I remember being a young girl at Sunday School and winning a prize in a competition to count your blessings. You simply had to write down every blessing you had. I took this very seriously and recall pages and pages of spidery letters spelling out what I was grateful for. I don’t remember the content but I know I went full on with everything I could think of! I guess this was my first experience of the concept of gratitude. Whether it’s a gratitude diary or simply taking time to think about what you are grateful for each day, it’s a powerful way to lift your mood and make you feel positive.

A year like no other is coming to a close. It’s been hard in so many ways – for everyone. Staying positive has certainly been a challenge. Rather than blog about the difficulties I’ve faced personally, I’m closing the year with a list of what I’m grateful for in 2020. Focusing on the good stuff really helps.

This year I’m grateful for:

My children’s attitude. They have astounded me this year. Their resilience, adaptability and conscientiousness. Although they seem to have taken it all in their stride I know it hasn’t been easy for them. I couldn’t be prouder of them. They haven’t complained once about all their cancelled events and other disappointments. And they looked after an allotment!

My wonderful husband. As an ICU consultant this has been the hardest of times for him. On his knees with exhaustion at times he has never stopped putting others before himself. We’re all so proud of him and grateful that he works with an amazing team who keep each other going.

My small but mighty work team. Having a team of people that pop up on your computer screen full of ideas, enthusiasm and positivity everyday has made 2020 so much easier. Yes, there have been huge challenges at 261 Fearless, as there have been for all companies, but the way the team has worked with creativity, determination and perseverance has been truly outstanding. What the team have achieved together this year is incredible and I’m so grateful to be part of it.

Running. I don’t need anyone to tell me how great running is because I know but this year has made me truly understand how lucky I am to have running in my life. It’s been a constant in a year of change. It’s kept me healthy both physically and mentally. The people I run with have given me so much support. Meeting for chatty runs when allowed and online running club were a lifeline to me (and to others) offering connection at a time of isolation.

My holiday. I didn’t write about this at the time but I am so incredibly blessed that we managed to get a last minute holiday in the summer. We thought long and hard about whether we should go and what the risks were. In hindsight it was a good move and so restorative, particularly for my husband. It really was an unexpected gift and we all savoured every single second.

Time and opportunities. Without school runs and ferrying kids to activities I gained a couple of hours each day. I knew this wouldn’t last forever so was determined to make the most of it. I’ve used the time to finish my next book, take on some new writing work and to learn more about myself. It’s been transformative. I’ve read some great self-help books and listened to podcasts that have helped me be more productive, focused in what I do and not feel afraid to aim high. I’ve also developed some new habits including online strength classes which will stay with me beyond all lock downs. I’m grateful for the time I was gifted and the new opportunities that have opened up when lots of things were shutting down.

I think I could go on and on and end up with a list like I presented at Sunday School! Even when you think there’s not much to be happy about there are always things you can be grateful for. It might be as simple as a warm bed or seeing the frost on the leaves. I already feel lifted in spirit through the process of writing this. 2020 on the surface has been rubbish but it has stripped life back to what really matters. It has taught me how important a positive outlook is, given me new skills and made me appreciate how much I have.

Thank you to all my readers and followers for your continued support during 2020. I truly appreciate you and am grateful for you. I wish you a very Happy Christmas.

What are you grateful for this year?

Featured image: Ylanite Koppens at Pixabay. Others: drjulietmcgrattan.com

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