The year 2020 might go down as one of the craziest and most unpredictable years in our lifetime. Lives were locked down and normalcy was halted when Covid-19 swept through the country in March, and eight months later, we’re still hunkering down as cases rise once again.
Protests and a nail-biting election also have added to the stress, worry, and, for many, complete despair as a nation seemed to be flipped upside down.
When the news has you on edge, embrace goodness with a gratitude list that offers reasons to be thankful and grateful this year. Here’s our list of 10 reasons to be thankful, and we encourage you to write your own list!
1. Democracy & Freedom
No matter how you voted or for whom you voted, the right to vote is one that we cannot overlook. Voting is a privilege that doesn’t exist freely in many parts of the world. A democracy is a gift. If you voted this year, put that vote on your gratitude list. Win or lose, casting a vote is making your voice known.
2. Friends and Family
Feeling down and out? Make a list of the friends and family to whom you turn for comfort. Who listens? Who is always there? During the pandemic, many took the isolation as an opportunity to reach out to old friends or acquaintances with which they might have lost touch through the years. Even if you didn’t reach out, it’s never too late. Send an email, write a note or a card or call someone on your list.
3. Your Health
Now is an important time to be thankful for good health. If health issues didn’t affect family, friends, or you this year, be grateful. Take time, too, for self-care. Schedule routine physicals to stay on top of your health, set time aside for relaxation, and be mindful of your mental health, too. This year has been tough for many Americans because of layoffs, job losses, or other concerns.
4. Furry Friends
Shelters were cleared of most (if not all) of their furry friends as those who were sheltering in place were seeking a furry companion. Dogs (and cats!) don’t judge us, but they almost always offer an ear, a purr, a wag or a cuddle. Appreciate the furry friends in your life!
5. Food Abundance
Can you buy groceries for you or your family without worry of a financial impact? Be thankful! Buying food and necessities seems like such a small piece of life, but, for many who have seen their financials cut drastically, being able to buy food and clothing without worry is a gift. Those who might have never thought they would rely on food banks suddenly found themselves standing in line for necessities as layoffs, job losses or other financial hardships left their bank accounts devastated during the pandemic. When you’re out shopping, placing items in your cart without care, think about those who can’t fill their carts and who may be hungry as a result. Be thankful.
A roof over your head is a need, not a want. We all need somewhere safe to sleep, protect us from the elements, keep us warm (or cool) and that gives us a place to eat and care for our other needs. Owning a home is a luxury for many people, and it might even be a lifelong goal. If you own your home, add it to your gratitude list.
7. Little Luxuries
Streaming services, cable television, digital tablets, game consoles…these are all little luxuries that make our lives more enjoyable. Don’t take all those little splurges and luxuries for granted. Be thankful for sitting in bed chilling out to a favorite movie, listening to music, playing a video game or even just surfing the internet on your tablet.
8. Clean Water
Every day, most of us turn on our faucets to brush our teeth and wash our hands. We run hot water for a morning shower, fill our washing machines with even more water, and then start our dishwasher to clean last night’s dinner dishes. We may never really question the safety of the water from our taps or think about our water use…until the flow affects our monthly bills. USAID reports that women in developing countries will travel an average of six kilometers (3.5 miles) a day to find and carry water home. In contrast, we simply have to walk to our kitchens or bathrooms and turn on the faucet. Be thankful.
Sometimes the clock seems to be our worst enemy. There’s so much to do, so little time. Every minute, though, is precious. Step back and understand that time—and what we do with it—can change the course of our day and maybe our lives. Be thankful for that ticking second hand, set goals, and embrace every minute of the day…or, at least, try to embrace it. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes challenges make it harder. But time really is precious.
Is laughter the best medicine? Perhaps. Laughing helps relieve stress and may even help boost your immune system. Cue up your favorite comedian, read a joke book or watch silly videos on the internet. Be thankful for the funny!
Your list likely extends beyond this list of 10 gratifying gifts. Before you dig into your Thanksgiving feast this year, make a list of everything in life that makes you thankful! As you write everything down, you will realize all the bounties of your life.