By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – Whether at home or outside, folks had to adjust and make the most out of 2020. “It was stressful at first, but we are so grateful,” Katie Alvarez said.

The Alvarez family is expecting a baby boy in three weeks. They have spent the entire pandemic season growing closer as a family, while renovating their bathrooms and creating a nursery. “We started to work more so on our relationship and with our 16-year-old foster child, so it allowed us to get closer as a family,” Antonio Alvarez said.

Katherine Heatley is a life coach in Boston. She says the lack of social interaction challenged people to make changes. “There’s always room for improvement on with physical and mental health and with family and friends,” Heatley said.

Heatley said people need to pause and evaluate their lives. “Would you like your life to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic are you happy with that? Or are there changes you would like to make, and this is such a great opportunity figure out what those changes are you want to make,” Healtey said.

For Stonehill College senior Abraham Medieros it meant focusing on his health. Since April, he’s lost 88 pounds. “I am focused. I’m proud of myself. And it shows the potential and possibility for change and I feel anybody can do it,” Medeiros said.

The Domond family of Jamaica Plain says their church community and couples counseling has helped them grow while being cooped up. “We’ve been through our share of communication things in COVID and trying to work out and then there are lot of days when I say this is really my best friend,” Jessica Grant-Domond said.

There’s no question that 2020 caused people and families to pause and think about their lives. Heatley says it’s also time to be vulnerable and not be ashamed to ask for help. That doesn’t mean you are being negative instead just being honest with yourself.

“We are all in this together. I hate the fact people carry shame about asking for help because at some point we’ve all needed help. Everyday list 10 things you are grateful for and it’s amazing how powerful that can be,” Heatley said.

Paul Burton