Now that we’ve had a week or so of warmer weather, we’re all starting to believe that summer is here. In the worst-case scenario, it’s just around the corner! Either way, to be able to grill and sit out on the patio is a welcome relief after being inside for so long. Many of us have probably already had the first sunburn of the year and have been thinking about, or already working on, landscaping and outside projects again. I’m finding myself filled with gratitude for the warmer weather and the opportunity to shift my routine to one that has me outside a lot more. Maybe it’s difficult for you to share that perspective because of everything else that’s going on right now. And while that’s understandable, all that “everything else” that is going on is actually what makes gratitude even more important right now!
Most of us have spent the past several weeks doing some combination of worrying, arguing, budgeting, planning for an unknown future and feeling isolated. Many of those things were a natural extension of circumstances, and we share those experiences and emotions with many, many people. While that might have been the natural response, it has also primed us to see things in a negative light much more easily. We can tend to be suspicious or guarded in conversation because we don’t know the other person’s perspective on a certain aspect of our COVID-19 world. We can also tend toward having a shorter fuse because we’ve had the same conversation multiple times and have a very strong opinion about it. With all of that as the backdrop for each and every interaction, it’s easy to see how much more likely it will be for our conversations and general state of mind to be negative.
And that’s why I’m choosing to be almost over the top in my gratitude for the warmer weather and the change that it signals. Maybe the weather isn’t what sparks gratitude for you, and that’s okay. It could be that even though it’s been more exhausting to have your kids home all of the time, you’ve had the chance to spend a lot more time investing in and developing a stronger relationship with them. Maybe it’s that being at home so much more has inspired you to finish up some projects around the house or do some deep cleaning that you wouldn’t ordinarily have the time for. The point isn’t that we’re all grateful for the exact same thing, the important thing is that we all purposely choose to be grateful for something.
You may be tempted to think that I’m recommending gratitude as a method of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the lives and jobs that have been lost or the social and emotional toll that a long lockdown has taken on most people. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Choosing gratitude is not pretending that nothing is wrong; It’s finding joy and cherishing something that is worth celebration, even if other circumstances are far from ideal. And in a way that isn’t initially obvious, gratitude actually changes our perspective. When we practice choosing to be grateful, we will find that it’s easier to stay in a positive mindset, even when things go wrong. Being more positive in our daily lives will make a big impact on the way we view the world and interact with our families, which will help us win more often at home.