This year has been a rough one, hasn’t it? As we have experienced an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, many of us have felt the ongoing stress, strain, and difficulty of most of the year 2020. With the adjustments to our work, home, and family life have come a myriad of reactions amongst folks, with the overwhelming feelings of isolation, fear, panic, stress, anger, and helplessness being just a few.
And then it continued and continued…and it still continues to continue!
The long-term nature of the challenges many of us are facing is something we’ve never experienced before. I don’t know about you, but I have definitely felt ill-equipped for this long journey at times. When the waves of emotions are so high it doesn’t seem there is an end in sight, perhaps pausing to appreciate the small victories of 2020 will allow you to experience Gratitude.
At first it may be hard to find Gratitude. Between all that you are accomplishing at home, under all the weight of stress and overwhelm, learning to pause can be a skill to practice in itself. The type of “pause” you develop may be unique to you and your schedule. As you develop this new skill, make it a point to stop and practice gratitude at various times throughout the day to see what is most helpful to you. Even trying different lengths of times may be beneficial. Some folks appreciate less frequent, longer pauses; others benefit from more frequent, shorter pauses. Use whatever works for you!
After practicing the pause, make it a priority. This may be by setting a reminder in your phone or scheduling it on your calendar. Or, it could mean using it intentionally when those waves of emotions grow and you’re in the thick of it!
Next step: Gratitude.
This can be as simple as acknowledging a small win, a moment of peace, something beautiful, something sweet. Practicing Gratitude may actually be saying, “I am grateful for…” in those moments. Sincerely thanking someone for a kind deed, a helping hand, or listening ear is practicing gratitude. Some people keep Gratitude Journals and write about what they’re thankful for on a regular basis.
As you develop the skills of Pause and Gratitude, make it your own – for even though 2020 has been a big hit, surely there are things for which you may be grateful. By giving yourself the opportunity to Pause and practice Gratitude, it can shift your mental picture and emotional state.
I’ll close in pausing to share some of my Moments of Gratitude this year: more time at home with our son, walks with my dog, time to plant a plentiful garden, the opportunity to practice my creativity in finding fun things to do at home, the usefulness of my laptop, the dedication and hard work of my colleagues, listening ears of friends, advice and guidance from mentors, flowers from a sweet child, motivation from my partner, community advocacy, new books, and proving my own capability in crisis. Thank you 2020 for these things. I look forward to seeing what else you have to offer.