PPL staff recently had a Zoom meeting in an effort to stay connected and get caught up with one another as we continue to work from home in various ways.  At the start of the meeting, each of us took turns sharing something we were thankful for since this situation began.  It was a small but impactful thing to do, and it stuck with me well after the meeting ended.

I listened to what others were thankful for, and agreed with all of them.  I offered my own thanks, and in a selfish feeling type of way, it felt good to express them. 

In an effort to encourage others (e.g. you, the reader) I thought I would express a few more things I am thankful for, and hope that you will do the same in your life.

I am thankful for the healthcare workers and front-line employees that continue to do their jobs each and every day to keep the rest of us safe, healthy, and afloat.  Without them this predicament would be so much worse.

I am thankful for services that are now more important than ever: electricity, water, cable, internet, cell signal.  Remove just one of those services and we all struggle far more than we have been.  Without those things to provide necessities and escapism we would all be going crazy, and I am extremely grateful and thankful that they not only exist, but have been reliably working this entire time.

I am thankful for physical media.  Books, DVDs, games, etc.  eBooks and other e-content serve a purpose just as well, but I have always been (and will always be) someone that appreciates having something physically in my hand.  Without a book to read during quarantine, or a DVD to pop in and press play on that allows me to tune the world out for however long, I would be in a true world of hurt mentally.  They are all forms of escapism and without escapism, I shudder at thinking what our collective mental states would look like.

I am thankful for restaurants continuing to work and serve customers.  Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy cooking!  But I admittedly reached a point where I cooked less and less before this all started.  Thanks to having to stay-at-home, I have been cooking a lot more often, and that joy has welcomely crept its way back into my heart.  Even with that, it is nice to still be able to open a cabinet, decide nothing looks or sounds good, and be able to run out and grab a quick meal somewhere.  Not to mention the break in monotony getting to “escape” into the real world for a few minutes provides!  The times that I have grabbed something from a place like McDonald’s and then driven to our beautiful Centennial Park and enjoyed a quick meal in the solace of my car have been a better pick-me-up than just about anything out there.  Plus it means I’m practicing social distancing at the same time, as I am alone in my car with nobody even remotely near me!

I am thankful for the beautiful spring weather we have been having – most days.  There have been a couple “off” days here and there – like when it recently snowed overnight and was back to being winter for a short while – but for the most part our days have been sunny and warm!  Thanks to those warm and sunny days I have been able to go for walks, or do simple things like sit outside in a lawn chair and enjoy a book.  I am an avid hiker, and the stay-at-home rule has removed my ability to travel overnight somewhere and hike my heart out for an entire day, so I have been “urban exploring” Plymouth instead.  In just three days over the course of a recent week, I covered 12 miles just by walking around town and through Centennial Park on the Greenway Trails.  Even with being tired after a walk, I have felt mentally and physically refreshed from doing so.  It is another form of escapism: I can stretch my legs, get the blood flowing, and enjoy getting caught up on podcasts with my headphones in as I exercise and better my health.

I am thankful for my friends and family.  Many people around the world are spending this quarantine alone, and are struggling.  Without the support of friends and family, who I can call, text, email, or Facetime, I’d be lost.  My friends and family mean the world to me and being able to stay in touch with them on a daily basis has been one of the most important things I have been doing this entire time.

I have many more things to be thankful for, and have found that if I take the time to express them daily – even just out loud to myself privately – it lifts my spirits.  

I urge you to give thanks and show gratitude in your lives as well, and know that it will lift your spirits just as it does mine.  You can do so privately, like if you pause and take a few minutes at home to express thanks out loud or internally, or you can do so publicly by telling the cashier at the grocery store “thank you so much for what you are doing.” 

You can give thanks to anyone, anywhere, for any reason.  Giving thanks is not just limited to the fourth Thursday in November! 

No matter where – or how – you give thanks and express gratitude, you’ll feel better.
And if you thank someone else for something, they will feel better as well.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and be thankful!

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