While the roots of ‘Freedom Day’ are somewhat confusing (We believe it was announced by George.W.Bush in 2001 as a day to celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall) and while most of the world is experiencing unprecedented limitations on plans whether in lockdown or not, there are many people breathing fresh air after a week of election chaos in the US and navigating the new lifestyle changes in the UK, not to mention a year of challenges globally.
The ‘loss’ of freedom in the western world through the Covid-19 pandemic, has been a big shock to many but is something experienced by many in other countries, communities and by individuals around the world on a daily basis due to different political, economical and cultural circumstances and I really feel this year will make a huge impact on the value given to freedom by those who enjoy it regularly.
On a day where you have been fortune enough to access internet to view this particular post, you are in the position to have freedoms to be thankful for that others do not have and this month also happens to be gratitude month. That’s why I’ve put together this list of ways you can celebrate the freedoms you still have access to and enjoy your day in lockdown or wherever you are with gratitude for what you have.
What choices have you been able to make today for yourself? List them and take time to be thankful for any that apply. They can be as simple as: Did you get to choose what time to set your alarm to wake up? Did you have a choice in the food/beverages you ate this morning? Did you choose to take a shower? How did you choose to travel to work/school?
Now expand your list to include additional reasons to be grateful for those freedoms or write down other things throughout the day that bring you feelings of gratitude. You can start with yourself - Did you get up and move around this morning? When you moved, did it give you extra energy? If you have pains, are you grateful to feel? And then build to bigger, external things - Are you grateful for the internet you had/found/were offered that was working? The people you’ve interacted with? How is the weather? Sun, rain, wind, snow - what benefits does that bring to you and the planet you live on? We understand not every point in 1 & 2 will apply for you, the statements may even seem too simple but taking time to be grateful for those ‘tiny’ individual things can help you to realise how big those things are for others and how lucky you are to be in the here and now. This life is not a competition and you may well have big challenges right now or ahead of you but you also have a lot supporting you, and your gratitude for these things has the power to carry you through the hardest moments. Keep your list to remind you and if you are really struggling to find your place of freedom/gratitude and feel that you’d like more support, please reach out to Samaritans or Mind who are waiting for your contact. Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/need-urgent-help/using-this-tool
There are so many people creating free classes and workshops right now. Choose a class that helps you to express yourself and who you are. If you have the money, go ahead and donate but also remember when people say free/donation at the moment, they mean it. Most creatives putting out their work know all too well the pressures of the current situation and want you to enjoy their work - you may even help them to feel more freedom and purpose just by attending their class or event! Speaking of art - that’s a bonus freedom - if you love to create and don’t feel you have enough time for it.. start a project which takes 5 minutes a day (the time it take to brush your teeth and wash your face).. and watch it grow and develop over the next few weeks and remind yourself of the activities that help you to feel uniquely independent.
Read; books, internet, magazines - Educate yourself or simply relax with fiction but enjoy the freedom you have to access information and opinions. It is not something everyone gets to experience.
Go outside (or open a window) even if you don’t think you want to. You’ll be amazed at how much fresh air can re-energise you, lift you up and help you to feel free.
Photo Credit to Model Jennifer Enujiugha (Pexels)