Starting in November, we enter our holiday season that is typically filled with gratitude for family, friends, and the year we just experienced. We are often looking forward to time off from work and getting to travel and celebrate. For most, moods are lifted and maybe there’s some extra pep in your step. This is a natural reaction as research shows that gratitude is associated with better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction. Studies even suggest that grateful people may be healthier and adopt healthier habits. This all means that grateful people experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better and even have stronger immune systems.
Sounds wonderful right? But what happens to gratitude during a pandemic, even more during the holiday season of a pandemic?
The pandemic has profoundly limited the scope of many lives. It’s cut many of us off from variety. It means our home-cooking, day after day, instead of restaurants or dinner with friends. It means being alone in our apartments—or seeing the same people every day and not meeting new ones. While there might be a lot of wonderful things in our homes, at a certain point, the repetition makes it difficult for us to see this. As humans, we experience what is called the “hedonic adaptation” which means we tend to take the good things for granted, and when we are stuck in the repetition, groundhog-day nature of a pandemic this is only exacerbated.
So what can we do to fight off this basic human nature in such a trying time?
Below is a list of ideas to help you practice gratitude over the 2020 holiday season.
Gratitude for yourself
- Be thankful to yourself instead of criticizing yourself.
- Be more mindful of the things around you while outside.
- Connect to your hobbies and interests on a daily basis.
- Every night, write down your accomplishments to remind yourself of what you have done.
Gratitude for others
- Thank people for their service.
- Donate to a charity or organization that you are grateful for having in the community and do it in honor of someone you know who it is helping.
- Instead of sending out holiday cards, write a personal letter of thanks to those you are grateful for and send them through snail mail.
- Purchase thoughtful/personal gifts for those you are grateful for that remind you and them of your time together.I know this can be difficult, and there may be lots of questions around finding gratitude. If you need assistance or more guidance please reach out to us, we would love to help you on your journey. Happy Holidays!