I’m not denying it, I know this is a serious issue, and I assure you I too am affected by it, the fear and uncertainty, the already negative and potentially negative consequences of a virus out of control. 

But you see I’ve taught my children that positive exists in every situation in life, but that it can be shy little critter, sometimes found trying to hide behind the generally larger creatures called pain and fear.  If we can just find the strength to move positive to the front, we can end up with positive pain and growth.

No matter how small it may seem at the time, when we find the positives and focus on them, we gain the power and perspective to not just move on, but to genuinely evolve.

So here’s a list of just some things that I’m grateful for in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic…

  • I’m grateful that working remotely allows me to be present for the beautiful sunsets that sweep across the landscape, and, even more so, that I can appreciate these precious moments of mother nature’s magic with my family instead of being mid commute or still stuck in the office as the sun sets
  • I’m grateful for the relative ease with which my children now finish all the vegetables on their plates as I explain to them the link between good nutrition, a strong immune system and the power of a healthy immune system in the fight against the harmful effects of the Coronavirus
  • I’m grateful that I can use my commute time which is not required as I work from home through this pandemic, to fit in that exercise I’ve been struggling to get around to for…well…for too long now
  • I’m grateful that my children are actually prioritizing personal hygiene steps like washing hands thoroughly and particularly before eating…the hair washing is still a work in progress!
  • I’m grateful that I get to sleep in just that little bit longer in lieu of the usual commute into the office, and that breakfast with the family is all the more relaxed for the extra time I have available too
  • I’m grateful that on a daily basis I’m being provided with real life examples and important opportunities to develop my children’s emotional intelligence as we watch and discuss the events unfolding …who would have thought the local supermarket would have provided such a rich classroom and created such a captive audience from my children who usually, though polite, can’t help but give me ‘that look’ when I start talking with them about principles of positive psychology and emotional intelligence which without the right context (or at least one that speaks sufficiently to a young child) can no doubt feel like a lecture (or just Mum interrupting the movie again to talk to us about it!). The sight of empty shelves in the supermarket is something they’ve not experienced before and it has created enough uncertainty in their young lives for them to be genuinely interested in my talks on the power of our thoughts and actions (the only things in life that we can actually control), the importance of empathy and the role we can all play in helping maintain and spread calm and compassion at this crazy time
  • I’m ever so grateful for the meditation and mindfulness practices that have become such an essential fixture in my daily routine, as they work to calm me each time I feel anxiety creeping in, thinking about the spread and many uncertainties of COVID-19, the many lives so sadly already affected and as a single Mum with no living parents to seek help from, the global economic impact that could so easily have a disastrous effect on many start-ups and growing businesses like mine. I’m also grateful that I get to choose the thoughts I feed and that despite my concerns, I really do have a lot to be grateful for whatever the outcome may be
  • I’m grateful for fabulous friends and technology that enables us to share much needed love and laughter from a distance as a further antidote the abovementioned anxiety in this time of recommended ‘physical distancing’
  • I’m grateful to those working in our healthcare systems at this difficult time, and I’m also grateful for all those working at checkout counters of supermarkets and pharmacies who help ensure that when we can find stock, we are still able to buy it as they continue turning up to work every day, not without risk to their own health – thank you(!) to all of the people who can’t work from home and are out there every day providing essential services to our community from checkout operators to garbage collectors. We appreciate you and your selflessness helping so many of us maintain a modicum of normality amidst all the chaos
  • I’m grateful that the 2 things I can without a doubt control in life are my thoughts and my actions, because I can test my thoughts when fear threatens to seep too far into them, I can practice mindfulness to keep myself in the now and focus instead on our ability to care for ourselves and each other, and I can act in accordance with my values, even if that means potentially running out of loo paper! We all have this power – they are OUR thoughts and OUR actions, no one else gets to control them – ever. They are preciously all ours, every single one.
  • I’m grateful that there are so many scientists working tirelessly to find a cure and a vaccine for COVID-19. Yes it may still be 12-18months away when they do crack the code but I choose to focus on the fact that it WILL arrive rather than focusing negatively on the long length of time it might take to reach us – we WILL get through this so let’s make it a time we look back on with pride as we remember how it brought us together (figuratively of course!), how we looked after each other and in particular those at greater risk amongst us, rather than letting it divide us
  • I’m grateful for rainy days during this time when we’re being encouraged to limit our outings so as to try and stem the rise in transmission of COVID-19…seriously, nothing already says it’s time for a chill at home with a good book or a movie marathon, like a rainy day does
  • I’m grateful that I get to spend more hours enjoying the beautiful vista I’m fortunate to have from my home, and to spend more time with my loved ones in it. I’d forgotten how fun a board game can actually be and just how much you can discover about those around you as you mull over a giant jigsaw puzzle together
  • I’m grateful that working from home (instead of an open plan office in the City) means I get to play my favorite music as white noise whilst I work (the right music selections are powerful in managing my mood, inducing more calm when needed and a bit of boogie music when I’m getting a little too calm (read sleepy) at my desk….(yes kids Mum did just use the word boogie – no judgement remember!)
  • Shared struggle can strengthen the bond between people, and I’m grateful to be able to witness this playing out in the world and community around me. Yes there are people unnecessarily stockpiling groceries to the detriment of those most at risk in our communities and a few fighting over toilet paper in supermarkets or making ignorant and hurtful comments but there are also beautiful stories of human resilience, compassion, empathy and generosity…you just have to choose where to look for them.
  • I’ve eluded to this one before but it’s so important to me that I’m particularly grateful for it…I’m grateful I get to model valued living for my children to help them understand the impact on our happiness and wellbeing of living in or out of alignment with our core values, to watch and help them identify their own values and help them build their emotional intelligence and resilience. Children after all are sponges, and our words and actions, the liquid they soak in and eventually release. Muddy water in, muddy water out, clear clean water in, clean clear water out.
  • I’m grateful that I’m actually home in time (it’s not a long commute from my desk to my kitchen), to prepare nutritious and slightly more exciting new recipes for my family’s evening meal rather than the usual race home from the office to pull something I prepared earlier from the freezer
  • I’m grateful that COVID-19 is pushing me out of my comfort zone to become more curious about brands and products I don’t usually buy… I actually can’t’ find my ‘usuals’ on the shelves anymore! You see, as a Positive Psychology Practitioner now, I know that research has found strong links between levels of a person’s curiosity and happiness but having spent almost 19 years as a lawyer, and amongst lawyers, you might say I grew more than a healthy dose of risk aversion and scepticism…the Kryptonite to curiosity
  • I’m grateful for all those out there who have a witty sense of humour and provide us all some much needed relief by shining a different lens on the COVID-19 crisis…yes we know it’s serious but so is humour as a strategy for coping
  • And finally, I’m grateful that this too shall pass.

Okay so my list turned out to be longer than I expected!

How long is your list?
What are you grateful for?
What thoughts and actions will you choose during this chaotic time for us all?