The Triumphs Amidst the Challenges of 2020

February 7, 2021

Our mental health was heavily compromised in 2020 with an unpredictable surging pandemic and consequent life-altering changes, all at once. We faced a whole lot of uncertainty, panic and loss during the past year and we physically and mentally fought to survive that dark period. Mental Health Illness and Suicide rates skyrocketed during 2020 which was unfortunate but also brought a lot of much needed attention to the importance of mental health wellness. It made us realise that you can attempt to cope with your mental health dilemmas, in a normal world for prolonged periods of time but as times get tougher or change altogether, even the toughest of them all need to address these concealed issues. Although the battle is far from being won, a sense of accomplishment must exist for all that we have achieved in terms of our mental health distress despite these life-altering trials.

Students and Teachers

It amazes me how humans have the capacity to adapt to different norms and situations almost immediately when the circumstances demand it. Students and Educators were the biggest example for this. In no way was this an easy change for students and teachers alike but due to their flexibility and adaptability, education was uninterrupted. To shift almost each kind of lecture, group discussion and even studio classes online was nothing less than a triumph. Educators had to find ways to become more communicative and direct through a screen and allow students to be able to accept this new form of learning. Even though students in most cases were disappointed with this change, they learnt how to become more tech savvy and even have conversations more easily because the mode of communication had become uniform for all. In addition to this, as teachers and students became more alike than different, teachers were able to comprehend the difficulty students were having with this shift, as teachers knew they were facing it on another level too. As discussions about physical health increased, mental health was also brought into the limelight and students were able to come out and share with more ease. I think most teachers certainly up skilled to communicate with their students more candidly and all students realised that education is a life-long process and that is actually so important for our livelihood that even a pandemic wouldn’t come in the way of that.

Employees and Employers

The number of times I heard someone lost their job in the first few months of the pandemic was unbelievable. Unemployment really was a kind of loss which had its own type of grief which definitely isn’t one to be undermined. Employees learned that jobs are possibly the most futile things in life and no matter how hard you work, your employer has to find a means to survive even at the cost of their employees livelihoods. And by no way does that mean employers had it easy. They had their own set of battles. They had to give up on their business or passion and innovate to something more relevant to this new way of life. Neither employers nor employees were expecting it to impact them to this level. Professions that felt like they could never go out of business really faced some harsh realities but on the flipside, smaller business that sold basic necessities were received with an influx of customers due to the raging demand. It is definitely commendable that employees became more flexible and opened their horizon to different experiences. Employers found a ground for realistic expectations in terms of business and learned that ultimately without people, businesses don’t run. And those people consist predominantly of your internal stakeholders and their mental and physical health. Digitization of every industry, the switch to work from home and technological advancements in such a short span of time is definitely worth praise.

Mothers and Care-takers

MOM: a three letter word that has an endless, non-compensatory job role which no occupation could ever equate. Mothers and care-takers had their own share of difficulties. With the inception of work from home and their children having e-learning, the chaos at home was unmatched. My heart goes out most to the young children who were clueless of what was happening in this confusing world. Their energy and innocent desire to play and meet their friends was restricted with them not even knowing the reason behind it. This put an added pressure on moms and care-givers to not only supervise their children 24/7 but also entertain them and keep them occupied in new productive ways. In the midst of work, parenting and managing a home, space and time for themselves and their partner became almost void. Moms found new ways to engage with their children, resorted to increased TV time and faced a lot of mom guilt and anxiety along the way. But the more important aspect is that they kept one of the most high-risk categories against COVID-19 safe and protected the generation ahead of us.

We faced many mental health challenges in 2020 and our mental health was all over the place. But what we must acknowledge is that the human race really came out stronger and wiser and finally focused on what really matters, for ourselves, the people we love and the generation ahead of us.

Manahil Ijaz

An expat in Dubai who loves engaging with diverse people and having honest conversations about life, through her blog- Egoiste Life. As a passionate artist, Manahil spends most of her weekends writing about the world, reading poetry and creating adventurous memories with the people she loves.

Manahil can be reached at:


IG- @egoistelife


Manahil Ijaz