It’s been a weird time, these last few months. I know many people have written a post about this and the things they’re grateful for, but it’s recently dawned on me (okay, not THAT recently, I’ve known I do this for ages…) that I’m always looking for the next thing. The next job, the next trip or holiday, the next nice outfit, the next meal (lol). I’m all for looking to the future rather than being stuck in the past, but this often turns into impatience and unhappiness with my current situation (even if it isn’t that bad!). COVID-19 has forced me to remind myself of everything I do have, and why I’m pretty damn lucky to have it. That being said, I thought I’d write about what I’ve been especially grateful for while I’ve been stuck at home like the rest of the world.
1: Having more time for myself ⏳
That magical couple of hours in the morning and the evening has appeared and made my life a million times better! That time is in fact the time I would usually spend commuting into London Waterloo, which is about an hour by the time I get into work, and that’s if the train is actually on time! (“On time…?” I hear Southeastern Rail ask. “What’s that??”) Anyway, now I spend that time having a morning walk and getting in the majority of my 10k steps 👣 and having some thinking time. If I’m not walking, I’m running or doing a workout. Moving my body in the morning really suits me as it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something super early on in the day!
In the evenings, when I finish work at 5, I don’t have to brave the train for the long journey home. Instead, I can get into comfies, make a cup of tea and play some Animal Crossing. This has REALLY helped my mindset. I’m able to just play for the sake of playing, and enjoy my simple little fake life in my town without being anxious about the virus/ other people/ work/ money/ life etc. I am so grateful to have this time to go through my thoughts and switch off from the real world and into a one filled with cute animal neighbours.
2: Green Space! 🌳🌱🌿
HUGE shout out to Danson Park for this one. Now, anyone that knows me will know that if I’m not by the sea I’m not satisfied, it’s my spiritual home and where I feel most calm and most “me”. (That’s Cancerians for you!). HOWEVER, Danson Park is a gorgeous park that’s perfect for a walk or a run. Living in Zone 5, it’s not London enough to be near Richmond Park or any of the huge ones like that, but also not Kentish enough to have the rolling hills or coastline that the Garden of England has. When we moved here and discovered the park was only a 5/10 min walk away, I was honestly overjoyed. Even just inside the park, the air feels cleaner and the grass stretches for what seems like miles so everyone can socially distance easily.
Although we’re allowed to have unlimited exercise now, my one daily exercise session became the thing I looked forward to the most. It became so key to keep my mental health in check (my boyfriend will tell you I go STIR CRAZY if I stay inside all day, like, proper cabin fever) and I found myself really thinking about life and how lucky we are to have this on our doorstep. I noticed things I had never focused on before, made a point of stopping and looking at the different types of wildlife in the lake and the range of trees that the park has to offer. That makes me sound about 80 but I absolutely love nature, and this has just made me appreciate it even more.
3: My health 💖
Finally, and arguably most importantly, I’ve been grateful for my health. Touch wood, I have a brilliant immune system and barely ever get sick or suffer from anything. When I was still going into work, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of catching the virus. My hands were cracked and dry from using so much hand sanitiser and I felt like I was exhausted all the time from being on high alert all the time. I am mildly asthmatic which was obviously a worry as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, but I’ve been really careful with my health and wearing a mask where I can, so I feel a little calmer now.
This situation though, has allowed me to take a pause and reflect on what I’m grateful for. I, like many other young women (and men!) dislike my body. I could write a list as long as my arm about the things I’d change (lose weight!!1! Get lipo!!! Be taller!) but this has really made me think I should be more appreciative of what my body does for me. It protects me from illness, allows me to get out of bed every day, to walk, run and lift weights, and just doesn’t give up on me, even when I say some pretty savage things to it. I will never “LOVE” my body, but I think I have come closer to accepting what I’ve got and working on becoming the best version of myself. Lockdown has helped me put everything into perspective – I’m pretty gutted that I’ve put on weight since lockdown, BUT if the worst thing that happens to me in this period is that I put on a few lbs, life is really not that bad.
In a nutshell, I’m grateful that myself and my loved ones have got through this difficult time so far. I’m fully aware others haven’t been so lucky. So many have lost loved ones and had to face furlough and redundancy, but we all know we will see an end to this. It will take a while, and the world will be different. But I hope in the ‘new normal’ people will choose to value and keep the things that truly serve them in their lives.