Counting My Blessings Amidst the Crisis
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The past 15 months have been stressful worldwide. While we assumed things would be in much better shape in 2021, the pandemic is far from over, significantly affecting lives and livelihoods.
In an environment that's hard to ignore elements of doom and gloom, does happiness stand a chance? That's a complicated question that could bring out different answers from us all.
As the coronavirus has obliged us to spend most of our days in the same surroundings with the same person (or people), figuring out new ways of working, living, and getting along with each other can get tedious.
More so, during challenging times the idea of cultivating happiness might seem trivial, irrelevant, or selfish. But it's more important than ever before. Whenever I find myself in the dumps, I take a step back and look for the smallest of things I'm most grateful for.
As I write this piece, I can say I have been fortunate in many corners of life. Here are a few of the simple things I am grateful for these days.
Spending Quality Time with My Spouse
My husband and I have a rule: every morning, we sit in our dining area with a steaming cup of tea and talk about everything and nothing. During this time, we don't look at our mobile phones or do any household chores. We talk. These chats make us feel happier and more positive.
Despite our hectic workdays, we make it a point to catch up for five to 10 minutes during breaks in the kitchen. The banter helps us better understand how our day is unfolding. We also get to see each other, which is priceless.
Working on weekends does look inviting, but it eats up the time you could potentially spend with your loved ones. We make it a point to have lazy weekends, to kick back and relax. We watch TV, cook special meals, and enjoy an occasional drink or two.
It's okay to feel depressed, unmotivated, and helpless during trying days. We're human. However, instead of mulling over the past or any current restrictions, my husband and I look forward. We talk about the future. This includes making plans to meet family, go on holiday, or make career changes. I appreciate this because it gives us a purpose and taps into the reserves of creativity and strength that may otherwise lie dormant.
Eating Food from my Favorite Restaurants
Going out for a meal is now a luxury. In many cases, it is impossible. With restaurants forced to close during lockdown, food delivery became a lifeline to ensure business continuity and keep hungry souls like me sane.
I consider eating good food, especially with family, as one of the greatest pleasures of life. Thankfully, the city I live in offers many good eateries in different cuisines, from sushi and lasagna to steaks and South Indian cuisine.
All restaurants in my area have been taking orders, and I thank them for delivering food whenever I don't have the time to prepare a meal from scratch or when my husband and I need general cheering up.
Showing Gratitude for External Support
While most of us have had the luxury to work from home, some people are still risking their health to carry out their daily work.
From the housekeeping staff, who keep our residential complex sanitized and clean, to the delivery people — all of them ensure that things run smoothly even when most of the world has come to a standstill.
We should appreciate their efforts at all times. But during this pandemic, I have started appreciating their role more than ever before.
Access to a Steady Supply of Groceries
When the world came to a screeching halt last March, I remember how the majority of us started panic-buying — stocking on frozen food, hand sanitizers, and toilet paper. It was complete mayhem.
I vaguely remember thinking how I didn't want to make trips to the supermarket and risk infection. As 2020 progressed, rapid grocery delivery services took off, which meant I could order groceries from the comfort of my home and have them delivered within a day.
Using a grocery app has made me a better planner and more aware of what I like to buy and at which quantities. I am so much more purposeful about what I purchase. Nothing makes me happier than a fully stocked fridge, and it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for grocery home deliveries.
Being Safeguarded in my Residential Area
Many apartment associations in my city have implemented tightened precautions to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. My residential complex has taken specific steps to curb the infection. For instance, our association has not yet opened clubhouses and gym facilities to the residents. For a while, they also didn't allow vendors inside the premises for deliveries. Wearing masks is compulsory while moving around the premises.
Recently, there was a vaccination drive organized for us. Even though the association has received flak from many residents for ensuring stringent compliance, they're trying their best to safeguard their residents, and I appreciate it.
Working with Brilliant Co-Workers
Remote working is not everyone's cup of tea. Sitting in front of the laptop day in and day out can be frustrating, exhausting, and anxiety-inducing. Combine that with a difficult or toxic team and you are bound for disaster.
Even though I love working from home, I steer clear of peers and clients who are insensitive and unempathetic. Fortunately, the majority of my work days are spent with people I genuinely love. They truly are my saving grace.
We have a great professional rapport and also bond well outside of office hours. We are a source of constant support for each other. I honestly do not mind stretching my working hours, although my manager strictly advises against that.
I also don't feel guilty when I am burned out and need to take a break. I am open and honest with my team, and I appreciate their thoughtfulness.
Video-Calls with my Family
The pandemic has physically separated many families. A life in seemingly endless lockdown, away from loved ones, can be emotionally distressing. But I am glad technology has taken on a new cultural significance in these uncertain times, with video-calling becoming the norm.
It is effective in saving us from feeling isolated. My family and I may not be sitting across from each other, but there's a face to look and smile at and talk to during video calls, which makes me happy.
In the past year, I have also spoken more with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even cousins. I have grabbed every opportunity to stay in touch, lend an ear, and crack a few jokes with the family. Every effort matters.
Given everyone is dealing with the pandemic differently, what is keeping you going?