Reasons to be cheerful

by Jennifer Flower – Mar 30, 2020

In these uncertain times, feeling positive is challenging. We are bombarded with a constant negative stream of information and it might feel like there is little reason for hope and optimism, but here are some positives I’d like to share.

Appreciating the everyday

Like every other law-abiding citizen, I miss my freedom. Never again will I take for granted the fact that we live in country where we are free to move around as we like. And there are hundreds of other, smaller things that I already have a new-found appreciation for: working out at the gym, going on a date, visiting a museum and spending a sunny afternoon in a beer garden… they all now feel like precious activities that I previously wouldn’t have given a second thought to. When this is over, I’d like to think we will all be a lot more grateful for the everyday things in life, including being able to buy toilet roll easily.

Time

We now find ourselves with so much more time on our hands (and quite frankly the less time spent on the Northern line the better). This means more time to enjoy our favourite (indoor) hobbies and even take up new ones. Whether that be reading, baking, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument (the list goes on), investing time in ourselves can be really good for our mental health and it’s never been a more important moment to prioritise our wellbeing.

The planet

So, not being able to move around is horrible, but the reduction in travel and other human activity is having a hugely positive impact on the planet. Air pollution is falling as Coronavirus slows down industry and halts travel. Fish are now visible in the once murky waters of the Venetian canals and even the ozone is repairing itself. It shouldn’t have taken this to make us realise what we’ve been doing to our planet but hopefully this very real and stark reminder will mean we will start to think much more considerately about our environment. I like to think this crisis will make the world a greener place forever.

Technology

Not seeing my friends and family is tough, really tough. Popping to a friend’s house for a cuppa or meeting the gals for a glass of wine after work is now not a thing. But hooray for the internet! Now I can Zoom/Houseparty/Facetime with all my family at once, we can play games virtually (and still argue) and it’s almost like being in the room with them. And those Friday night drinks are still a thing – just in much more comfortable clothing for now.

In the same way, working from home felt like a daunting prospect just two weeks ago. But again, the fact that there are so many great ways to communicate has made the transition relatively seamless. I can now video call someone in less time than it took me to walk across the office. And the creativity and insight from the teams aren’t lost – it’s just expressed through different channels. Necessity is the mother of invention and invention is a good thing.

Communities coming together

There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to remind you that people are actually pretty amazing. Witnessing my whole neighbourhood stand on their doorsteps last week to show appreciation for the NHS staff was spectacular and emotional, as were all the videos I had to wade through (!) in my newsfeed of the whole country doing the same.

In the same way, I’ve been humbled to receive a number of notes through my front door from people offering support to anyone vulnerable or self-isolating with help getting supplies or even just someone to talk to. From group singalongs on balconies, to kids helping the elderly there are so many heart-warming stories out there about people coming together.

Overall, I am feeling a sense of gratitude I was previously unaware of. Gratitude is an extremely potent emotion and I believe it is important for us all to try and remain as upbeat and optimistic as we can. These are trying times, but amid all the doom and gloom there are also positive stories, messages and reasons to keep on smiling.

Published Mar 30, 2020

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