After months and months of being poorly on and off, large bouts of time spent in bed and isolated at home, and feeling challenged daily both mentally and physically, I finally started to emerge a few weeks ago feeling stronger, fitter and healthier than I had in a good, long time. And then Corona hit.

With a compromised immune system and respiratory problems, as well as parents in their late 80’s, I need to be careful. After much dialogue, reading, listening to far too much news, not to mention that ever-present over-analytical voice in my head, here I am in self-isolation – as are my parents! And surprisingly, some may say, yet fortuitously I say, I feel happy and strong. Why, I have asked myself? Well there are many reasons, but at the forefront of my mind is the gratitude for the position I find myself in. For now. And the present moment is what I am focusing on.

I’ve asked myself why I feel so calm and content right now. And I think it’s to do with that key word we love at the Happynesshub – ‘gratitude’. I have been reflecting on this these past days and have concluded, that despite this globally devastating situation we find ourselves in, there is still plenty I can be grateful for. In the spirit of practising gratitude, which has been known to positively impact mental health, I put my thoughts into a list which you can see below:

  • I am well and heathy. As are my loved ones. I speak to them daily, and checking in with them, knowing they’re safe (albeit virtually), is comforting and reassuring.
    • Thought: How can we help those who are isolated, those who are alone, those who are vulnerable, those who are suffering?
  • I’m learning about, and embracing new technology . The current situation has pushed me out of my comfort zone to really utilise the latest online resources available at my fingertips – ones that allow me to continue to work and build my company remotely.
    • Thought: How can we help those who do not have online access or computers and smartphones?
  • I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and finances to pay for it. 
    • Thought: How can we help those who do not have adequate housing, those without food on the table, those who are out of work and struggling to pay the bills?
  • I have a brand new routine in my life. Now my health is better, I can introduce daily breathing, meditation and gentle stretches. I can eat well. I can walk Archie in the woods. I now go to bed at a similar time each night. This routine works for me, and I notice it helping. 
    • Thought: How can we help others to create structure and meaning to their day?
  • I am slowing down and have more balance. I have more time. 3 hours commuting is now filled with other positive activities. I am pondering on learning new hobbies (I have always wanted to play the piano!).
    • Thought: What can we share with others to support them in keeping mind and body active and up-keeping their interests?
  • Strangely, I am watching less TV (perhaps because I am more mobile, and feel encouraged to embrace new learnings?). I have stopped flicking through the news ALL day EVERY day, and have now cut out the hearsay and reverted to a single daily check in, which tends to be the PM’s briefing.
    • Thought: How can we make sure that only the correct information on the situation is circulated?

As you can see from my gratitude list Hubbers, whilst I am so thankful for a variety of things right now in my life, my gratitude has expanded and consumed a place in my head and heart where actually, I want to use my privilege to spread some of that good fortune to others as best I can!

I feel kindness is abounding and society is already changing, in some ways fortuitously for the better. And so, in these uncertain and stressful times, I hope those of you who are able may join me in not only making the most of the situation, but keeping an eye out for those who need help. As the author Gladys Taber famously said:

“Being a good neighbour is an art which makes life richer.”