping strategies that worked best for me were:

  • Talking to a trusted friend or family member

  • Enjoying the energy of nature (phone on "Do not disturb" mode)

  • A hobby or passion that has the power to calm you down OR let you blow off steam – for me, that's singing

Which coping strategies work best for you, particularly during the ongoing pandemic?

Exercise routine

In April 2020, I started going for a morning run every other day. Nothing fancy, just a 15-minute jog around the neighbourhood, greeted by lovely Canadian geese on the canals and impressive high-rise buildings. I used to hate running; I believed that it just wasn't for me. To my surprise, however, an interval running method and the right playlist made it doable. As for 2021, I'm doing a 30-day yoga challenge with friends for mutual support. I'm curious to see which form of exercise I'll try out next. The mental benefits are just as important as the physical ones, if not more so. Have you found a type of exercise you enjoy and can stick to?

Bring it on, 2021!

So long, 2020! We can't wait to see what 2021 holds.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour through the ups and downs of 2020 and took something away for the new year.

Here's a quick summary of the questions I've asked throughout this blog post for you to reflect on whenever it suits you:

  1. What's your workspace like, particularly if you're working from home? Is there anything you could improve?

  2. What's something you could let go of in 2021?

  3. Which networking opportunities, webinars, and online courses helped you grow in 2020?

  4. How do you define yourself beyond your work?

  5. Which coping strategies work best for you, particularly during the ongoing pandemic?

  6. Have you found a type of exercise you enjoy and can stick to?

Feel free to share your thoughts:

You can reach out to me via email at

Happy to hear from you!

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Thank you for reading!

Smiles all around,


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