Photo from Shell Phelps

By Shell Phelps

How do you cope when navigating through these uncharted territories? How do you find emotional comfort when trying to find a new sense of normal? 

Since the world has essentially slowed down our fast-paced lifestyle (for now), it’s time to reassess how you want to live your life. Take this opportunity to re-evaluate your daily routines and thought patterns, to gain fresh new perspectives, to reset and reacclimate to new ones. There are countless aspects of life you could fully embrace right now; take advantage of them and transcend into a state of gratitude. 

Take this moment to shift your focus away from the “blame game,” or whatever you don’t like about your life, to create an awareness towards things you do like and appreciate. Several positive transformations have surfaced with all the new changes in the world; embrace them. It’s time to reclaim your mental and physical space.

Since more of us are working remotely and frequenting stores and restaurants less, we are spending less time commuting. People are traveling less and staying closer to home, which allows us the opportunity to reallocate our time and who we want to share it with. On average, it seems like folks are in less of a rush and life has more or less slowed down, giving us more time to rest. This in itself can reduce stress and cultivate emotional comfort.  

Although there are some major challenges with childcare and uncertainties surrounding our educational system, there has also been an increase in flexibility, collaboration, and compassion during these transitions. Many employers are becoming more accommodating by implementing new company policies that lessen the load on employees. Families, friends, and neighbors are pulling together in more harmonious ways to help each other out. Look for those bonding moments within your support system; they can bring solace to your emotional stability, and provide ways to set brilliant examples for children. 

Another positive shift I see, especially for impressionable young women and girls, is that more women are spending less time on their physical appearance and more time relishing in the comforts of their carefree spirits. They’re wearing yoga pants, sweats, and t-shirts regularly. It feels like more women are expressing their gratitude by embracing the attitude of a no-fuss, no-muss regime. Since women seek emotional connections with other women, I see this commonality establishing another form of camaraderie. It appears that ladies are becoming more comfortable with their natural state. This is such a refreshing contrast to the perfectionist narrative we’ve been fed by the media for too long.

With that said, it seems like now is the ideal time to set new expectations for yourself that allow more time for self-care. Invest in yourself and incorporate more time and patience with goal-setting, and align your decisions to match. Get back to chasing your dreams and aspirations. Take time to enjoy the downtime life has to offer. It’s beautiful when you when can reinvent yourself, go in a new direction, and watch yourself grow. There is plenty of space for gratitude now, so start identifying all the qualities you appreciate about yourself, your life, and everything around you that brings excitement your way, and press forward with all the good you already have in your life.

For months now, we’ve been having less frequent in-person social interactions. Because of this, people are now even more grateful when they’re finally able to reconnect. There seems to be a positive surge of energy when you can reunite with friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers. There are fewer opportunities overall to take each other for granted. This can ignite an increased appreciation for human connection, and a gravitation towards gratitude for one another. 

Social distancing has forced us to be selective of who we let into our physical space. The social norms have shifted nearly overnight. You should be mindful and prioritize where you go, with whom, and how often you’re willing to frequent locations outside your safe space. Having to place a higher priority on my encounters, I’ve experienced more thoughtful and meaningful conversations. It’s as if the petty and insignificant issues seem less meaningful.

As you find your own way toward gratitude, keep in mind that there’s no wrong way to feel grateful. The feeling of appreciation is one of the fastest ways to cultivate emotional comfort. Using any positive approach will help you maintain emotional stability when coping with all these new life changes. 

One proactive step you can take to find gratitude is to take your own inventory. Make a list of all the things you have in your life that you love, like, or enjoy. This should include items, people, places you have traveled, and activities. Ask yourself these questions: What are your prized possessions? Who do you love that you can’t live without? What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? Watch as your gratitude inventory list grows.

Cultivating the feeling of gratitude is the best way to live an authentic, purposeful life. Be grateful for what you do have and be willing to change what’s not bringing you joy or comfort. Love what you have and have only what you love.

Shell Phelps


Shell Phelps is a SHRM-Certified Human Resources Director and co-founder of Phelps Strategies, where she is a strategic life coach. She holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology and previously ran her own private therapy practice. As a strategic life coach, Shell focuses on solution-based strategies to help her clients get through life’s greatest challenges and live happier, more fulfilled lives.  She is the author of the popular book The Big Bliss Blueprint: 100 Little Thoughts to Build Positive Life Changes. 

Learn more about Shell and her work at


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