Finding gratitude during this Pandemic is a tall order for many people. Our days are often filled with a gamut of emotions. Making a list of the many things that we are grateful for is a great start! Let’s take it one step further. I’ve found myself digging deeper lately. How about you? There are silver linings that can be found in what many might perceive as “negative things”. It can be healing and cathartic.
In Quebec, due to the global pandemic, our world came to a grinding halt on March 13th, 2020. Initially, we were told that all daycares, schools, CEGEPS and universities would be closed for two weeks. Sadly, we quickly realized given how things were developing all over the world and in our own province that it would take more then two weeks to contain this global outbreak.
We are on Day 40-something and our world has changed. It has been a huge adjustment for everybody.
Our toddlers, kids, teens, and all students are home. Many of us are juggling kids or teens, work and many other responsibilities.
We are only aloud to go out for essentials-groceries and to the pharmacy, therefore, online grocery shopping has ensued and physically distancing from folks when going out is the standard nowdays: 2 metres/6 feet apart. Only essential workers can work outside of the home at the moment, however, the government is starting to slowly remove some of the restrictions.
Our seniors are the most vulnerable population during this pandemic. If we are blessed to have our parents/grandparents, we are worried and constantly checking in on them. My father lives alone and my mother lives in a residence home. It has been tough not being able to see them, especially during the Easter holiday.
It is understood that all these regulations and rules are for our safety and that of everyone in our society. This is a serious situation and we must make all these changes.
But it does remain that we've been forced to pause our lives-routines, jobs, school, and many regular daily functioning for our safety.
WHAT IF WE ASKED OURSELVES?
"What valuable lessons can I learn about myself and my family right now?"
Let’s look at the flip side. Identify and start thinking about what you think are the "negative things" about your personal situation & shift that thinking. You might find some surprises and see some positives there too. Practicing gratitude can happen all day long.
1. FAMILY TIME
Instruction is not compulsory for the public school system therefore we're sharing a lot more family time together. We’ve played board games, taken more walks and did fun baking activities together. I’ve even participated in Tik Toks and some Yoga classes with my daughter. I've shared great moments with my son watching music videos and playing different games. Pre-Covid, our social calendar comprised of being on the road very often driving to and from places multiple times per day leaving little time for leisure activities like this.
For Easter, we prepared some home-made Easter cards and care packages and mailed it out to my parents! They were so touched when they received those things in the mail! My kids are also mailing letters to their friends!
And YES, we had a Zoom Easter family supper with some family members from Canada and the United States. The family connections were made but in very unique and unforgettable ways.
I am profoundly grateful for these special moments and the connections that it’s bringing to us. These experiences will forever leave an imprint in our hearts. I've truly learned to appreciate the small, small moments of joy and laughter. It is a great gift to have my children home with me at this time because I know it brings them tremendous comfort and reassurance during these uncertain times.
This has also been a time of self-reflection for me. It's only when we feel stuck that we start to question our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. We are all stuck. Growth can happen here. This is an opportunity for positive change if we look at it that way! Many of us have pondered our very way of life digging deeply to find meaning, a new perspective and many opportunities for growth.
This is a great opportunity to get clear on our priorities in our personal life, family life and work life.
Living through this pandemic has forced us to look at what activities we were filling our time up with, who we were spending time with and where we were focusing our energy.
The arts, dance, writers, athletes, comedians, motivational speakers, and such are the people we seek out in times of strife to get comfort and hope. People have sought out people like me to provide them with cheers, support, hope and inspiration.
We've seen the Italians singing on their balconies, Comedians filming their shows in their basements, dance companies streaming online free classes, Jon Bon Jovi asking fans to write versus for a song he wrote about Covid 19- "When You Can't Do What You Do, You Do What You Can” to share their stories!
My take away here is that pausing and feeling grateful for everything in my life..Big and Small things is the secret to living a balanced life.
3. EXPLORING HOBBIES AND YOUR PASSIONS-THIS IS SELF-CARE!!
Many are exploring hobbies and passions that were put to rest and have been resurrected in these times. Others are exploring new interests in online courses. Learning is a great way to grow as a person. What can you do? What are your capabilities? Volunteering your time is even an option if you can. Whatever works for you.
This crisis can be used as a catalyst to change our lives for the better. Have you re-discovered things like knitting, exercise, crafting, reading, photography or dancing? Then those things bring you joy and are activities to be grateful for. Fill your cup up to help you get through the tougher times that this crisis or other difficult times may bring. These are all things to be grateful for. Share your creativity with your family, friends or online with the world if you wish. Sharing your gifts will make others smile and is sure to bring joy to others too. Self-Care is so important during these times of uncertainty. So, while exploring hobbies and interests notice that these are usually activities that will re-charge your battery, fill you up and give you a boost of positive energy!
Note: Pre-Pandemic- Many of us did quick self-care activities such as massages and manicures and pedicures. Notice that now that some of us have more time, the Self-Care practices have deepened and expanded, and it can be rejuvenating. Don't get me wrong- I can't wait to go get a massage and a mani/pedi but I will be more mindful to balance all of that with more deepened self-care too!!:)
Some of you may even shift your career direction or focus after this pandemic because you figured out that you were going the wrong way. Some of those passions may end up being a new career. Allow yourself to enjoy the happy and positive moments. You deserve them!
4. SOLIDARITY IN THE WORLD
It is the first time in my existence that I’ve witnessed a solidarity amongst every human on this planet. We're all united and operating under the same circumstances-the pandemic. Talk to anyone in the world via social media, friends, family, colleagues - everyone can relate to the feelings of isolation, fear, sadness worry and anger. It is a storm that we’re all facing and each one of us is experiencing it in different ways and living different life circumstances. However, there's compassion and solidarity amongst all levels of society to want to help and support in any way. We are seeing the medical community rise up and unite in working together to fight towards the same goal! Strength in numbers. Bless all of these front-line workers who are so dedicated and committed to helping us all find a solution. Many are helping in any way that they can!
Our feelings fluctuate hourly and daily. We'll have better days and some really difficult times too depending on our situation. It makes us part of the human race. We must accept and honor our feelings and feel them. They are real. We must be mindful to not get stuck there in the darkness though. Self-compassion plays a huge part here. Mindfulness helps a lot too. Choosing to notice, identify and be grateful for even the smallest things is how we can shift that mindset when we get overwhelmed. Appreciate the little things. Being kind to ourselves and not placing the same kind of expectations on our day as pre-quarantine really helps. Being productive during these times looks different than before. It's about acceptance of who we are now and the situation that we're in. This is not an easy thing to do given the pandemic, but this is what we can do. We can still make choices. These are the things that we can control.
6. MAKE GRATITUDE A PRIORITY
No question, this is an evolving situation and it is tough. Aside from the crisis itself, there are many other concerns that parents and adults must juggle like kids, work and/or job loss, safety, managing personal time, managing expenses, ensuring that necessities like food are taken care of, managing seniors in the family and more. Managing stress is important in order to avoid burnout.
Making gratitude a daily priority will help you find the blessings. Practicing gratitude is sure to shift your perspective towards a positive mindset. You will surely feel abundance, positivity and hope in those moments. Living mindfully and noticing and appreciating the positive details in each moment will help you get through. Consequently, you will feel decreased feelings of fear and anxiety. Most of all, be kind to yourself and do the best that you can one minute at a time.
Praying for all. Stay safe and well.
Caroline Bougie is an Empowerment Life Coach & Blogger @Inspiration 2 Intention Life Coaching. She concentrates on Self-Esteem, Self-Care, Stress Management, Work life/Homelife Balance, Parenting and Momtrapreneurship. She does 1:1 Coaching -Coaching Calls & FaceTime, Group Workshops, Keynote Presentations and more. Follow Inspiration 2 Intention on Facebook and Instagram or visit website www.inspiration2intention.com Check out her Private FB group called Empowerment Women’s Circle-You Are Worth It! Montreal.