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Since becoming a parent, I’ve been putting gratitude into practice as part of my mental health and self-care. After the pandemic started, I have found that the practice of gratitude has helped immensely. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to look for the silver lining in everything, especially the small things. What a lot of my colleagues are feeling right now is a sense of uncertainty as live theatre is literally on hold for who knows how long. Many friends of mine have moved back to their home towns from New York because their entire livelihoods have been upended. I share in that uncertainty because who knows what state the industry will be in by the time I choose to return?
Practicing gratitude daily does wonders for your mental health. I used to keep a journal detailing 3 things I was thankful for each day, and I might pick that back up again. But to be frank, I am constantly looking for things to be thankful for that writing it down isn’t always necessary.
Thanksgiving this year feels particularly like a kick in the gut after the year we have had. Things look grim, at least for the next little while. Here is a list of things to be grateful for in case you’re looking for a little light. There is always something to be thankful for.
- Coffee – Such comfort and joy and energy rolled into one delightful beverage. I love my coffee black, or with heavy cream and sugar. The heavier the better, heeyyy.
- Warm Weather – Growing up in Southern California, I took warm weather for granted. Here in New York, in MF’ing November, I kick myself for not appreciating it as much as I should have.
- Netflix – Lifesaving during lockdown, amirite? Plus I can stream Schitt’s Creek over and over and over…
- Children – The loves of my life, my entire heart. They say you lose yourself after having children, but I honestly cannot tell you who I was before they came into my life. So maybe that’s who was lost. Finding myself again has been an incredible journey.
- Your Pets – My dog, my littlest friend and the best big brother my daughters could ever ask for.
- Good lotion – All this handwashing has made me appreciate the value in a good quality lotion or hand cream.
- CHOCOLATE – Next to coffee…or sometimes above it…if anything can lift my mood, it’s high quality chocolate.
- Tacos – Is there anything better than a really good taco? Even fast food tacos are delicious, I’m looking at you Taco Bell, Los Doritos yum yum.
- Finding money on the floor – One time a fifty dollar bill blew over my foot and I am still chasing that high. Trust me, I’m not looking at the floor because I’m suffering from low self-esteem. THERE’S MONEY DOWN THERE!!!
- A good snowfall – The best part about a snowfall is the pure silence that comes with it. It is a silence you can hear even when the TV is blaring.
- French Fries – Salty, greasy, hot and crispy…and my new thing is garlic aioli…dip dip dip yum!
- Taking Walks – Especially in spring or late summer leading into fall. Family walks are one of my favorite things.
- Friends – Even when they stop by to talk to you through the glass door for a few minutes. It’s just so nice to see FACES of people you know and love these days.
- Flowers – I used to call them “nature’s paintbrushes” in middle school.
- Days Off – Stay-at-home parents don’t get a day off, but on the rare chance we do, my God it is golden. SLEEP ALL DAY. Move slowly. Get drunk on silence. SILENCCCEEE…
- Health – Having had a few health scares over the past few years, good health is something I don’t take for granted.
- Colleagues – Supportive colleagues, who understand and raise you up even when you’re not working. The ones who believe in your return to the spotlight even more than you do. I have mine, and I am so grateful for them.
- Electricity – Can’t blog, can’t cook, can’t see, can’t watch TV without electricity!! We live in a place where power outages are common in bad weather and I have never appreciated electricity more in my entire life.
- Life – To be alive is a wondrous thing, a literal miracle. If the little sperm to the left swam a little faster, you wouldn’t be here.
- Slanket – I got my Slanket as a thank you gift after working crew for Power Balladz in NYC 10 years ago. It is amazing. It’s HUGE. I can blog and stay warm and watch TV. It’s such a great gift idea, too. Trust me, get one!
- Family Time – If there’s one thing to be thankful for during these days of Covid19, it’s more family time. My husband doesn’t have to commute more than 20 feet nowadays and we get more time in the evenings to spend with each other.
- Sense of smell – The smell of frying garlic, frying bacon, rain, roses…baby breath, baby toes…not baby diapers tho, but you get it.
- Work – As an actor, work is sacred. Right now, work is gone for a lot of my friends. What work they can get is cherished. If you get work, relish it. Brag on it. If you can’t get work, make work, if you can. It’s survival time. Don’t feel guilty for not writing King Lear or discovering radium or whatever.
- Cookies – Buying them, eating them, baking them. We have a healthy supply of cookies ALWAYS. And baking with your kids is just as joyful as I always dreamed it would be. CLEANING UP STILL SUCKS THO.
- Rain – I spent my formative years growing up in a perpetual Southern California drought. I am always thankful for rain, even now. Even when we are stuck inside. I’m always thinking, “Thank God it’s raining.”
- Filipino Food – I live 3000 miles away from my family, and at least 90 minutes from any decent Filipino food that I’m aware of. I make it as often as I can but I want a home cooked Filipino meal that I didn’t have to cook.
- Body pillow – Listen, as a former pregnant woman, there is nothing more luxurious than a good body pillow. Except maybe for the Slanket lol.
- Mom Friends – Who else can I complain to when my kids are being dicks? Who else can I turn to when I need parenting advice? Who else can I turn to when I need recommendations? It is a precious tribe that I hold dear.
- Hugs – Once this pandemic is over I’m gonna hug every GD one of you. So. Hard.
- Home – Before Covid19 hit, my husband and I closed on a house that was twice as big as our old place. I don’t know what we would have done if Covid hit before we found our house. People are buying homes sight unseen now, just to get out of the city. We were so lucky and so incredibly grateful for our home. It has just enough space for our family, it is all we need.
- Education – “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
- Kindness – In a world where an act of kindness is more often seen as offensive by some people (but HOW tho??), a truly kind act is something to never take for granted.
- Hope – Without hope, what is there? Hope keeps us going.
- Memories – Good times, bad times, all part of our own personal patchwork. Lessons learned, joy and sandness, highs and lows…make us the person we are today.
- Laughter – I remember the first time I laughed so hard I cried. I think either myself or my brother were covered in stickers. Then there was the time I made my brother laugh so hard he threw up all over my bed. THANKS BRO.
- Wood Floors – I HATE CARPET. We moved to a home with wood floors last year and my spirit is so relieved.
- Movie Musicals – Because Broadway is shut down, the next best thing is the movie musical. My personal hiatus is complicated, so there are certain shows I won’t watch, but I did watch The Producers recently and it tugged at that musical doorway to my heart, just a bit.
- Hobbies – What would this pandemic be without our hobbies? This blog and my Etsy shop have been keeping me sane.
- A Luxurious Robe – I have a gigantic terry cloth robe so after every shower I am cloaked from head to foot in royal purple, heeyyy.
- Color – Fall in the northeast is so beautiful. Growing up in California, I never understood how or why some people get so horny for fall, but now I do. THE FALL FOLIAGE IS GORGEOUS.
- Music – I used to work in a karaoke bar so I haven’t listened to music in over 8 years. But once in awhile I’ll visit my iTunes playlists and remind myself how much I love music by listening to some old favorites like Vienna Teng, A Fine Frenzy, Sara Bareilles, and Marie Digby.
- Setbacks – The lessons learned during a setback are often more valuable than anything a formal class can teach you. Pay attention and embrace them.
- Theatre Artists – Theatre artists are some of the most resilient people I know. They inspire me daily.
- Creativity – They say necessity breeds creativity, and boy have we as a society learned to be creative this year.
- Art – It is how we are able to communicate our deepest feelings.
- Parks and Rec – I either watched or listened to this show almost every day for 5 years since my eldest daughter was born. This show helped me stay awake during middle of the night nursing sessions and was literally the best anti-anxiety medication I could ever ask for.
- Books – One day I will have time to read again! Or maybe I just want a Kindle, lol.
- Passion – The one thing that ignites you, that connects you to others and the world. For me, it’s singing and art. Not necessarily musical theatre. One day I’ll find my voice again.
- Teachers – God bless my daughter’s teachers. They work so hard at coming up with creative ways to engage the kids virtually, making teaching videos that keep their attention and most importantly, caring about the quality of education she receives. PAY TEACHERS MORE.
- Resilience – If there’s anything that our children can teach us, it is resilience. COVID has turned our world upside down and who do I look to for inspiration? My children. They take the hard knocks the world has given us, and roll with the punches. They wear their masks with little complaint. They understand as best they can that right now, the world is sick. We need to stay safe. We need to take care of each other. And they do it all with joy, laughter and patience. The day we can take a walk and see our friends’ faces will be glorious, indeed.
What are you thankful for this year?
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