10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 

I brought 2020 in a little different, with one of my clients instead of the typical family celebration. We set our intentions for 2020, sip champagne, and danced the Bachata until our hearts were content. While walking to our cars, she looked at me and screamed "2020 is going to be the best year yet!!!!" December 31, 2020, I received a call from my client.  Before I said Hello she screamed

"You remember when I said 2020 was going to be the best year yet? I LIED" 

We both laughed. 2020 has been a difficult time for us all, but at the end of the day, all we can do is laugh and keep moving forward. 

Even though there were known cases of Covid-19 in other countries dating back to November 2019. Since the WHO (World Health Organization, not the band. Get it together people) declared Covid-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. 

 The pandemic has been extremely hard on us all. Here are five things I have learned during the pandemic: 


When the pandemic first started, I truly believed taking a break was a physical act. I was surprised to learn it is not, it is much more than that. I was accustomed to working multiple jobs, being a full-time mom while being a part-time employee of Hustle Culture USA. My body needed recovery but my mind desperately needed the 365 days, 8,760 hours, and  525,600 minutes received. I was reclaiming my time for all the years I felt forced to be okay when I was not. By the way, I am not done. For me taking a break was sitting with myself clearing out the mental clutter and chatter.  I wish it did not take a devastating pandemic to force me to take a break. 


Tikima and her 90 year old grandmother holding flowers

In the past year, I learned a lot about loss and grief. I am no stranger to either but I am a stranger to dealing with it in a healthy way. I was forced to grieve the loss of clients, income, financial opportunities, relationships, and most importantly loved ones. In the past, dealing with loss and grief I would fixate on the problem, binge eat, and/or shut down. 

This past year held a mirror to my unhealthy habits. I was forced to deal with my grief and loss. January 2021, I was put to the ultimate test, my grandmother passed. I fell into old habits at first but was able to recognize my behavior and correct it. I surprisingly found myself at peace with her passing.  I was at peace because she lived a glorious 90 years, made me laugh and smile for 33 years, and got to meet the love of my life, my daughter. I know I would have moments of sadness and pain, they are expected but peace is the ultimate feeling. The peace I felt of her leaving this world got me thinking. If I could be at peace with the transition of someone that meant so much to me why can I not for these material things? I will stay optimistic because I will have them again. Loss is inevitable, it's hard emotionally, but it is also emotional growth. Stay optimistic homies. 


I grew up in an environment where humility and loyalty were demanded. Be proud but not too proud and ALWAYS be there for the people who were there for you. 

Humility and loyalty were never explained to me as a child. I had (and still have) so many questions. When do you take a break from being humble and celebrate your accomplishments? Can you be humble and celebrate at the same time?  When do you cut people and things off? When does loyalty expire? My upbringing has forced me to doubt myself so often that I shut down.  Notice a trend of me shutting down? I vowed to celebrate myself in the way I felt necessary for the rest of my life. 

In 2020, I had some losses but I also had some amazing wins. I was nervous to share them knowing others were going through hard times or suffering. It was extremely uncomfortable for me. I never want to be perceived as a person who brags about their accomplishments but when do I get a moment to celebrate? I may be late but I am not sorry. Here are a few things I accomplished during the first 365 days of the pandemic. 

  • Learned how to dance the Flamenco and Tahitian dance. I am not a pro but I am proficient in the basics. 
  • Began a hiking challenge 
  • I got certified in the following fitness formats: TRX, Barre, Yoga (200 HR), and HIIT. 
  • I am currently learning how to skateboard.
  • Started to love me again. 

Whew, happy to get that off of my chest. Celebrate Yo'Self!

I am able to celebrate my wins by shedding the ideologies of my upbringing. One of those ideologies is loyalty. Everyone and everything does not deserve your loyalty. CUT PEOPLE OFF!!! Creating boundaries is extremely difficult but rewarding. I started creating boundaries P.C (pre-covid) but hone in on my skills this past year. Tip of the day: recognizing when situations no longer serve you is a gift. 


Growing up my grandmother would say when someone shows you their true colors believe them. As a kid, I was extremely literal and sometimes thought what colors will people show me? Years later, I realized what she truly meant. 

I was 33 years old when I began implementing this advice into my life. FUN FACT: I'm 33 years old writing this. Therefore, I am just grasping this concept. I had a habit that when people were mean to me I would return the favor. I had to ask myself WHY? No, seriously why? It's not worth it.

Michelle Obama says when they go low, we go high. My uncle Charles says when they go low, we go even lower! Please take advice from Michelle Obama NOT my uncle Charles. lol


For the last year, there has been a lot of one-sided conversations that have been going on in my head. These conversations often highlighted more of my shortfalls rather than my successes. 

Why did I say that? Why am I not doing enough? You are not good enough. Etc, etc. 

A lot of defeating negative self-talking has been happening in this noggin. The pandemic forced me to take an assessment of what I was saying to myself. I learned that I would NEVER speak to another as poorly as I spoke to myself. Taking account of the everyday negative self-talk was eye-opening because I had to come to the realization that I was holding myself back from doing things I wanted to do. I knew I had to GET OUT OF MY OWN HEAD. 

Initially, I wanted a quick fix. I thought my weekly therapy sessions would be all I need to feel better. The tricky thing with therapy is, you have to do the work to get better. Ain't Nobody Got Time For Dat! 

I have to actively silence the self-doubt and negative self-talk by saying something nice about myself or acknowledge something I have recently accomplished out loud. It is hard Homies but I am trying. Journaling, movement, friends, and family have been other tools I have used this past year to get out of my head. Releasing our feelings, emotions, and ideas in productive ways is necessary for our mental health. 

Whew Chile, can we get a soul clap for making it an entire year? You made it, it's time to CELEBRATE! 


I hope you learned a little about me. What have you learned during the pandemic? Does any of the lessons I have learned resonate with you? Or do you think "you should have learned these lessons a long time ago"?  Either way, I would love to hear what you have to say. 

Allow yourself grace. 


Tikima Renee  

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