I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for about eight weeks now – formally that is. I used to ‘use’ gratitude in an ad-hoc way to calm myself when I felt anxious, panicky or unfocused, but a couple of months ago I formalised the practice and started writing down three things I was grateful for each and every night, before going to sleep. I was advised to try to make one of the things about myself, and to make it something intrinsically about myself (e.g. being grateful that I have the ability to make people laugh, rather than being grateful that I did a good thing at work that day). And I tried – difficult though it was! – although I didn’t always succeed. Sometimes my gratitude was far less meaningful than that. The entry for 5 March includes gratitude for my new jumpsuit in its number, for example (in my defence, it’s a really great jumpsuit! And I’m really looking forward to wearing it when I have somewhere to go to again!) I refused, and still refuse, to beat myself up about sometimes feeling grateful for more shallow things – life is a balance, and it doesn’t negate my gratitude for other things, etc. etc. – but man. A global pandemic will really focus your mind on what you’re truly, actually, totally grateful for.
I posted something similar to this on Instagram recently, at the end of the week we went into lockdown. Since that time, I’ve only felt even more grateful for the people working so hard to keep us safe and well at this time – our nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, couriers, and the list goes on – as well as for our government, who had to make a call that was harder than the vast majority of us will ever have to make. The strength it must have taken to make that decision is awesome to consider, in the true meaning of the word. It is so encouraging to see our case numbers start dropping and to realise just how much our officials have done to enable us to feel that relief and encouragement.
On a par with that, though, is the overwhelming gratitude I feel for having Hayden and Amelie in my life. Before Covid-19, I would refer to them as my everything, and mean it, but without ever really thinking too deeply about what I did mean by that. Now that they are literally my everything – the only people I have spent any amount of time with in person in nearly three weeks now – my gratitude for them has taken on new meaning. They are patient, kind, forgiving, funny, hardworking, thoughtful, sweet and they are great people to be in lockdown with. I love them but I also just really like them. I feel so lucky.
There are things from this experience I never want to lose, and chief among them is being so aware on a daily basis how lucky I am to have this amazing little crew around me. I need to put it into my gratitude journal as a standing item or something!
If you don’t already keep a gratitude journal I can recommend it; it’s a lovely way to not only be aware on a daily basis of the things you’re grateful for, but it’s also so nice to look back and feel all those warm fuzzies of that you’ve been grateful for over time (new clothes included; I’m clearly on board with that). Also, it’s a great sleep aid when you wake up in the night and your brain just won’t quiet down! At those times I can recommend thinking of ten things that happened in your day that you’re grateful for; I have never made it to ten before I’ve fallen back asleep, and this works for Hayden too (and he is a terrible sleeper). Let me know if you try it! And tell me, what have you been grateful for recently (answers can be as shallow or as deep as you like!)