Happy New Year!
Very many will share the view expressed below with which I can fully sympathise.
As a Londoner, life is particularly worrying right now. The Mayor has declared a ‘major incident’ in the UK capital with the Coronavirus now ‘out of control’; apparently one in 15 have the virus in some boroughs.
We’ve recently had the highest number of deaths in a day since the pandemic began. This is appalling news and my heart goes out to all those who have suffered from Covid, or have experienced a loved one do so.
I also cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for front line workers in hospitals and care homes, paramedics and all those who have been working so hard for so long saving lives and caring for the sick.
So, in my mission to try to spread a little joy even in dark times, is there anything positive to say or suggest, apart from the vaccine is coming to a place near you, sooner or later?
Well, may I offer a tip, which I appreciate is easier written than done. .
Because there are huge rewards in finding things to be grateful for.
In ‘How To Age Joyfully: Eight Steps to a Happier, Fuller Life’, Step 6 is ‘Be Grateful’. Below is the page summarising the benefits of practising gratitude. The chapter then provides 12 tips that might help, especially right now.
It may be a challenge, but there’s almost always something to be grateful for, from waking up each morning to eating your favourite chocolate or being able to dance in your kitchen to your most uplifting songs. (You can guess what does it for me)!
One of the tips in the book is not original, but it works. Start a Gratitude Journal and every day write down 3 -5 things you are grateful happened that day, however large or small. There are even several apps to help. Entries might include chatting to a friend, watching a funny TV programme or video, helping a neighbour, giving a smile and receiving one in return, and the ‘golden ticket’ – getting vaccinated. If you persevere for as little as two weeks, research has shown you can significantly boost your wellbeing.
Other tips include counting your blessings – write a list if that helps. I got the idea for this blog because I am doing exactly that, after pretty worrying health scares just before Christmas made me forget the pandemic completely. But thanks to our wonderful doctors, nurses and hospitals, I was able to crack open the champagne and celebrate on Christmas Day.
(If you read my last blog you will know we ate the full Christmas lunch but, due to the last minute restrictions, only with our son who is in our ‘support bubble’. And yes, it was freezing!)
Find Joy in Each Day
So please value all you have and what you can do, rather than what you lack. Despite the current limitations of lockdown3, with a little creativity most of us can find some joy in each day. I’m just so grateful to have the technology to connect with others, learn, laugh and so much more. Imagine going through this pandemic a few decades ago.
I confess, I’ve just had a go at painting for the first time since school. It’s an elephant from the social enterprise ElephantParade , a great gift for young and old(er) alike. My elephant is decorated with a bunch (a ‘drift’?) of pigs many involved in my favourite activities – dancing, eating, reading, writing… The pigs are extremely poor attempts at capturing the wonderful illustrations of Sandra Boynton (check out her website for an abundance of joyful animals).
With my surname, pigs are, perhaps unsurprisingly, a favourite animal of mine. Although far too old for Peppa Pig, I love Piglet, Miss Piggy, Wilbur, Hamm and the Empress of Blandings. Do you know them all? Pigcasso, a pig who paints – and incredibly not a fictional creation – could probably have done a better job than me, but we all have to start somewhere. Paints and brushes have now been bought…
So, Good Luck, Dear Readers!
Hopefully we’ll all be celebrating getting our jabs over the coming months and we’ll continue to express our deep gratitude to all those involved in creating, making and distributing these life saving vaccines.
Just think how lucky we are not to be living at the time of the seventeenth century Great Plague, or the Spanish Flu almost exactly a hundred years ago. Now that’s something to be grateful for!
Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.