Thanksgiving this year will undoubtedly be a bit different from years past. Quarantines and lockdowns will interfere with many holiday festivities. Likewise, experts advising against travel and crowded grocery stores will be enough for most of us to stay home. Without the opportunity to enjoy large gatherings of friends and family to offer thanks, things just won’t be the same. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t have many things to be thankful for. Even amidst the challenges 2020 has brought, there are still a number of things for which we can express gratitude.
Naturally, everyone has their own unique struggles and challenges. Some are being affected by COVID hardships than others. But this time of year offers a chance to reflect and think about the positive things in our life. Though Thanksgiving this year is different, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t express thanks for the good things in our lives. Rather than dwell on what we’re missing, consider what new opportunities this unusual year has introduced. With this in mind, these are many things to be thankful for in 2020. The following are just a few you might consider as you celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday.
- Your Family – Perhaps, this is not one of those things to be thankful for that is much different than normal. But with lockdowns, many of us have spent more time with our closest family members. In the process, we have become even closer and can appreciate them even more. This is especially true during a pandemic. Therefore, Thanksgiving this year should definitely include some special thoughts about those you love the most.
- Communication Technologies – Of course, not everyone in your family lives in your household. Many live far away, and in the absence of travel, the opportunities to visit one another has been reduced. For this reason, one of the things to be thankful for is advances in communication technologies. Not only has Zoom, Windows Teams, and other platforms allowed us to visit each other virtually. They have also enabled telemedicine, remote work, and virtual happy hours!
- Close Friends – Even if you’ve leaned on your friends via social media and the Internet, they’ve likely been a godsend this year. Being able to express your frustrations, worries, and struggles with someone you trust is a valuable thing. Thus, Thanksgiving this year should certainly honor those true friends in whom you confide the most. These are things to be thankful for all the time, but especially in 2020.
- Healthcare Workers – Thanksgiving this year should definitely include gratitude for all those involved in healthcare. Their world has been turned upside down like the rest of us. But they have been on the front lines and had to place themselves at risk repeatedly. For COVID-19 testers to physicians and nurses, these brave individuals deserve our utmost thanks and appreciation.
- Self-Exploration Opportunities – With many restaurants, gyms and pubs closed much of the year, all of us have had more time on our hands. This time has allowed many of us to become more self-reflective and to reassess our own priorities. Likewise, many have explored self-improvement through new hobbies and skills. In normal times, life is often to hectic to indulge in these types of activities. But this hasn’t been the case this year. This extra time for self-exploration might be one of most unique things to be thankful for in 2020.
- The Beauty of Nature – In addition to self-exploration, many of us have explored nature once again in 2020. The open, fresh air not only offered a safe activity, but it also was liberating. Nature provided an escape from the house and an opportunity to stretch your legs. And in the process, you may have realized just how beautiful the outdoors can be. The opportunity to come to this realization again might also be something to consider during Thanksgiving this year.
- Resilience and a Capacity to Change – No matter your situation, this past year has been filled with struggles. Some became acutely ill, some unemployed, and some had other challenges as a result of COVID. Regardless, this year has taught all of us that we have an incredible capacity for resilience and change. This is certainly one of the things to be thankful for this year. It is this aspect of the human spirit that lets us know we will persevere and see better times.
- Skipping That Commute – For millions who are now working from home, it’s great to skip rush hour commutes every day. There may be some difficulties adjusting to your work-at-home life, but skipping the traffic isn’t one of them. Though it’s a small thing, this is one of the things to be thankful for, especially for the long commuters.
- Our Furry Friends – Not only have we gotten to know our family members better, but we’ve also become more attached to our pets. They might have been confused at first when we all began spending so much time at home. But they soon realized they would be receiving much more attention. And in the process, we enjoyed them being around too. Thus, Thanksgiving this year should recognize our pets and be happy they can’t get COVID as well.
- Life’s Basic Essentials – Finally, Thanksgiving this year should recognize just how important life’s basic necessities and pleasures are. The pandemic has taught us that nothing can be taken for granted, including our health. Having a place to live, an income, and loving support can be added to that list. More than anything, these are the things to be thankful for in 2020 if we’re lucky enough to have them.
Gratitude Is Good for the Soul
When we invite gratitude into our life, we broaden our perspective of what matters most. Rather than focusing on what we’ve lost, we appreciate what we do have. This, in turn, allows us to be humble and empathize with others and their situations. Though 2020 is unquestionably a very challenging year, there’s still plenty of things to be thankful for. Yes, Thanksgiving this year will be different. But the spirit of Thanksgiving can certainly be the same.
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