Finding Gratitude During COVID-19
By: Sarah Ballard
I went for a walk in the sunshine during a short break between classes and for the very first time this week, I had a HUGE spike of gratitude.
Today was sunny. Children were out on scooters with their parents while walking the dog and social distancing. There was a mom and her 2 kids who while waving at a neighbor on the other side of the road, cheerfully shouted: “hello from afar!”  At that very moment, I felt instantly grateful for the connection to my neighbors, their focus on their families, and I simply embraced the joy of the sunshine right then and there.
There is no doubt the impact of this pandemic has shifted our priorities, and our physical proximity and has increased our anxieties. During 10th grade Health Class today, Mrs. Hart and I encouraged the students to get outside. Nature can help sustain us — both physically and emotionally. We made the bold request that their next “break” be outside and away from their devices.
A few other tips from my mindfulness coach:
  1. Manage Information Intake. Notice what happens inside of you as you take in and share information. Ask yourself: Is this bringing my anxiety up? Or calming me down? Do I already know everything you need to know at this moment? Do I need a break?
  2. Keep Perspective. Use perspective and try to hold multiple truths – “both/and.” Under duress, the mind starts to narrow in and grasp onto one thing – this tunnel vision can actually feed the overwhelm. Try to find one good thing that is going well in the world around you, one thing you’re grateful for, a funny moment you remember, a delicious meal….something that is pleasant.
  3. Don’t Forget Kindness. Be kind to yourself and others. We don’t have to beat ourselves up for how we feel. We are having biologically appropriate reactions to an unusual situation. We know that this will not last forever, so while this is here, can we offer ourselves some kindness and tenderness as we would offer a child who is frightened?
These suggestions are from my Mindful Schools Teacher, Alan. You can find the full article here: https://www.mindfulschools.org/personal-practice/take-a-break-keep-perspective-be-kind-in-uncertain-times/