The City and England shot-stopper was named in the starting XI in our Continental Cup victory over Everton - her first appearance since the 2019 World Cup.
Having endured a gruelling spell on the sidelines, the 'keeper admitted she had to take a personal moment to reflect after the game, and savour the feeling.
"I had a little moment at the end, letting it all wash over me!" she said.
"I really enjoyed it - it's been a long time coming and it felt really good to get out on the pitch.
"I'm buzzing. The second half performance was excellent - we won and we scored some great goals.
"On the whole, we'd been dominating up to the point that Everton scored, creating well, and it was deflating when their goal went in but we regrouped in the second half and came out really strong.
"We just had to rally round each other to try to grab the momentum back.
"I was trying to get back into a bit of a groove. Ultimately, football doesn't change that much.
"I've been at the Club for nearly seven years and it's pretty similar in the way we want to play.
"You can change the personnel but the foundations and principles remain the same. Things change a little bit in a game and when you're playing against tough opposition, and it's a little different than it is in training.
"With the time off I had, I had a lot of opportunity to study a lot of footage and film, and when I have been involved in the sessions, I ask as many questions as I can, trying to understand things that can happen and what to look for.
"It comes back to trusting my ability, getting the prep done and relying on what I'd done beforehand.
"I know my teammates and I want the best for them, so I give the best information I can and make sure they can hear it!
"I want them to know they're supported and safe at the back."
Bardsley added she has been impressed with City's start to the season, under the stewardship of Head Coach Gareth Taylor, and says the squad depth is providing a major boost.
"As a squad, as have to be ready at the drop of a hat to come in if needs be," she explaijned.
"When you consider the current circumstances, as with the men's game, all sorts of crazy things can happen with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's always in the back of our mind but we train hard day in, day out.
"We're picking up good momentum and morale in the squad every single session, getting better and more cohesive.
"Ultimately, we trust ourselves and the team, and trust in our methodology in the way we want to play.
"We have such quality in depth. When you approach matchday, on the whole, everyone knows they'll get an opportunity - whether that's as a sub for a few minutes here or a chance in a different competition...
"We always approach the game the same way, regardless of who we are playing.
"It feels good to be back."