An Attitude of Gratitude
You don’t need me to tell you that 2020 has been a pretty crappy year. For so many people, for so many different reasons, there have been weeks and months on end that have been a real slog.
When the first lockdown came into force back in March, I went into survival mode. No, I didn’t rush out and purchase a year’s worth of toilet roll, but I did start meal-planning like crazy (my belly always comes first) and checking that my weekly deliveries of groceries from local suppliers were running smoothly (my belly also comes second).
Following that, there was a period of gratitude. I was able to turn away from the depressing daily news updates on coronavirus and count my blessings. There was plenty to be grateful for – big things, like: “ I am grateful that I am safe, and that my family and friends are safe at this moment in time” and smaller things, like “ I’m glad I managed to have a week away in February ”. But as time has gone on, I have really had to sharpen my resilience. Whereas as back in April and May I was still sticking fairly rigidly to my exercise routine as well as getting out for daily walks, somewhere in between boozing too much and endless zoom calls things started to slide.
In June, I discovered kundalini yoga, thanks to our very own Zoe Swan. The benefits of practising have extended beyond the enjoyment of being in the class itself. I have found that even showing up for class improves my wellbeing because I know I am putting myself first and dedicating some time to my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. An unexpected benefit is that I now have some tricks up my sleeve for dealing with stressful or challenging situations when I am away from the mat. Breathing techniques is one of the benefits but also there are other techniques like releasing the tension in my shoulders with three-minutes of movement, which I can easily incorporate into my day.
July, August, September, October… I feel like I can’t really put my finger on what I did during those months. What I can do is reference that time in books; I read a lot and that’s no bad thing. I don’t know about you, but I found the second lockdown much harder than the first. Was it because of the time of year? Was it because I had completed all of the jigsaws in the house (and the ones I’d borrowed)? Was it because sitting in front of the TV gorging on Netflix had lost its sheen? I don’t know. I just know that I had to implement lots of of self-care techniques to help me deal with it and getting quality sleep and ramping up my essential oil usage were at the top of my list. Although I jot down a few things that I am grateful for on a daily basis, I find that it’s still very easy to lose my sense of perspective sometimes and get drawn into catastrophising.
One morning in November I saw a message online that really struck me. It read:
Your terrible job is the dream of the unemployed.
Your house is the dream of the homeless.
Your smile is the dream of the depressed.
Your health is the dream of those who are ill.
Don’t let difficult times make you forget your blessings.
And so, if good mental health is all about trying to live in the moment and being grateful for what we have, I feel like there is just enough in those words to raise my spirits for a little while longer.
Oilwards and Upwards,