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Lockdown Life: A Moment of Gratitude

{ By Emily O’Connell, Editorial Coordinator }

We are in the middle of, what feels like the beginning of the end of our lockdown days. During the beginning, not going to lie, I was extremely affected by this.  Our lives were dramatically impacted.  We missed out on time spent with family, friends – my Grandparents went into a nursing home and my sister moved out of her apartment before all of this started and have not yet had the opportunity to see them.  I worried about people in my family with underlying health issues and the financial impact months to come, the list went on.  To have a home to stay in or a backyard and rooftop top enjoy during the sunny weather felt almost sinful to enjoy.  

Months later, there have been happier moments.  Life continues to move on a slower basis, the weather has been kind to us, and I feel luckier knowing that I get to spend this extra time with myself and my presence, and finding peace with the present moment. 

With respect to the lockdown, here are several things I’ve learned to appreciate:

  1. Community

“The moral development of a civilization is measured by the breadth of its sense of  community” – Anatol Rapoport, Mathematical biologist. While being on lockdown prevented a majority of communal efforts like outdoor activities, I felt a warm sense of belonging and welcoming by knowing we were all in the same place as everyone else.  For all of us, lockdown forced us to come together to share experiences of staying indoors. 

  1. Exercise

If I had known what I know now, I would have taken the gym much more seriously.  Thankfully, the use of at-home equipment, cardio workouts via Youtube and virtual group classes led to a healthy coping mechanism for unwanted extra stress while working from home. Oh, and exercise helps ward off sickness and reduces the risk for chronic illness. 

  1. Time

A common theme of gratitude is to show appreciation and to return the sentiment to those who show you the appreciation.  Due to the lockdown, I’ve been forced to think more about time, and time has allowed me to experiment.  I’ve learned that time allows me to try on different roles and to learn from people and experiences.  It has helped me recognize in an instant that something ordinary is actually miraculous.  Time is a strange concept, where I always found myself saying I wish I had more. Now, however, I’m learning to understand that each minute, hour, etc is the chance to try something new, to fail and to learn.  

  1. Employment

A recent survey released earlier by the John Templeton Foundation says that people are the least likely to express gratitude at work.  No surprise here as well, that the same survey mentions people feel more motivated to work harder when they express gratitude.  Because I found myself in a less-than-ideal situation, working from home with no access to leadership, colleagues or peers next to me to work with and collaborate, I was more motivated to find reasons why I’m grateful to be working.  Asking questions internally like: What lesson is this lockdown teaching us?  Is there a way that I can be a better coworker because of it? 

Gratitude is a skill that can be cultivated just like communication and negotiation, and is something that everybody can (and should) learn.   

Now that lockdown is (hopefully) coming to a close, I am happy to reflect on the small moments I’ve learned to have brought joy over the past year.