During a worldwide public health crisis with so many horrific and frightening daily occurrences, it can be really difficult to keep joy at the forefront of your mind. It’s easy to wake up in the morning and immediately log onto your favorite social media app or turn on the news station. By doing this every morning, you’re sending your brain that instant reminder that the world isn’t the place you used to know. You’re sending messages to yourself that chaos and sadness surround you, which isn’t false information, but do you really need those reminders before your feet have even touched the floor?
Instead, what about noticing the simple joys that still exist? Most days, the sun probably still shines through your curtains, the smell of blueberry pancakes can still be smelled from your bed as they wait for you downstairs, and if you’re lucky enough, you wake up healthy without a throbbing in your chest or a warm forehead. Noticing these simple joys does not by any means invalidate or diminish the very obvious horrors of reality during this time, but they can soften it, even just for a moment.
If given the chance, wouldn’t you take the opportunity to push the dark clouds aside so you could feel the sun on your face again? When dark clouds pass, that doesn’t mean they were never there in the first place. It also doesn’t mean they’ll never come back again. So I challenge you to notice your own simple joys when they present themselves. The point isn’t to create a silver lining, although if that’s possible for you, by all means. The point is to notice what already exists -- those moments that, on a normal day, we might walk by without noticing or take for granted.
Maybe it’s seeing a puppy happily on a walk with his human who loves him. Maybe it’s your favorite song playing on the radio on your way home with the groceries. Or maybe it’s simply the smile on the face of a stranger who walks past you, enjoying his or her own simple joys.
Bri Anderson has worked for ICAN for the last three years evolving through several roles in the company, including intern, support staff, supervised visitation monitor, adult care coordinator, and assisting staff in the marketing and accounting departments. Bri will soon graduate with her Master's degree in Social Work from the University at Buffalo, and she hopes to continue her work with ICAN in a therapeutic capacity.