By Donyl Leitch
I still recall scrubbing my front steps and looking up to the clouds in the bluest of skies as part of my chores growing up. I probably never spent one day being grateful for living in a house with my mom, aunts, uncle, cousins and grandparents. All of the sunshine, socialising and health I could ask for in childhood. Fast forward two decades later and gratitude is a must for daily life in Canada, and especially during our present times. There’s more than enough in the news, in our shared group chats, and some relationships that can be overwhelming. Words such as “pandemic,” “lockdown” and “social distancing” are commonplace and can be depressing for some. We were all brought to, and still are in, the place where we have to literally take it ‘one day at a time.’
What were we raised to do? Pray. Pray and take care of our families, help others when we are able to, and hope for the best. Ninety-two percent of studies about spirituality and mental health show that there’s a great connection between the two, with those who are praying being less likely to go through a depressive episode.
Besides hope, prayer helps to boost one’s confidence and increase social connectedness with likeminded individuals. Some of us are still adjusting to working from home in addition to inherent work-related stress. Each day we are expected at work, we show up; not only for ourselves but for our families. So now, more than ever we need to applaud ourselves for simply showing up because work is more than just work. It’s us trying to maintain some semblance of a schedule, a routine prior to March 2020 that truly makes sense for us. Sometimes work is the only time we are social during the day. It’s different depending on our individual circumstances.
An important part of attending to whatever religion you practice, to your work, and family is self-care. Whilst some may view this as self-centred, I like to use the safety procedure that all airlines employ during an emergency landing to explain self-care. “Please make sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.” We are of no use to others (or ourselves for that matter) if we are not capable of showing up at functioning level much less at a thriving level. Self-care could be using a mental health day, or an employee assistance program, or leaving work if you suddenly become ill. This applies to what goes on physically within us or the environment around us. Powering through until your shift ends or until Friday benefits the company in many ways and has zero benefits to your body.
We are all little vessels of our respective creators and it’s very difficult to move mountains when your energy is low. Simple things like watching our words, for e.g.: use “physical” as opposed to social distancing, help to change the story we absorb. Practicing gratitude as a way to focus on what we currently have and attract more of it to our lives. Getting enough rest, eating nutritionally dense meals, and being able to manage our stress are crucial to self-care and being our best selves. This process is not always smooth, but it is always an option to living better.
Each one of us is here doing our best to contribute to our families, our community and the economy. At the heart of families, communities and every nation are the individuals who take care of themselves because they know they are worthy.
Donyl Leitch is a Wellness Coach & Personal Trainer her website is http://www.wellonthemove.com/