We don’t need to tell you that it has been quite the year. There has been non-stop change, shifting culture, economic instability, and global tragedy. We’ve all felt burnt out, stressed, and apathetic at times. But we’ve also had moments of joy, of connection, and of relief. As a more normal (for most) summer comes to a close and the leaves start to change, we have the chance to really reset for the upcoming winter and reflect on all we’re lucky to have in our lives. Here are some helpful reminders to spark some of the warm fuzzy feelings we all need as we head into cooler temperatures and shorter days.
Thank yourself for how far you’ve come
Think about all the times you yearned so badly for what you’ve created for yourself now. Whether it’s a job you love and continue to grow in, a car, a loving partner and/or family, a supportive friend group, or your own house or apartment. Take a moment to pause and really appreciate your hard work. You’ve created your own reality and you deserve the acknowledgement. Celebrating your achievements is so important!
Recognize the times you were at your best (and when you weren’t)
If we think back over the last couple of years, it’s likely we went through some of our toughest times as our day-to-day realities shifted and the trials of the world seeped into our familiar four walls. It’s also likely that our perspective changed for the better as a result. Where we used to take getting on a plane for granted, now we genuinely appreciate the chance of getting to travel again. Where we perhaps used to complain about having to go to Sunday dinner with our family every week, now we feel immense gratitude if/when we do get the chance to. Many of us have realized just how much of our lives we didn’t stop to appreciate maybe as much as we should have. Now, think about those little moments where you were perhaps overwhelmed with relief, joy, and perhaps a little shock that you were finally at a friend’s barbecue after months apart, meeting your new nephew/niece for the first time, hugging your mom after a long time apart, and so on. Pause to reflect on these moments we’ve had of struggle and joy alike.
Reflect on the health (mental and physical) of yourself and those around you
Understandably, a global pandemic has everyone thinking more of their health than might be typical. Depending on how the pandemic affected us (particularly if you are a front-line worker or a family member of one), we might have different experiences of the past 18 months. Maybe you or someone close to you got very ill and is recovering, or perhaps someone passed away and you are navigating the grief process as best you can. Remember to have compassion for yourself and others going through tough times, and then to foster gratitude for the times you and your loved ones have been healthy (especially if that’s right now). As they say, health is wealth - and this pandemic has reminded us that without our health we can’t focus on anything else.
Your thoughts only have as much power as you give them
Remember that you are the boss of your own life. You get to make your own decisions. The transient thoughts that come in and out of your mind are only temporary ideas - you get to decide how much weight you put into them and whether they will trigger any reaction on your part. We get to be grateful for our own autonomy and ability to decide how we want to proceed at any point. Be thankful for the freedom we have in cultivating our own environments and making what we want into realities - and also for the fact that any negative thoughts (that perhaps trigger feelings) are temporary. Any mental discomfort will always eventually get better, and we can find comfort and gratitude in that.
The insurmountable amounts of stress, fear, and tragedy the world continues to cope with as we navigate through a global pandemic have weighed on all of us in some way. Though it’s essential we feel our feelings, not squash them down, and get the help we need when necessary, it’s also important to regularly recognize the positives in our lives. The more we are grateful for what we already have, the happier we are. It really can be that simple sometimes. As many of us head into a long weekend, we encourage you to focus on the parts of your life (including yourself!) that you’re grateful for and feel lucky to have. The most thankful people have usually been through the most adversity, not by coincidence. The perspective shift that struggles give us are irreplaceable.