Finding and Cultivating Gratitude During a Pandemic
Being grateful in 2020 may seem unnecessary or simply feel out of reach. After all, the year is epitomized by a pandemic and a corresponding diminishing of physical and mental health, coupled with political division and civil unrest. For many, 2020 has been one of the most trying of years, if not the most difficult.
The Thanksgiving holiday is the catalyst for this article. This year many have cancelled their traditional family gathering or have a smaller number of family and friends congregating. In a typical year - if your family is anything like mine - we gather, watch football, share in each other’s warmth and joviality, and reflect on what we are grateful for. This year is atypical.
The challenges brought by this year are precisely why it is vital to reflect on what we are grateful for. Engaging in self-reflection and cultivating gratitude sharpens our resiliency and aids in the tried-and-true tactic of putting one foot in front of the other. Accordingly, it is important to proactively seek out what we are grateful for. In so doing, one may uncover more rewards and benefits than meets the eye, which in turn promotes positivity and a sense of fulfillment, which is seemingly needed now more than ever.
It is easy to lose sight of what matters as we wake, hopefully work, rest, and repeat. The doldrums of routine are heightened in a pandemic, and those of us with our main grievance being that we are guest starring in the movie Groundhog Day are relatively fortunate. There are many among us who have seen their lives entirely uprooted. My deepest sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones during these times, those who cannot visit and hug their vulnerable family members, and for all those who have faced significant financial burden.
Cultivating gratitude takes self-reflection and a proactive approach. Look in the mirror. What are you thankful for? For many, the answer, in whole or in part, is our loved ones.
This holiday season I encourage you to reach out to that friend and relive those shared experiences and adventures that are etched in your memory; listen to a parent, grandparent, or grandchild—and fully listen—about topics such as their favorite memories growing up, or their favorite video game. Ask follow-up questions based on the responses you receive without needing to rush off to the grocery store or attend a telephonic meeting. Take the time to listen. If you are anything like me, you will be glad you did.
I am thankful for the continual support of my family and friends, for my health, and for all of my clients that I am fortunate to serve. I do not take any of this for granted, but I do not reflect as much as I should on how lucky I truly am. There are so many things I am thankful for, but at times take for granted - clean water, food, a functioning automobile, shelter, and clothing. Many others do not have all or some of these so-called “basic” necessities. We have a moral and ethical obligation to lift others up, and we cannot fulfill this mission if we are not thankful for all that we have.
I wish you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday. To whoever is on your mind this holiday season, whether it be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone that just may need someone to listen, please reach out. If they are anything like me, they will be grateful you did.
About the Author: Nathan M. Gallinat is an insurance law and construction defect litigation attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He primarily assists clients in the defense of complex multi-party construction related litigation.