Waking up at 9 in the morning, grabbing a cup of hot coffee prepared by your mom that is filled with love, stretching with a big smile and eyes closed, putting on your formal top and adjusting your hair and glasses to attend online classes. The duration of your classes have probably reduced and that means you get more time for yourself. You probably would cuddle your dog, run to the kitchen and sit on the slab to chat with your mom or granny, hogging on all the delicacies that they experimented during their ample free time. This is a pretty common situation. Often, when asked “How was the whole 2020 for you?” we tend to skip all these tiny yet happy moments and reply with a blunt “oh man, it sucked!” Yes, we may be unable to go visit places or hang out with our friends but that doesn’t mean the whole of 2020 was trash. Knowingly or unknowingly we don’t look at the bright sides of 2020. You can still go visit places and hang out with your friends for years to come, once everything is settled down.
Instead of sulking about it, let us try counting the tiny yet meaningful blessings that life offered us in 2020.
Some of us were able to spend quality time with our family and loved ones, some were able to develop skills, take up online courses and earn certificates, use our time to try out things we always wanted to do, but never found time before and most of us definitely were able to keep up with the trending series and movies. Some of us were able to spend time communicating with our long lost friends. Some of us were able to try out new dishes, write new books, articles and write-ups and some were even able to start their own enterprises. There were online concerts held as well, this way many people from across the globe could make memories with their favorite singers and performers. A lot of celebrities started their own podcasts and were able to reach out to their fans. As fans, a lot of us were thrilled to reach out and feel closer to our idols. Many were able to get fit and healthy. Some of us spent our time by giving importance to our mental health, experiencing our various emotions and working on ourselves by looking at our flaws and finding ways to heal our wounds.
Well, it is not only us who enjoyed a few benefits because of the lockdown, mother earth has had a few benefits as well.
A UN report points out that reduced traffic on the seas has helped the oceans recover from overfishing and climate change effects. If not all, at least a few scars that we humans left on mother earth are healing. With humans confined to the houses, animals seem to be getting their much-needed space. Wildlife sightings have increased, air quality has improved and carbon emissions have dropped. 2020 also brought various people across the globe to join hands and raise voice against inequalities. With the cut down of salary and firing thousands of employees, people have also realized and are able to empathize with the poor. This was also the time when a lot of people were able to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Taking care of our mental health during a pandemic isn’t easy. Since the outbreak began, we’ve all been feeling a lot more stressed. Living in a constant state of uncertainty can feel like running a race with no finish line. Everything seems unclear, and the worst seems possible. Of course, this is not a fun state of mind to be in. Research shows that gratitude can help balance us out. Gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improves their health, helps deal with adversity and build strong relationships.
When you find yourself stuck in a constant state of worry, pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself these questions –
- What are the three things I am grateful for right now?
- What did I see today or over the last month that was beautiful?
- What am I better at today than I was a year ago?
- What opportunities do I currently have that I am grateful for?
You’ll be surprised to hear yourself list more than at least seven to eight things you’re grateful for. Now that the year is almost ending remember this, without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future! Things are not going to be the same.This too shall pass. For the time being all we can do is be grateful and continue doing what we do regularly with a positive mindset. Be brave, be kind, be grateful. Remember, the struggle ends, when gratitude begins.