When the COVID-19 “lockdown” first began, I made it a goal to write down my gratitudes each night at bedtime. Between the disruption to my normal routine and the new challenges of daily life, I wanted to continue seeing the positives of each day. I did an admirable job sticking with this goal for the first two weeks. Each evening, I wrote down 5-10 things I was grateful for that day. Things were going well!
This last week is when I hit my personal wall. Maybe it was the seeing that COVID-19 cases were peaking in the country. Maybe it was realizing that I was barely halfway through my time in Quarantine and that I already had cabin fever. Maybe it was wondering where I was going to get a face mask to wear to the grocery store. It was probably a combination of all of these things leading me to general feelings of uncertainty and stress.
Last week, I also realized I had stopped writing my gratitudes each evening. Just like someone who breaks their New Year's resolution in the first week of February, I simply stopped making it a priority. When I realized this, I began to reflect on why gratitudes were important in the first place.
At camp, we share gratitudes and “grateful deeds” several times each week. For example, a common nightly ritual is asking each camper in a cabin to share what he or she is grateful for that day. Research has shown that people who create a habit of listing things they are grateful for become more optimistic and positive. We want to model this behavior at camp and encourage our campers to consciously and unconsciously “sort” for examples of things to be grateful for. As a result, they simply recognize more examples.
During these challenging times, I think it’s more important than ever to express gratitude for the things we are most thankful for, big or small. Abundant time with family. A beautiful sunset. HEB having plenty of toilet paper.
I’ve decided to hit my “reset button” this week. Despite the uncertainty, I will remain positive and continue moving forward. Writing my gratitudes each night will definitely be part of my plan.
Has your family expressed gratitudes this week? If so, we’d love to hear some of the things your children are grateful for!