Giving Thanks During Thanksgiving

Written by Marissa Ulchaker

November 26, 2020

We all know that 2020 hasn’t necessarily been the start to the roaring 20’s that many of us imagined. It has been an infamous year many would like to forget. While there are many things to be spiteful about, we must approach this Thanksgiving as a time of reflection and optimism for the future. We should be celebrating the many milestones that have been accomplished during these times of unpredictability.

Just as everyone else, I have experienced many hardships throughout 2020. Those include the loss of my grandmother, the inability of my collegiate figure skating team to compete at our national competition, the heartache of being distanced from loved ones due to travel restrictions while away at college, and more. However, I have done my best to work through these obstacles, and I appreciate that this Thanksgiving gives me a chance to consider what I DO have in my life.

I am surely not the only person who has been conflicted with mental and physical struggles during this time. We should be embracing others, and encouraging them to break through their shells. I’d like to take time to consider the different ways in which this year has benefitted our community.

In a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Juice Plus+, 66% of people polled said their family is closer than ever before as a result of the increased family time during quarantine. Families were forced out of their busy day-to-day routines and experienced milestones and interactions that they might not have had otherwise. For instance, 79% of parents surveyed said they’ve learned more about their children’s hobbies and passions during this time.

Furthermore, pet adoption rates have skyrocketed. Vast amounts of people took to pet adoptions during quarantine since they had more time at home to devote to a new animal. Additionally, these furry friends have aided people through the mental health struggles associated with COVID-19.

Countless companies transformed their typical production services to manufacture sanitizers, masks, ventilators, and more to help the world fight this virus. Vacuum maker Dyson, General Motors, and many other companies manufactured thousands of ventilators and other PPE for the community.

An innumerable amount of people broke out of the technological bubble that most of us live in and regained appreciation for the outdoors. Biking and hiking trials, lakes and rivers, and other outdoor spaces boomed this year as a safe alternative to travel and as a stress relief during COVID-19.

Additionally, studies show that some people feel less stress as they gained a more flexible schedule, escaped a strenuous commute to work/school, experienced more quality time with their family, and dodged dressing up everyday.

I ask that everyone be optimistic this Thanksgiving and think about what you DO have to be thankful for. No matter how big or small, every milestone in 2020 has left an impact on our lives, and we must learn from these experiences to grow for the future.

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