Elena Conlon – an expat mother of 2 boys, management consultant on maternity leave and psychology student – on how making a list of good things we can draw out of the difficult situation can help us to stay positive and grateful for what we have 

Good things we can draw out of the coronavirus situation

More and more days are passing since the coronavirus pandemic and the home quarantine began. And I can say honestly – it is more difficult to stay positive and full of energy than at the beginning of it. There have been days that I felt anxious and exhausted and some of which I was grateful to this quarantine for.

I try to remind myself that it is through a crisis that we evolve and improve, even though it comes with pain and discomfort. To support myself with positive thinking, I have started my own list of things and observations which I can draw out of this situation (I even posted it on FB and some other parents commented too). I try to update it daily and add something at the end of the day.

Here is my list of positive things, changes, observations from recent weeks:

  1. My family is with me, I am not alone in this and I can always come and hug them when I need it.
  2. I feel grateful for them being safe and healthy.
  3. My husband appreciates now how difficult and isolating it could be for a stay-at-home mother. It was one of the touching moments for me when we admitted how difficult it is for him to work from home. I got the full empathy I was longing for.
  4. My children (4 and 2) are bonding and playing together better. Before, they were separated by a preschool and had less quality time together.
  5. I’ve called my grandmother more often in the last month. I am so happy I can still talk to her.
  1. While trying to stay healthy and fit, I became more aware of my dietary habits. My goal is to finish this quarantine healthier and slimmer than when it started. Whether the 21-day myth on new habits works or not, new neurological paths have been paved.
  2. I noticed vividly how positively my body reacts to exercise and meditation. Now in the lockdown, when movements are so limited, it became somehow precious to be able to work out. I suggest a challenge of a 15-20 min workout / dance / yoga session every second day. Join me
  3. We are doing yoga with kids. A lovely practice to finish the day. It’s far from perfect but they are getting the idea and trying to copy us. Candles and aroma lamps make us all more relaxed.
  1. I buy less food and plan our meals better.
  2. I don’t buy clothes and happily combine the things I have now. Although I don’t guarantee that I won’t buy 37 dresses after the quarantine is over. Well, at least 3
  3. I also promised myself not to buy any more face creams or masks until I use the ones I have (watch this to understand what I mean).
  1. My home is my castle. It is our shield now.
  2. I’ve realized how grateful I am for each single square meter I can use, for the green grass in our garden, for the balcony. My older son and I are doing a project together of making our balcony cosy and warm. I washed the floor, he washed the railings. I was cleaning and had this feeling of love and gratitude for having a few extra meters of space that we could use together. We plan to plant strawberries there too.
Boundaries and having clarity
  1. As a family we came up with a schedule, so it is easier for us to manage our work, kids’ study and play time. It is a guide for us, not a strict rule. Real-life circumstances make amends to our plans, but having a structure helps.
Things that make me happy
  1. Singing.
  2. Dancing.
  3. Listening to music.
  4. Painting expressive pictures with my bare fingers and no brush.
  5. Laying in the sun.
  6. Playing board games.
  7. Doing puzzles.
  8. Taking a bubble bath.
  1. The air becomes more clear.
  2. Fewer cars in the streets and fumes.
  3. The weather seems to be on our side and presents us with mostly sunny days.

I remind myself that life goes on. It does not deny the fact that it is scary, hard and uncertain. It does not deny someone’s pain from loss, economic damage, healthcare crisis etc. But I figured that the best I can do now is to take care of my mental and physical health, support my loved ones in doing the same, help others in the best way that I can and pray for this to end soon.

The above are my thoughts, observations and reflections. It helps me to stay positive and grateful for what I have. Maybe you would like to make your own list? By yourself or together with your kids?

About the Author

Elena Conlon – expat, living in Warsaw for 5 years. Mother of two, management consultant on maternity leave. Student at the University of Glasgow, Psychology MSc.

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