Hello! Another week, another #TheCWord post. Just as I wholeheartedly believe it is so important to share our own personal experiences at the moment, the struggles and challenges we’re facing to offer comfort and support to each other, I also believe it is so, so important to keep a big old positive, hopeful outlook and look forward to the future. I’m usually someone that tries their hardest to practice gratitude and positivity every single day: I always see the best in people, I try and find lessons from every hard situation and I always remind myself of everything I’m grateful for to make my outlook as positive as possible. However, I am also the worst at slipping out of that positive mindset when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s an overwhelming time right now for all of us at different points and for different reasons, and I didn’t want that positivity and hope to get lost. So today, I thought I’d discuss the things we’re hugely grateful for in this new ‘now’ we’ve found ourselves in.
What do you feel your soul smile about at this otherwise difficult time? What’s keeping you going? What aspects of this new lifestyle do you want to bring with you into life after lockdown?
I asked these questions and more over on my Instagram, and lots of you got in touch to offer the wonderful glimmers of hope and positivity you’re finding in this new ‘now’. And I had a think about mine. Here’s hoping today’s post is jam-packed full of positivity, kindness and support – let’s get cracking, shall we?
From my experience over the last few weeks, I’ve got to admit I’ve been living a rollercoaster of emotions. Sometimes I believe my boyfriend deserves a medal, because I’ve been up and down faster than a hyper kid on a seesaw over the last few weeks. I don’t deal well with change, I’m an anxious person which means I like to be able to try and help control everything I can, and I often feel intense sadness when I hear of awful things going on in the world. All of these factors mean I’m finding it hard to keep myself positive 24/7 – as I’m sure we’re all experiencing. I just want to wave a magic wand and cure the world of its horribleness so everyone can be happy, but sadly, this situation is out of our control. So, I can 100% say that the last few weeks haven’t been a happy clappy, zen-like time where I’ve felt utter gratitude every second of every day, but I have tried my best to keep as positive and grateful as possible.
There are a few ways I’ve been trying to keep myself as upbeat, positive and hopeful as possible recently. Again, it has not by any means been plain sailing, but these tips might help:
- I’ve started writing in my diary again. This record keeps track of my emotions and helps me process them – as one thing I’ve noticed recently is that when I have a down mood, they often come on with little to no reason other than that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, and writing often helps process those weird emotions!
- When I experience low moods, anxiousness or random upset feelings for what feels like no reason, I’m trying my very best to remind myself it’s okay to feel this way. Instead of forcing myself into a fake-positive mindset, I’m letting myself have the space to ride the waves of that emotion and come out the other side. Sadly, I don’t have any great strategies in my life at the moment to magically escape difficult emotions – I usually find the best way to get them to pass is just by sitting in them and allowing them to happen, instead of trying to push them away. Pushing them away is only temporary, and usually they then end up coming back with a vengeance.
- Limit my consumption of news content. I’m *trying* my very, very best to only read the news once a day – either in the morning, or evening. It’s good to stay informed and I know it’s important, but at the same time, obsessively checking the news for updates or reading scaremongering articles only fuels overwhelm. Taking the time to check in on myself and look out for myself at this time, yet still staying informed, has helped me get a bit more of a positive balance.
It’s hard to practice gratitude and positivity when you’re experiencing a challenging period. We are all experiencing an unprecedented challenge and we’re all just muddling through as best as we can. This is an unfathomably hard time for millions of people, and we’re all praying that we’ll get through this as soon as is possible. But one thing that’s really good to do when times are difficult, is to try and look forward to a brighter future. Knowing there are times ahead when things won’t be as unfathomably challenging is the thing we can all cling to. So that’s why I wanted today’s post to be about looking forward, to be about appreciating the small things right now that are keeping us going and to lift ourselves out of the overwhelming emotions.
- Knowing my loved ones are currently safe and are doing okay.
- Having the chance to go on a daily stroll means so much as we don’t have a garden – being in nature always calms me.
- The sacred chance to work on my well-being for the first time in a long time – when I’m busy, I neglect my mind and now I’m able to take some space for myself, I’m learning to look after myself more.
- Leisurely reading a good book in our armchair by the window.
- A chance to spend quality time with my boyfriend – we rush around so much in daily life, and although I miss my family SO much, I am so so glad I have him.
- The sound of seagulls whirring in the air outside our flat.
- Blossom. I love everything about blossom. Always have – but now I appreciate it 10x more.
- A chance to focus on the things that make my heart happier, such as this blog – it’s a good focus at this time.
- The kindness of humans at this time. I always think the best of people and it’s so beautiful to see the acts of kindness people are committing right now.
- Those that are working so tirelessly and bravely to keep us safe. My heart is full of love and gratitude for each and every single key worker at this time. Thank you.
Taking these things we’re so very grateful for right now allows us to see exactly what we might want to take from this time as lessons for the future. The future us will appreciate these things so much more, cherishing them – so now is a good time to bring a renewed sense of what’s important into the time ahead. So, with those things in mind, here are some things I want to bring into life after lockdown:
- The slower pace. Learning to take more time for myself is something I have struggled with for a long time, but it’s something I’m learning to do more of now. I hope I can continue this!
- The lazy weekends. I always love to be doing something – but I’m realising the power of doing simply nothing now, too.
- The deeper contact with loved ones. I’m very close to my family and always speak with them daily, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with friends as much when you lead busy lives. We’re all speaking more than ever now, and it’s this closeness I desperately want to keep up.
- Being kinder to myself – I need to learn to stop putting so much pressure on myself, and it’s something I want to continue trying to work on!
- Doing more of what we love – it’s too easy to prioritise work and other things that feel all-important when life is normal, but it means we often neglect the things that make our hearts truly happy. Meeting up with friends from across the country more, spending more quality time with those I love and setting aside more space for blogging and reading are things I want to do more of.
I wanted to hear from you, too. I wanted to know the things you’re grateful for, so we can all share in the things that are still beautiful in this life right now. I wanted to also know the elements of your life now that you want to bring into life after lockdown, because I think it’s important that we’re looking forward to a more hopeful future. So, I reached out on Instagram – and the responses were beautiful.
The Other Story
Let’s talk gratitude first of all. What is there to be grateful for over this challenging period? When asked if you’re welcoming a change of pace at this time, allowing some time to slow down, 84% of you said that it’s good for you but 16% of you were struggling to relax to this new change of lifestyle. It’s a very uncertain period, so I completely understand the struggle to enjoy the space we now have for ourselves, because it feels bittersweet. Most of us would be crying out for some time off given normal circumstances, but it’s really difficult at the moment. It’s really good to see the things that you are grateful for, though. A lot of them speak to the simplest pleasures of human existence:
What are you grateful for right now?
“That I’m with my family, I have an outdoor space I can relax in and the ability to work from home!” 🥰
“Dog walks / sunsets / home cooked meals eaten at the table together / yoga / reading” 🙏
“Having a garden 🌞”
“Still having my job and a roof over my head!!” 🏠
“Books, nature and good friends” 🌿
“Family and friends” ❤️
“Having a nice place to live, a job I love and my friends and family.” 💖
I think it’s in times like this we go to the root of what really matters. Our loved ones, the simple pleasures of life: like reading a book or sitting in the garden – and the financial security of saying we still have a job and a roof over our heads. Things, of course, that we are always grateful for every second of our lives, but things we forget to pay intense gratitude and time towards because for many of us, these are somewhat ‘given’. It’s a marker of privilege, and something we need to check in with ourselves and realise in times like this.
There was also a huge focus on personal well-being, and our mental health. Space we’re grateful for now, because a chance to take stock and stop the busy life has made us realise the significance of looking after ourselves and caring for our well-being:
What are you grateful for right now?
“Having time to properly relax and unwind – it’s really beneficial for my mental health!” 😌
“All the things I’m getting done that I’ve been putting off because “I’m too tired from being at work” 😀”
“Time for just me” 🥰
When asked whether there were any aspects of this new lifestyle we find ourselves in that you want to take with you into life after lockdown, an overwhelming 95% of you said ‘yes’. And it’s beautiful hearing the things you want to bring with you. They’re all focused on our well-being, treating ourselves and others with kindness, and observations we’ve realised in the last few weeks of aspects of life before that can be altered to become kinder for all of us in the future:
What aspects of this current new lifestyle do you want to bring with you into life after lockdown?
“Reading more – having more variety in my downtime has made it more fulfilling” 📚
“Trying to live in the moment more, FaceTiming old friends and learning new skills 💞”
“Change of mindset of not having enough time to do things, there is definitely time” 💞
“It would be great to be able to work from home more regularly, to have a more flexible lifestyle” 💻
“Reading more in the mornings / baking / enjoying being at home and not having to be productive” 📚 💞
“Working from home a day or so a week would be very welcome” 💻
“Appreciating the simple things” 💞
“Home working a few days a week or changed hours!” 💻
“Creating time to do things I enjoy, like reading.” 📚
“Working out at home!”💪
“I like being able to work from home more often” 💻
“Being more active – not exercise, just being productive 😅”
“Looking after myself properly”💞
“Finding and enjoying new hobbies like reading; exercising outside; crochet; art.” 📚💞
“Community spirit and everyone generally being more caring towards others” 💞
“A slower pace of living” 💞
“More time without my phone 💓”
The Positivity Lens
Emphasis on devoting quality time to our loved ones, quality time on ourselves, being kinder to ourselves and others and forging the way for a new society that treats humans with a little more kindness and ease are all recurring themes in your answers. This is a beautiful thing to see. Even in the darkest of days, there are beautiful, simple things that we can be grateful for, which delve straight to the root of what it means to be human. A slower pace of life has led to a deepened gratitude, a stronger kindness and a greater hope for a simpler, more positive future.
This is something we can all cling to in the coming difficult weeks and months ahead. This is something we can internally smile about, light a fire in our wee souls and carry with us into a more positive future. Happier times will come. But for now, we have all of this to be grateful for.
Finally, I asked you if you had any strategies or tips on how to keep yourself positive and upbeat over this period, and you had some wonderful pieces of advice for us all to take on board. I’ll leave you with these – they may just help:
“I try not to think about the whole situation and take each day as it comes otherwise it can feel overwhelming! Also, I’ve really got back into fitness, I do yoga x2, cardio x3, HIIT x1 and strength x3 throughout the week which helps a lot” 💪
“Talking to as many friends as possible” 💕
“Just feel all the feels. When you feel in a rut, see if you can ‘move’ it out – dance/walk/stretch” 💪
“Daily timetable so I feel productive everyday” ✍️
“Lotssss of self-care and time for me!” 🥰
“@maddiemae_xo ✨” (a very kind user – thank you SO much) 💕
“Aim to get up at the same time every day!! Keeps more of a routine” ⏰
“Set goals and try things you’ve always wanted to but haven’t.” 😎
“Keep a routine with an alarm, get dressed properly, do an afternoon workout, plan meals” ⏰💪
And finally, finally, I wanted to end with a beautiful paragraph that @emrharvey sent to me about what she’s doing to keep herself positive and work through her emotions over this tricky period:
“For as long as I can remember, journaling has been a really helpful and useful tool for me to contextualise feelings and emotions that I have. In my younger years it was about boys, playing netball and the ups and downs that come with being a teenage girl. It’s been a while since I journaled, but with the current global pandemic we are living in, I was once again finding my head full to the brim with feelings and emotions that no amount of Netflix, paint by numbers and crossword books could fix. I found myself once again picking up the pen – and have found a strange sense of routine returning to my life by knowing that Sunday is the day I take a moment to sit down and reflect on the facts and figures of what had happened that week, and how I was feeling in the context of what was happening globally, but also what was happening in my own life. Once I have written that week’s overview, I feel strangely calm and like a weight has been lifted, so it is something I am happy to continue. History was one of my favourite subjects at school and we learned a lot about primary sources, bits of evidence that come from testimonies, and it gives me a sense of purpose to feel like I am creating my own primary source that could be passed down to my future family when they inevitably study this crazy time in the future.”@emrharvey
I hope this post has been positive, hopeful, warm and supportive. I hope you can walk away from reading this with some thoughts on what you’re grateful for, what you want to see in the more positive future, and I hope that you can feel a little more uplifted. Sending you my love and I’ll be back with another post on Friday.