“We don’t truly appreciate what we have until it’s gone… We don’t really appreciate something until we have experienced some events; we don’t really appreciate our parents until we ourselves have become parents. Be grateful for what you have now, and nothing should be taken for granted.” –Roy T. Bennett
Lockdown, I think it is fair to say, has changed things for everyone. It’s a tough time, cluttered with many worries and difficulties. However, I would argue that there have been some pleasures and benefits to be enjoyed.
It seems to me that this is a particularly important time to practice gratitude. It is the positive that drives us, the good things in life. These are the things that not only humble us, but also uplift us; they remind us of the great tongs we have in our lives and give us hope.
Everybody is different. Although the pandemic crisis is affecting us all, it is doing so in different ways. We will all have different things to be grateful for. Here are the positives I have drawn this time… perhaps you will recognise some of them and feel uplifted…
1.What I Have
Of course, there are many things that I miss; shop bought coffee, seeing people in person, restaurants, hugs… maybe even public transport a little bit! There are many things to miss. However, the stripping down of both my material and social life has made me feel more grateful towards the things that I do have. I have a lovely family at home, a nice flat to live in, that flat is in a part of London filled with trees and greenery. I live in a time with technology and easily available entertainment… contact and amusement might not have been so easily available even 20 years ago. I have food in the house and I can lie in more.
There are so many things to appreciate… things that we take for granted on a daily basis as they often make up a smaller part of our day. I also am lucky enough to have things that others, perhaps, do not. I am grateful for what I have. What do you have?
2. My New Skills
I have learnt to skip. I have taken time to learn technique (there is knack to it, believe it or not!), put time into practice and researched what equipment will best help me achieve my goals. It might seem like a simple skill. However, it is an activity I now really enjoy, and one that I wouldn’t have found time to work on had I been going about my normal life. I have friends who have taken this time to learnt to cook, or dance, or do a handstand, or pick an instrument back up, or sew, or (in my sisters case) build a deck in the garden. What have you found more time for recently?
3. Time With My Loved Ones
Funnily enough, although I have not been in the same room as them, I have found time (thank you technology) to speak to friends more regularly in more casual way. I’d normally see friends occasionally… in fact, planning to get together with people often has to be planned weeks in advance. I have been speaking to friends without it being a big event; more casually. This has been a joy as it oddly feels more as if we are in each other’s everyday lives than usual.
Time filled with nothing has given me time to simply focus on the self. Stress often comes, certainly in my case, from a lack of time to check in with myself. I have found time to consider myself and my thoughts and opinions far more than I would have done usually.
5. The Need (and Ability) to Adapt
We have all had to adapt. I have been reminded how brilliant most people are at adapting when the situation requires it. Yes, I have had to work around restrictions on movement, work and food supplies, but I have made it work. From what I can see, so have many other people. I have been impressed at this ability to adapt, grateful for my own, and found myself feeling more hopeful about our future because of it.
When this is over…
This pandemic period will be over one day. One day we will once again be able to go into coffee shops and pubs again, walk in parks, see friends and family at will and travel wherever we wish. These things we always a privilege, and this time has reminded me as such. When things to begin to feel more ‘normal’ again, remember this time, and be grateful that it is done and for the freedoms we will once again be able to enjoy.
By Chris Thomson
Quarantining can make gratitude tricky to practice, especially on days when it is really getting you down. Here are a few ideas on how to manage those negative thoughts… 6 Ways to Override Negative Thoughts
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