Here in the UK, we are in midst of a second national lockdown caused by the Coronavirus-19 pandemic. What this means for those of you outside the UK is that I don’t really leave my flat except to go to work or to get groceries; I can’t travel overseas for Christmas; I can only see 2 other people who are part of my support bubble, so my social life is not really existent; I’m left with a feeling of constant silence that comes from spending hours on my own and it has been a challenge! To be honest I had a meltdown when I knew that a second lockdown was inevitable. I’m an introvert and I loved the first few months of lockdown, but it’s November, the pandemic has been raging in the UK for 8 months, and I’ve simply grown weary.
So, I let myself feel down for a few days, I binge watched movies on Netflix, I ate really unhealthy food, and I shed a few tears. But after my meltdown I realised that I had to pick myself up and keep on going. What helped me get back on track was to list all the things that I’m grateful for; I deliberately keep on revising my ‘gratitude list’ and this really helps me to keep my challenges in perspective. Being grateful doesn’t mean that you ignore your emotions and slap a positive smile on your face at all times, it just means that you take stock of what’s good in your life and this helps to keep the negative things in life from overwhelming you. So, here’s a list of 5 things I’m grateful for:
By purpose I don’t mean what you do for a job, but rather your reason behind what you do. This means that you have to define your ‘why’. One of my ‘whys’ is that I have a deep desire to inspire people to develop their creativity and to realise their creative potential. This sense of purpose gives me the drive I need to get out of bed, the drive to spend hours creating and editing content for my blog, and the drive to keep on developing my own creative skills. Understanding my purpose gives me the grace to cope with bad days because I have a vision for a better future. Yes, COVID-19 is here but I don’t believe it’s here to stay; there will be an ‘after’ COVID-19. Therefore, no matter what happens in my life my purpose remains firm and it is my rudder as I sail through the storms. Without it I would truly be lost; I probably would have quit a looooong time ago. So, I’m truly grateful that I have purpose.
2. A home
I love my flat! Decorating it and making it a home has been such a joyful process. It’s my safe haven that I look forward to coming back to after a busy or a tough day. I realise that so many people don’t even have a roof over their heads and I can only imagine how difficult that must be. So, when the bills come in each month or when there’s a repair that I need to attend to, I remind myself to be grateful because it is a privilege to have a place that I can call my own.
3. Good relationships
COVID-19 has forced me to sift through my relationships. It’s been difficult to realise the truth of some relationships and I am still grieving their loss, but I realise that by letting them go I’ve made room for better relationships in my future. Due to social distancing my usual social activities have been limited to regular contact with a few key people. These are the people that I truly do life with. I share with them my highs, my lows, my dreams, and my worries, and they do the same with me. I don’t know where I’d be if not for the people in my inner circle! I’m truly grateful to say that I have friends who have my back, friends who want the best for me, friends who are willing to put in the work to make our relationship grow, and friends who don’t mind my makeup free days! This is a huge blessing.
4. Health & the ability to exercise
I was at the gym one day before the second lock down started. It was one of those days where I didn’t feel very motivated to exercise and I was pushing myself though my usual routine. To be honest I was moaning internally. I decided to rest after finishing a set of exercises; since I was near a window I began to look outside. I saw an elderly gentleman, hunched over and leaning on a walking stick. As he very slowly walked by my window, I realised how lucky I was to be healthy and to have access to a gym where I could exercise freely. I realised that being young and healthy was a privileged that I was complaining about. Yes, old age is in my future but I’m grateful for the youth I have today.
I love to laugh and these days I realise that I don’t laugh as much as I used to. I’ve become more serious; maybe because of the pressures of this year. Over the weekend I watched an old movie called ‘Miss Congeniality’. It’s ridiculous and predictable, but there were moments when the movie made me laugh out loud. My mood was elevated after I finished the movie. I realised the importance of finding reasons to laugh daily. Laughter is free, laughter is healing, and laughter reminds us not to take life too seriously. Laughter is a wonderful gift that I am so grateful for.
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I encourage you to write your own gratitude list and go through it whenever you’re feeling low. I hope it encourages you to keep on going and to realise that you have so much to be thankful for.
“I live in the space of thankfulness — and for that, I have been rewarded a million times over. I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because — for sure — what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.”
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