As humans, we’ve been trained since our childhood to get up in the morning, get dressed, and get out of the house, whether it was for daycare, school, or work. We’ve been used to leaving our homes every day with a purpose or some kind task to complete. Then covid-19 struck, and boom – suddenly, we all paused.
This may be a temporary pause, but it’s long enough to feel like a full stop. It’s not surprising to find our minds and bodies in a state of shock: it seems that everyone has questions and no one has the answers.
Thankfully, we’ve all been slowly finding ways to make our journeys through this storm a little less daunting. For me, that comes in the form of practicing gratitude in self-isolation.
The power of the Internet
For starters, we can be grateful that covid-19 happened at a time when modern technology gives us so many opportunities to interact virtually. With the internet and social media, many of us can continue working from home, buying things through e-commerce, and connecting with our friends online.
It’s easy to take these little luxuries for granted, but people certainly didn’t have these resources during the previous pandemics in history. Just try to imagine going through a lockdown in a world without memes!
Thanks to technology, many of us can still work from home and connect with our friends.
There is humour in the history we are making, and the internet reminds us of that every day with memes about face masks, baking banana bread, or “going” to work in pajamas. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to laugh and remember that, at least in some ways, we’re all going through the same storm.
Time for self-reflection
Under normal circumstances, most of us aren’t used to spending a lot of time alone with our thoughts. Keeping busy isn’t necessarily bad, but we can use it as an excuse to ignore our mental health needs. No time to dwell on that when we’ve got places to be and people to see!
But where do we go now? The pandemic has imposed a global period of self-reflection on everyone. Whether we like it or not, we now have more than enough time to get reacquainted with ourselves.
This doesn’t necessarily seem like something we should be grateful for, when the feelings we have to face are uncomfortable or even painful. But for many of us, it’s a necessary form of self-care that we usually neglect in our daily lives. Today, we have a possibly once-in-a-lifetime chance to reconnect with ourselves, become more self-aware, and practice important coping mechanisms (like gratitude!).
The little things
Having to say goodbye to a huge part of our daily lives makes us value the things we never thought we’d miss. Before the lockdown, when were we ever grateful for stepping out of the house, or crossing a street to get Tim Horton’s coffee? When had we ever looked forward to going to the grocery store? Today, these are all things we can actually get excited about.
Many of us never thought twice about having enough food in stock. My friend recently pointed out how spoilt and picky we used to be, while today we’re just happy to get all the items on our grocery list. And when we see all the sacrifices made by people in the food and service industry, it makes us even more grateful to have full pantries and fridges.
It’s these small, everyday things that we need to be mindful of, no matter how mundane they may seem. When we choose to be grateful for the things we do have, instead of obsessing over what we don’t, we feel more equipped to face these unprecedented times.
Our thoughts of thankfulness are like fireflies - glimmers of hope in the dark. The more we collect them, the brighter our journey becomes. And that’s all we can really do right now: strive to make the best of the situation, day by day, little by little.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to write this piece - and grateful to you, for reading it.