It feels like yesterday that I sat down to reflect on 2016. I know I’m saying this every year but time has flown by. Although at the same time, last new year’s eve feels like a lifetime ago since 2017 was full of changes and new experiences. I previously said that 2015 was the year of joy and 2016 the year of important life lessons. I’m trying to come up with a term for this year but honestly, I’m struggling. 2017 has been a weird one – not necessarily in a bad way, but it’s certainly had its up and downs and it has changed life in many ways for me. Usually I find it easy to reflect on the past 12 months but this year I’m not sure how to round it up into a post, it somehow feels like it doesn’t fit into a frame. But oh well, it’s probably best if I just start at the beginning.

Saying that, January feels like absolute ages ago. It wasn’t one of the happiest times but things starting looking up in February and I think it was the month I officially fell in love with university, despite all the work and the deadlines. As I mentioned last year, adjusting to uni life wasn’t easy but eventually I got there and now I couldn’t imagine going to university anywhere else or with any other people. The end of February and the whole of March were pretty amazing, bringing a trip to Dublin involving countless meals at Italian restaurants and a stay at the seaside. And of course with March came my 21st birthday and one of the best – if not the best – birthdays I’ve had. From my friends making vegan cupcakes to my mother and me having a vegan high tea, I had a truly unforgettable time. April was a rather dull month apart from a family party but from May onwards it felt like life had sped up. I started working at a pub where I continued working until the end of year and where I met some of the loveliest people. And where I learned how to find costumers who had told us the wrong table number. Working there was exhausting but also rewarding and I do believe it that it made me grow as a person and helped me become more confident around people I don’t know. Whilst working at the pub, I took my spring exams and officially finished my first year of university. Which was properly celebrated with a bubbles and pizza. And a few rooftop bar nights. Speaking of university, I’m halfway through my degree now and I honestly can’t believe how quick the semesters have gone by, I need more time before I get a proper adult job!

Anyway, my summer was filled with work but also plenty of time to relax, first in Greece and then in Sardinia. Both trips were amongst the highlights of my year, it was amazing to go sailing with my American family and visiting Santorini had been on my bucket list for ages. And if you have seen my photos of Sardinia, you know neither the food nor the scenery were too shabby. We also did a day trip to Den Haag and now that I’m typing this I’m realising that I still haven’t written a travel post about that – so keep your eyes peeled! Just before uni started again in September, a friend and me went to the London Fashion Week Festival which was a dream come true and a day I’ll certainly never forget – if you’re into fashion, you can understand my excitement. Now onto the second semester at uni, towards which my feelings are quite ambiguous: filled with amazing events on one hand and difficult times on the other. During the second semester, I started volunteering on a psychiatric ward and more or less successfully tried to combine uni, blogging, work and life. It was mostly the life part that was cut a bit short in the process. October and November came with some amazing blogging opportunities including an invitation to a fashion event where I met some of the loveliest bloggers. I also got involved in the vegan society at uni which is something I will definitely continue doing next year and I became a buddy at university. But October and November were also the two most challenging months of the year. Probably triggered by stress and the amount of work, my mental health reached a very low point and life felt like quite the struggle. Eventually I came to point where I realised things had to change and that my priorities made me unhappy. And that’s when I made a vow to myself to prioritise my mental (& physical) health. As┬áimportant as uni is, working yourself into the ground isn’t worth the extra 2% in an exam. In the end, what matters is most is your wellbeing. Like they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

In December, things slowly started getting easier and my month was filled with coursework, Christmas markets, Christmas dinners, mulled wine and movie nights with friends. Now I’m pretty much buried in revision notes but I’m looking to the beginning of the new year. Although I wouldn’t want to relive this semester, life has taught me two valuable lessons: Firstly, it taught me to put myself first. I’m not saying that things are all nice and rosy now, there are many parts I still need to work on but I think I’ve finally realised the importance of prioritising myself and it has been life-changing for sure. Secondly, 2017 made me realise that I am not alone. I have wonderful people by my side and I am not sure what I would have done without their support. 2017 has been the year I started opening up to my friends and that might just be the reason why I’m a bit confused about the past months and why I feel like things have changed a lot. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and less of a perfectionist is not something I’m used to but let me tell you, it’s feels very liberating and it is definitely worth it. And it allows others to be vulnerable, too. It is my friends who truly shaped this year. So yes, 2017 has been the year of friendship.

Now onto the fun part, my 2016 New Year’s resolutions (and then my new ones of course!). Unlike last year, I actually managed to take up a new hobby this year and to finally start volunteering – both were great decisions for sure, especially volunteering is very rewarding and has confirmed my decision to go into clinical/health psychology. I also wanted to go to another blogger event which I did and planned on being a more active blogger which I, um, achieved for like a month during summer? Oh well. Combining uni, work and blogging is hard. I also planned on having more me-time and taking better care of myself which didn’t always work out but it’s a work in progress and this year it will be my priority. So what do I want to achieve in 2018? Most importantly, ┬áI want to prioritise my wellbeing and practice self-acceptance. One step at a time. I also want to continue being more open and vocal about matters that are close to my heart, one of them being mental health. Sharing personal things with the world isn’t easy but it’s so important to raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental illness. If we all just help a little bit, we can make a huge difference. I’d also like to be a more active blogger – yes, I said it again – not necessarily in terms of uploading but I really miss the community and getting inspired by other people’s posts. And maybe I’ll manage to upload more posts as well, keep your fingers crossed. Adding to these, I’d like to spend more time with my friends and use my Saturdays for exploration and fun-filled times. What else is there? This year I really want to improve my general knowledge skills and be a bit more adventurous in terms of food – I know that technically a balanced diet does not mean having pasta with tomato sauce on Monday and pasta with tomato pesto on Tuesday. If you have any great plant-based easy meal suggestions, send them my way!

This year’s new year’s resolutions feel a bit different from the years before and I think that’s because my focus has shifted from pressure myself to reach strict goals to being more flexible and spending more time doing things that make me happy. Why not join me and make 2018 the year of self-care? xx

What are your new year’s resolutions?