Cultivating Gratitude During a Pandemic

This week…this week is bringing up SO many emotions as all of us hit one year of quarantine. 

Thinking back to that time one year ago, I was so naive. I thought it might last three weeks, a month tops. I thought, wow, this is going to be hard to be home for a WHOLE month with a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old…

I listened to the news.

I listened to the infection rates, the death rates, the fact that even our most brilliant scientists didn’t seem to know how to fight it. And I felt scared. 

I read Facebook. 

I read the stories where too many moms never got to hold their babies again. And I held my babies tighter. 

I cried. 

I cried for everyone directly affected by Covid, cried for our world, cried to release the incredible stress and responsibility I felt to keep my family safe. And I cried some more.

I sprayed. 

I sprayed every door handle, countertop, and surface that we touch regularly. And then I sprayed it again.

I drank wine. 

Oh, sweet Chardonnay. And I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And I felt better. 

Honestly, thinking back to this time last year, I started to get down about it again this week. One whole year. One whole year of missed celebrations, missed vacations, missed human contact. But then I remembered something very important… 

We have a choice. We ALWAYS have a choice about how we’re going to respond to any situation. I knew that I could sink down into regret, or I could pick myself up and force myself to cultivate a sense of gratitude for everything that’s happened this year. 

There’s a great quote: 

“Be grateful for the hard times. They have opened your eyes to the things you weren’t paying attention to.” 

So, I wrote a list of TEN WONDERFUL OUTCOMES from this time. Not just good, or so-so things, but WONDERFUL things that have happened which would never have happened in my normal life only one year ago. 

  1. I got to watch Rose and Dylan become best friends. 
  2. I got to teach Rose how to read.
  3. I found new tools to manage my emotions and stress that will serve me for the rest of my life. 
  4. I channeled my creativity to create magical moments for my family from the safety of our home. 
  5. I learned that quiet early mornings spent writing, are magical. 
  6. I learned how much joy can be had in a big empty field, a jar of bubbles, and a huge cardboard box. 
  7. I learned to stop and watch the children, and just take everything in. 
  8. I learned that I can handle impossible situations. I learned that I can thrive in them. 
  9. I learned that Jon and I can be tested and can get through life stronger than ever. 
  10. I learned how important communication is to happiness. 

I highly recommend that you do this exercise. Try to be as specific as possible. Don’t stop at ten, write as many things as you can think of. 

  1. Think of how you’ve grown. 
  2. Think of what you’ve learned. 
  3. Think of how you’ve changed. 
  4. Think of the challenges you’ve overcome. 
  5. Think about the things you pay attention to now that you didn’t just one year ago. 

Joy and gratitude can hide in the smallest places. Do your best to find those special places for yourself. 

You can apply this to your little ones as well. If they get down about the pandemic, help them shift their mindsets to think about the positives that have come out of it. What we focus on, we feel. Helping them find and feel gratitude even during this difficult time will build their RESILIENCE for the future.

Until next time, keep raising EXTRAORDINARY kids!

Angelique

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