beauty

"After a year of missing all of my people, here are 3 unexpected lessons it's given me."

The Body Shop
Thanks to our brand partner, The Body Shop

If anything, the last two years have taught me more about myself than any other time in my life. 

Yes, I turn 40 this year so that’s quite a milestone moment in itself, but throw in a global pandemic and suddenly I found myself completely reassessing what's actually most important to me. 

Like, my friendships. 

Obviously I knew I loved my friends before these hard couple of years, but this period has crystallised for me that human connection, and people who really know and love you, and whom you know and love, are far and away the most important things in life.

The Body Shop gets this too. 

This Christmas season they have gone all out creating their Joy Hub which focuses on celebrating the importance of love, kindness and joy, and making sure that we all know that human connection and kindness is definitely what has kept us going during this difficult time. 

This became so apparent to me over the past 18 months.

I live in Brisbane so I have been pretty lucky that I’ve been able to see some of my friends and loved ones at different points this year.

But so many of my closest people live interstate and overseas, and we have missed so much of each other’s lives. 

One of my friends in Melbourne had a baby early this year. 

Over FaceTime I’ve watched him grow from scrawny newborn to a chubby 8-month-old. I feel so lucky that the technology we have means that I’ve been able to do this, but oh my goodness, I am aching for a cuddle with that baby boy so much.

Another girlfriend, one of my oldest and closest friends went through a major breakup earlier this year. 

Naturally, we got on the phone and watched Bridget Jones' Diary while simultaneously eating punnets of Häagen-Dazs — but it just wasn’t the same as being cuddled up on the couch together. It was also completely awful to have to watch her spend months alone during lockdown, adjusting to life without her ex whilst living by herself for the first time in years.  

Other interstate and international friends have gotten work promotions, bought first homes, experienced being made redundant and met their great loves. I feel so very sad that I have missed celebrating or commiserating with them during these key life moments. 

But I learnt three very unexpected but important lessons about friendships this year.  

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While I still wish that I didn’t have to learn them (read: I wish the pandemic had never happened), I’m grateful that I did. 

Image: Supplied. 

1. Phone calls can be fantastic.

Pre-pandemic I would rarely talk to my interstate and international friends on the phone. We’d text each other memes, celebrity gossip, and occasionally a mini update on our lives, but we'd usually save up the good stuff until we saw each other.

It's been almost two years since I’ve seen some of these friends and if we hadn’t had gotten over our fear of phone calls and set up a fortnightly phone roster, I feel like we’d barely know each other anymore.

Now, I absolutely love talking with these friends on the phone each week, and I have learnt that nights spent cackling on the phone to your girlfriends in your late 30s are just as much fun as they were in high school.

2. You need to tell your friends what they mean to you.

I’m quite an affectionate person so I would often end messages to friends with ‘love you’ and lots of kisses, but I would rarely tell them why I love them and what they mean to me. 

This year I have started to.

I think everyone’s mental health has suffered during the pandemic — we’ve all felt a bit crap about ourselves and about our lives. 

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One day when I was feeling really low, my girlfriend from Melbourne texted me the nicest message, full of all the things she loves about me. I instantly felt better. 

I now regularly make an effort to tell my friends that I think they’re awesome and that I love them. Their responses are always positive.  

3. Take joy in the little things.

Honestly, before the pandemic, who would have thought that going for a socially-distanced walk with a friend would turn into something truly special?

This year all the small things in life became so much bigger, and every time I could catch up with a friend for a coffee or a walk felt amazing. 

I really want to heed this lesson forever — something doesn’t have to be big to be joyful. There is a lot of beauty in doing small everyday things with someone you love.

While this pandemic isn’t over yet, I am so happy we are closer to the other side. 

I am overjoyed to be seeing so many of my faraway friends this Christmas, and I can’t wait to do some shopping at The Body Shop to pick up some gifts that will help show them how much they mean to me. 

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I also love that The Body Shop gifts show love and kindness not just to the recipient, but to the planet and those making the products. Their business approach is entirely ethical and sustainable. 

They're also donating a portion of every transaction to Little Dreamers, an organisation that supports and advocates for young people who provide unpaid care for a family member with a disability, illness or addiction. 

It feels so good to know that not only am I getting some wonderful gifts for my loved ones; I am also supporting a cause that needs to be spoken about more.

Spread the love and share the joy this Christmas by purchasing a gift for your loved ones from The Body Shop. By doing so, you are helping The Body Shop support Little Dreamers, an initiative spreading kindness by advocating for unpaid workers. 

Check out their Joy Hub this season to see how they're celebrating Joy Heroes and continuing to support communities around the globe. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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The Body Shop
Joy catches like kindness, and we know it’s always better when it’s shared. That’s why The Body Shop want you to join them in making this your most selfless Christmas yet. This season, connect with your loved ones with sustainable gifts that bring joy to more than one, and help support their charity partners. Every purchase* with The Body Shop this Christmas supports Little Dreamers’ Young Carer Advocacy Project, giving Young Carers a voice and platform to create positive change for all young people with caring roles. Discover more about how The Body Shop is spreading the joy this Christmas at thebodyshop.com.au *T&Cs apply