“Gratitude is a daily ritual:” Greater Clevelanders reflect on the silver linings of the COVID pandemic after 2 years

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The COVID-19 pandemic brought our normal lives to a halt two years ago, but in some ways it has made many of our lives better.

We have found a silver lining in months of isolation and uncertainty. We learned how to bake sourdough bread, exercised more and embraced nature. We’ve found ways to use technology for everything from music lessons to family gatherings.

Best of all, we reconnected with ourselves and our loved ones.

“I swear I’ll never be as busy as I was before the pandemic, and most people I’m close to make the same vow,” said one of the many responders on cleveland.com, calling out on the second anniversary of zum Reflections on COVID-19 approached before Wednesday.

Below is a selection from readers who shared how the pandemic gave them the space and time to make positive life changes – new habits they would like to keep. Many people spoke of newly gained quality time with their families or those around them.

“I’ve learned to slow down and spend more time with my immediate family,” one reader wrote. “I also let my hair go gray. It’s so liberating. Speaking of liberating, not wearing makeup or bras keeps life simple!”

The comments were solicited by the cleveland.com‘s free From the Editor Subtext Account, a platform where readers receive text messages from Editor Chris Quinn on newsroom topics and articles reporters are working on. Sign up here.

Here’s what they said:

Adopt healthier habits and mindfulness

“When you’re going through these challenging times, it’s easy to get bogged down in how awful life is. Instead, I focused on everything I have to be thankful for. There is abundance. Gratitude helps me be humble and caring for others, another thing I can be thankful for.”

“I had five credit cards with large balances. After the first year in lockdown I paid them all off (there was nowhere to go). You will now be paid monthly if there is a balance.”

“I’m trying to live a simpler, less expensive life by trying to become more self-sufficient and appreciating the effort it takes to produce something. Gratitude has become a daily ritual because I’ve found that taking the time to reflect on the things I’m grateful for allows me to see positively situations that I would have previously viewed as negative.”

“Enjoy the time with your loved ones more than ever! I think grateful thoughts daily and have embraced the mantra, “We can do hard things.” ”

“I gave up alcohol to cut down on empty calories. Feel good and save money!”

“Working from home! No traffic, no wardrobe problems, no looking or listening to people who irritate me. Great for blood pressure! It has improved my work-life balance drastically.”

Take up old and new hobbies

“Being home for the past two years and being freshly retired before the pandemic has given me time to explore cooking for my allergies/autoimmune issues. I have bought small devices that have been fun to use with excellent results. I plan on continuing this as it has helped me feel so much better without gaining weight.

“A group of women living in Huron learned to play mahjong during the pandemic. We love the game and will continue to play. Also, our yoga teacher did a great job of teaching us zoom yoga. We have nurtured and expanded our friendships despite the difficult times we have been struggling with.”

“Cultivate more flowers and plants outdoors so we can enjoy it at home.”

“Capturing, neutering and releasing feral cats. We have six, three more coming over and we feed them and house them in tupperware with straw in our garage during the winter. A starving little cat that we just picked up and took to the vet. She lives inside with us now with another stray, our first cats ever.”

“Spontaneous BYO cocktails in the driveway with my neighbors, experimenting more with recipes at home, rummy with my husband and puzzles!”

“During the pandemic, I wasted days watching TV. I stopped looking in the morning and started reading a book. Today I am still free of TV in the mornings.”

“I took art classes and renewed my interest in watercolor painting.”

“I practiced a bit of mixology during the period when restaurants and bars were closed. No one went out and it was fun learning about and making different cocktails.”

embrace technology

“The biggest improvement in my life due to the pandemic has been Zoom! My family members are everywhere and we might see each other once or twice a year and not all at the same time. Now every Saturday at 2 p.m. whoever is available meets me and we share our stories from the past week. Of all my projects from the pandemic, this is by far the best and we have decided to get together this way indefinitely!!”

“I enjoy FaceTiming with my grandchildren. Although I see them more often now, they still see me a lot and I love it. I always know what’s going on with them.”

have time to exercise

“More exercise, especially walking and hiking outdoors, even in winter. Will definitely continue in (the Cleveland) metro parks and (Cuyahoga Valley National Park).”

“I took an online exercise class called GetFitGetOnline and lost 15 pounds.”

“I started running 4-5 miles a day on September 5th, 2019. I go every day no matter what the weather. I will continue to do so.”

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