It always makes me very proud that one of the most popular posts on this blog is 50 Positive Things to Tell Yourself Every Day. Some months after I wrote that post, I decided to write a sister post for it: 50 Things to Tell Yourself on Difficult Days, which was also well received. However, I thought it might be helpful to write a new post thinking about reasons to be positive, hopeful (and grateful) right NOW! Not when the Pandemic ends, not next year, or even next month. Now!
Positivity is a state of mind. People who go through life with a ‘glass half full’ attitude, are likely to be more happy, cope better with tough times, and build better relationships. They are also generally much more able to easily count their blessings. I personally believe that gratitude needs to be closely interwoven with positivity to gain the most out of life. Sometimes, when we are living through a period of difficulty, we can forget that there are still so many things to be positive and grateful about, things as simple as your morning coffee or a good nights sleep. Once you become grateful about these little things, your positivity levels will rise, and take with it your whole perception of your day, week, month and even year!
Like everyone, I have had down days in the last year, but when I do, I try and count my blessings, think about how lucky I am and stay as positive as I can. Here are a few things that I often remind myself of on bad days:
Let’s start with the most basic: I am really glad that I am alive. The odds of being born are equal to 1 in 10 2,685,000. The chances are so low that it is effectively zero. Its an INCREDIBLE, AMAZING thing that I am here at all. Life is such a gift. Look at the surrounding nature, the trees, feel the earth beneath your feet, or take a paddle in the sea. The earth is a living miracle and we are privileged to be here enjoying it.
Spring is coming! Warmer days are on the way. For me that means flip flops, sunnies and the sun on my face, ice cream, bike rides through the Forest and lazy Sundays at the beach. I know we aren’t supposed to be booking holidays, but there is no harm in having a list of where you would like to go on holiday again once we are allowed to travel again. And who needs to go overseas anyway! So many beautiful locations within the UK!
The vaccine is being rolled out quicker than any of us could have hoped, and it means that soon we will be able to get closer again to those that we have missed hugging and kissing. Soon, we will being able to go shopping again and meet friends for coffee or lunch. Evenings in the pub! Can’t wait! And the thought of going to the cinema again! It sounds so exciting when the current highlight of my week is the food shop. Lets hold on to this appreciation and excitement about the smaller things! Because when we could no longer have them, they become the big things.
Sport! I am so excited about the prospect of Wimbledon, the Football European Championships and the Tokoyo Olympics and Paralympics – all in one year!
Food! Before the Pandemic, meals were often rushed and a bit last minute. Since I have had more time to plan meals, and think about where I am going to buy vegetables, I have enjoyed it a lot more! We have a little vegetable seller who has popped up round the corner and I far prefer buying from him than going to the supermarket. Dinner in our house is a very big deal and I look forward to our main meal by making it as special as I can.
I haven’t had family and friends to cuddle for the last year, but my two cats are absolutely precious to me and how I appreciate their love during this time! Of course, they want to be involved in everything we do and have made many an appearance in my work Zoom meetings. They love having us home all the time and are such good company. I know people who have been forced to be alone during this period have absolutely relied on their pets for their continued positive mental health. Animals have supported us once again unconditionally through difficult times.
The planet is breathing again. I don’t know the exact statistics, but the difference all this enforced non travelling has made to our earth, is staggering. And the good news is a lot of the practices that we have adopted will stay. I personally will not be flying to Jersey, Newcastle and Manchester for a meeting that I can very easily do over the internet. Same with car journeys – driving down to Exeter and Camborne a few times a month for a two hour meeting! I won’t be doing that anymore! A lot of companies are rethinking their working practices and I hope that’s good news for the planet. The reduction in air pollution will certainly be good news for asthma sufferers and research has shown that it might actually limit the spread of viral diseases. Pollution also stunts plant growth which means we could see a better outlook for agriculture.
There is a crucial Climate Conference in November of this year. Glasgow is hosting the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in November, keeping parties on track towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Lets hope they take this as a chance to reset and change the direction we have been going in for the last few decades.
The community has really come together during Covid. We have pulled together in so many ways, helping each other and looking out for each other. I am so happy that my mum has been able to have regular contact with people during the pandemic through the kindness of the neighbours all around her. I hope we keep that as we come out of the pandemic.
I have learnt in the last year the fundamental importance of doing nothing. Before the pandemic, I raced around all the time, both in my head and on my feet (or in a car). But my brain is an organ. It needs care and rest time too. I’m a busy, driven, goal-oriented person and I used to have zero patience for unproductive days. But actually having a day off is really beneficial. Have a day “within” , so I can reflect, heal, process, and rest. Yoga has really helped me personally with this.
I practice gratitude every day. Every morning before I get out of best think of 10 things I’m grateful for; This morning they were: My favourite song , hot baths, the internet, my job, my senses, chocolate mint ice-cream, weekend walks, old photographs, red wine and ….cushions! It’s such a good way to start the day. Try it!
The enjoyment of nature: Whether we spend time in our garden, walk in the woods or on the beach, or even have a stroll around the local park, the beauty of nature has been something we could rely on during 2020. And, even when the world stopped, nature remained constant. I have read about wild animals taking over quiet city centres in various parts of the world and dolphins returning to parts of the ocean that they have not been seen in for decades. Andy and I have had so many beautiful walks which we would not have done in normal circumstances. I was as likely to go shopping on a weekend, as go for a walk in the forest. I don’t think I will be doing that anymore.
“Nature never stops, and the sad truth is that less human activity has meant that nature has been able to thrive in a way that most of us haven’t seen in our lifetime.”
Appreciation of key workers: My appreciation for the NHS, which was always fairly high went through the roof. But it is not just the doctors, nurses and hospital workers. I look at supermarket checkout staff, shelf-stackers and delivery drivers in a different way now. These key workers have kept us going and we should never, ever take them for granted again.
Christmas 2021!! OK, I maybe looking ahead a bit here! But being a bit of a Christmas lover, (slight understatement), and having missed out last year, I am going to make next Christmas the best and biggest we have ever had.
2022. We have every reason to hope that things are going to get steadily better this year. And in 2022 it is conceivable that coronavirus, though unlikely to be gone, will instead be an irritating, but SMALL part of our lives. How wonderful will that be!
Right, that is enough positivity for us today – I don’t want you to overdose! Seriously though, I know it’s still hard at the moment, but try to focus on all we have to look forward to, and not only that, but with a different attitude, a positive grateful attitude. Hold on. Wonderful things are coming!