3 good things: Why I've started writing down what I'm grateful for in lockdown
There's a lot to complain about.
But as it turns out, there's a lot to be grateful for too.
This past year has been tough for a myriad of reasons, not least the simple fact that much of life's joy, spontaneity, and general fun has all but been removed from us, replaced with restrictions, uncertainty, and going a solid three months without a hug.
But amidst all of the chaos and general crap-ness, there are still nice things happening. Things to recognise, and to be grateful for, no matter how small.
A phone call with a parent. A surprise letter in the post. A new bunch of fresh flowers. A particularly tasty Chinese takeaway.
A few months back, inspired by an Instagram post, I started writing down three good things that happened to me every day. Here's three reasons why.
1. To remind myself that not everything is pure shit
A lot of things are shit, but not everything.
The pandemic and the subsequent three (3) lockdowns that have come with it have largely made life an upsetting merry-go-round of going to work, finishing work, and not having very much else to do.
Weekends are fine, they're filled with walks and takeaways and spending time in my social bubble, but weekdays are a different beast. Weekdays mean getting out of bed to sit 30 centimetres from my bed and work for nine hours, before clocking off and then some hours later, getting back into bed. Weekdays mean a monotony that I have yet to get used to.
Between the boredom, the increasing case numbers, and the dreadful sense that this is going to be going on much longer than we anticipated, it's easy to slip into a mood - one plagued by frustration and negativity.
And although venting can be a great way of coping - and is absolutely necessary from time to time - it's also good to remind ourselves of the good things that are still happening every day, and to remember that even though things are shit, not everything is.
2. It adds some very much needed structure to my day
Back in normal times (not the new normal, just normal), I had a routine. I loved my routine. My routine chilled me out and gave me a purpose.
Now, I still have a routine, but it is comprised of very little worth mentioning. I get up, I go for a walk, I have breakfast, I go to work, I moisturise my face and neck area, I work some more, I get lunch, I do some yoga (maybe), I finish work, I eat, I go for another walk (probably,) I watch some telly, I sleep.
Somewhere in between watching TV and sleeping I write down three good things that happened to me that day. Lying in bed low key trying to psyche myself up for the following day, I cast my mind back to the previous 12 hours and pull three nice, positive events that occurred.
Sometimes it's difficult, sometimes it's easy. Sometimes one of my good things is that I ate a particularly cheesy toastie. It still counts. I am grateful for it.
3. To achieve some amount of mindfulness
As much as I am Very Into My Yoga, I am very much not into my meditation. I would love to be. I just am not.
Any time I have tried to meditate, my mind has drifted, gone elsewhere, brought up anxiety-ridden thoughts that I would rather not consider at this very moment. All of these elements are prime examples as to why someone like me should be practicing mindfulness, but meditation is just not for me.
Taking stock, however, is. I may not be able to sit with my thoughts, but I can become aware of them, write them down, and process them that way.
Hundreds of tiny, little things brighten our days every week. It's really not that hard to recognise just three of them a day. Try it, sure.