November has always been the traditional time to reflect on the year and give thanks for our blessings. Globally, this year has tested us in many ways, and finding gratitude may be more challenging than it has in the past.
Some of us may have watched loved ones get sick from COVID-19, or even lost loved ones to the virus. Some of us have gotten sick ourselves. All of us have struggled with the limitations to our movements, opportunities and the shrinking of our worlds. A lot of us are stressed, lonely, uncertain of the future; or just plain bored.
In this kind of unprecedented environment, how do we find gratitude? Zachary Alti, the “mental hygienist” columnist for Psychology Today, emphasizes in a column about gratitude during the pandemic that finding appreciation now, more than ever, is crucial to our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Alti prescribes that every night you go to bed, name three things you are grateful for.
How do we do that when Thanksgiving is coming and we may be unable to see some of our loved ones? Or we are grieving a loss? Or we are afraid to leave to our homes? He shares three of his own to get started:
- The realization that we have a strong infrastructure with researchers and scientists that is working to solve this pandemic and prevent future ones.
- Our heroes of healthcare (including our wonderful team at Flatrock!), who have put their own safety at risk to care for others.
- Gratitude for loved ones and a time of forced perspective to remember what is really important to us.
Pay attention to the last one: forced perspective. Yes, our worlds have gotten smaller. We may be very lonely, or on the flip side, spending way too much time at home with our families than is reasonable for our sanity. This is the time to focus on what truly matters — like people who care for us; food and health care availability; and shelter.
It is also the time to see how the small things matter. Like a window with a great view; a treasured pet; morning coffee; TV shows or movies that move us or make us laugh; and the myriad of little things that make our lives comfortable and pleasant.
Enjoy the season and have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!