Responding with gratitude

The new lockdown that has just been announced in England has created uncomfortable feelings for many people – worry, stress and anxiety. Only this time we are in the middle of quite a dismal autumn, and don’t have the record-breaking spring weather to enjoy on our daily walks. This got me thinking – how did I deal with the first lockdown, and what can I draw from that experience to make the most of what we collectively have in front of us now?

There were two really important things that I did as part of the last lockdown – acceptance of the situation and considering what I wanted to get out of it as an experience or learning opportunity. I accepted that I wouldn’t be able to see my friends and family for a while, and as I live on my own, this didn’t feel very nice. I quickly realised though, that the more I accepted and the less I pushed back, the easier the whole thing felt. Instead, I set up coffee mornings on Zoom and gave everyone the link. Great if they could drop in.

I took full advantage of my full allotted hour each day to go outdoors, and discovered so many green spaces and parks near where I live that I had never seen before, that each new one became magical to me. I was also the brownest I’d been in years because of all of the walking outside and I’ve discovered so many paths, snickets, brooks and urban woods that I know my neighbourhood like never before – and I’ve lived in the surrounding areas most of my life.

The main thing that really helped me during the first lockdown was cultivating a feeling of real gratitude – how lucky I was to live in a lovely home, happiness for the access to the green spaces around me, grateful for the beautiful spring weather and blossoms (always my favourite time of year, but this year it seemed extra special). My bid consultancy work (my previous life) all dropped off a cliff, but this just gave me more time to read the books I hadn’t had chance to finish.

And it’s these experiences I am drawing on now as we face another period of lockdown – ostensibly for a month, but it could be until well into the new year. We have been set a challenge to really understand the power of our minds – we can choose how we perceive life and the things that happen to us. So over the next few weeks, and possibly months, let’s keep focused on the good stuff, and turn off the news and social media if you don’t think it’s helping you. Live from the inside out, responding with gratitude rather than fighting the situation, and you will feel so much better for it.

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