A Northern Ireland mental health expert has urged people to remember the simple things that make life special as the region heads into the grim days of January and another long lockdown.
Professor Siobhan O'Neill said that if we ever needed something positive to hang on to, right now is the time to grasp it.
"We all should be taking the time to step back and see the bigger picture," said Prof O'Neill, who is interim mental health champion. "This year has been tough, but when you look at science and see what we have been able to achieve in developing a vaccine in such a short space of time, the exciting pace of discovery means there are huge possibilities for the future for all diseases, not just Covid-19.
"We have to hope that the financial backing for scientific research can continue into other fields, particularly mental health, now that the world has seen the benefits it can bring.
"And what this year has also shown is that we can have a real impact on climate change. There are ways of making this happen.
"We have fewer cars on the road and have been working from home, We have been kinder to the planet, almost by being forced into it. If we can continue that, build on it, that can only be positive for all of us."
Prof O'Neill also said the way we have embraced technology has been a major plus.
Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams have ensured families and workplaces have stayed connected over the last nine or so months.
She added: "We've all learnt so much in a short space of time. And technology has made the world a much smaller place.
"Online learning has been facilitated for school pupils, we can meet with colleagues from work, the whole process has become more familiar and older people have embraced it too.
"It's extraordinary how comfortable we've all become with it, but would that have happened without lockdown?
"And what lockdown has also done is give us a real value of people, relationships and community. Spending more time with family and getting an idea of what the really important things are in life has been important and still is.
"We have been able to get out into the fresher air, been given time to take more exercise and I'd encourage more people to do that if they can.
"We've also become more appreciative of some jobs we may have taken for granted before.
"Our health workers, teachers, scientists are all now appreciated more than ever before. We have to remember those contributions and make sure they're never under valued again."
Professor O'Neill believes the coming weeks should give us all time to focus on our personal needs.
"Christmas Day was only one day," she said. "That has to be remembered. Christmas will come again next year and it will be different.
"But into January we will all have time to focus on our personal health. It's a great time to start the year the right way as individuals and families, to detox, to start a regular exercise routine."