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2020: A Year in Review

by Jessika Noda |

Let’s just say 2020 was well…. A year. Devastating bushfires in Australia, a global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, a monumental Presidential election, the list goes on and on. But one thing I’m sure about is that we’ll come out of this stronger people than we were before. Going through a multitude of devastating events only makes us more resilient people in the end. Here are a few things I learned from this year: 

Shopping Small is Becoming the Norm

This hits close to home. As a small business owner, I was TERRIFIED about how Jiyubox would survive the pandemic. Back in the spring, it was all over the news - people losing their jobs, businesses closing their doors for good, and questionable government relief packages. But the online community pulled through. There was so much support and a huge push to shop small and local to help business owners keep their doors open. For this, I am forever grateful, and I think this is a trend here to stay. Big businesses like Amazon generated billions of dollars in record profits during the pandemic leading consumers to become more conscious of where they wanted to spend their money. 

Mental Health and Self Care is Top Priority

A few months ago, we talked about practicing self care during quarantine. Being on lockdown for what feels like forever, and learning to put my mental health first has been such a huge eye-opener. As a business owner, my brain is wired to be “Go. Go. Go.” But with the pandemic, there are multiple times I’d felt burnt out. It took me a while to realize that it’s okay to take a break and to do nothing (maybe take a weekend off). We are in unprecedented times with an unknown end date. It’s almost impossible to keep up the level of intensity we had pre-pandemic when the barriers of “the end of the workday” are blurred. Technology keeps us constantly in the loop so I had to make a conscious effort to shut off and step away from the computer. I learned to set boundaries and create space for me to reset and keep my mental health in check. 

Make the Most of Life

Nothing makes us feel smaller than when we realize that life can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye. And because of that, I think it’s made a lot of us (myself included) realize what is most important in life, and to go out and chase our dreams. I had a ton of friends start their own small businesses, get engaged, and even start their own family. I realized how much of a luxury it was to have the freedom to visit friends, go on a trip, or meet up for a coffee date with a vendor was pre-pandemic, it will make me value that time I spend doing these activities post-pandemic. 

The Importance of Relationships 

In a time where we couldn’t see our friends and family, it made me realize how important my close relationships were, and who I could do without. I am so lucky to have a supportive partner and family who have been there for me every step of the way. I also was able to make a stronger bond with my friends who I couldn’t see, but had to start video calling when we normally would have gone out for a few drinks. We were able to share our struggles and wins through the pandemic which made our relationships even stronger than before. 

It’s Okay to Do Nothing

Going back to the importance of mental health, some of us may have felt disappointed or anxious that we weren’t using free time learning how to bake bread or pick up a new skill. Instead, maybe we had to take on extra hours at work to cover for those that had to be let go, or maybe our duties at home picked up because outside help was no longer available. These, as we all know, are unprecedented times. It’s okay to not know how to feel, how to deal, or what to do with yourself. We don’t all need to be the next Master Chef. 

There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in this pandemic for the better part of 2021. But when we do go back to some form of normalcy, and the world starts operating like it used to, I know we’ll come out of this stronger, hungrier, and more grateful than we were before. 

With love,


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