Prior to the pandemic, what did your day-to-day routine consist of? Did you begrudgingly go to work every day even though you hated it? Did you miss out on family and friends because you were ‘too busy’? Did you rush from meeting to meeting, not taking in a moment to breathe and appreciate what you had in front of you?
People from all over the globe have had to alter their lifestyles due to the coronavirus. With weeks of self-isolation, people are likely missing the habits that were familiar to them-even if they weren’t always enjoyable. Some people have lost their jobs, and some have had to stay away from their loved ones to keep them safe. Instead of focusing on nostalgia and regret, however, take time to reflect on the things that really matter to you-whether person or thing-and discover a new appreciation for life that you missed out on before. Even if you’re stuck at home, there are plenty of things to be grateful for-you simply have to realize it.
There are so many things in life that we take for granted.
Maybe it’s the friend who is always willing to meet you for coffee when you had a bad day, maybe it’s the job that allows you to pay your bills. It could be simpler than that too, like your health. How many stories have you read about someone who revamps their lifestyle upon learning they only have a few months left to live? All it takes is one call from a doctor to drastically change your life. Would you be happy with your current lifestyle if you were to receive that call? If you answer with a no, then why not change things now?
Nature also provides many comforts and resources for us, yet it goes unappreciated. Some may think chopping down trees to build a new shopping center is a better use of land, but nature is so much more powerful than we give it credit for. It has the potential to calm us, enlighten us, and empower us. If you open your eyes, you can find solace from looking up at the trees or from observing the birds chirping along to each other as they fly by. Beauty can be found anywhere, but we do not always cherish it until we realize what life is like without it.
Take a break from watching the news to make a list of the things that made you smile that day. It doesn’t have to be long-even thinking about one thing a day can be enlightening. If you’re struggling to find something, start as basic as you can. A roof over your head, clothes to wear, food to eat, a favorite song. Practicing gratitude allows you to keep an eye out for the positive things in your life. The more you can appreciate, the happier you will likely be.
Appreciating the things you have allows you to identify what to look forward to in the future.
One you know what you’re grateful for, you are likely to prioritize it and incorporate it into your life as much as you can. Some things can be included more than others, but even if it’s something you have to wait a few months for (like a family reunion or a vacation), it gives you something to look forward to.
During this pandemic, you are likely missing the lifestyle you previously had. There are so many things that we always believed would be available-restaurants, stores, school, work-and now, they’re not. Every day of self-isolation brings us closer to the day where we can all interact together again. If you miss something, it simply means that it was important to you; if it’s important, find a way to get it back.
Perhaps you loved traveling. While traveling is put on hold at the moment, it doesn’t mean you have to refrain from planning your next trip. You’ll have to wait to put it into action, but by the time it’s safe to travel again and restrictions are lifted, you will have thoroughly researched the places you want to go.
Everything doesn’t have to take place in the future-if you’re missing a friend you haven’t seen in a while, reach out. Don’t fall into the mindset of “I’ll do it later.” There may be restrictions on interactions right now but that doesn’t mean you should put things off-it means you have to be more creative. Part of taking things for granted involves the illusion that you will always have the opportunity to do something, when in reality, you might not.
Use this situation to be grateful for what you have.
It’s normal to be anxious during this time, and this article is not saying that you have no right to be. It’s okay to feel low: whether you’re upset because you lost your job or because your favorite artist’s concert was canceled, you don’t have to justify your feelings. If you can find the time to realize what you’re grateful for, however, you can improve your perspective of life and give it meaning despite the circumstances.
This pandemic has changed the way we live, and as negative as it is, we should learn from it. The coronavirus has changed the way people perceive things like healthcare, art, and grocery store workers. Now we know we need them and how essential they really are. We are no longer focusing on extravagance-we’re looking at basics such as health and financial stability.
Nothing is guaranteed in life, and it can take a major event like a pandemic to realize that. Things in life come and go, so appreciate them while you can. Let this situation be a wake up call. It will certainly be a challenge to come back from something like this, but let’s do so with a new outlook on life. When this pandemic is over, maybe we all can return to our lives with an emphasis on what’s important to us and a realization of what matters. After all, the more grateful we are for life, the more meaningful it will be for us.