There is stillness on the streets outside my home. Where a few days ago, vehicles ran by and the loud chatter of people could be heard, there is only the rustling of leaves broken by the occasional siren of an ambulance. I had longed for this silence, but it’s come at a horrible cost.
As India deals with the second wave of COVID, my city along with many others is currently under lockdown. Heartbreaking news surrounds us every step of the way and it’s become taxing to my emotional health.
I know that gratitude has always helped in facing fears and distress, and it is needed now more than ever. Here’s how to be grateful as the spread of COVID dims the light of positivity:
- Become more outward
- Accept that it’s not okay
- Do more of what makes you feel grateful
- Look for humor
- Express gratitude for the most basic things
- Gratitude for frontline heroes
- Gratitude for life
1. Become more outward
Now is the time to spread as much love and gratitude as possible to the people in our lives. To anyone that matters to you, reach out and appreciate how they are valuable to you and how grateful you feel that they are okay. Remind them that you are there for them and that we’re all in this together. If it helps, even plan group video calls to get everyone together for thoughtful or lighthearted conversations.
2. Accept that it’s not okay
In the current situation, it is imperative to accept that all of us are getting affected in various ways, some more than others. If it is hard for you to feel positive, don’t push yourself. You don’t have to feel happy to feel grateful. You can be sad and still be grateful for something.
We may not be our most productive, best self these days, and it’s fully understandable. Go easy on yourself. There’s a lot going on.
3. Do more of what makes you feel grateful
What are the activities that you most enjoy doing that are not hindered by the restrictions in your area? What makes it easy for you to feel grateful? The activities that make you feel at ease, even be called therapeutic.
It might be playing with your dog, talking to your significant other, painting, watching your favorite series, listening to your favorite music album, or anything else. Make it a point to invest time in these activities every day to take care of yourself.
4. Look for humor
Humor is much more than entertainment. I feel that it is an effective coping mechanism. When I lived with my friends in a new city, we went through many struggles in our day-to-day lives, but we always found something to laugh at in the midst of worries. That humor helped us create a beautiful experience out of a challenging situation.
If you find yourself feeling sad and stressed most of the time, try to find humor around you, or watch funny videos. For example, I find a pair of shorts that my father wears quite comical. So as I was mulling over how the daily cases in India are rising, I saw him wearing those shorts and chuckled. I didn’t become happy all of a sudden but got the opportunity to take a break and feel the lightness of amusement.
5. Express gratitude for the most basic things
This is a super helpful strategy for developing the habit of practicing gratitude, whether times are tough or not. In the end, it’s the little things that matter, as they say.
Express gratitude for food, for breath, for space to live in, for having people to talk to, for sunlight, for fresh air, for cute animals, for sleep, for inspiring words, for music, for nature, for knowledge, for memories, for laughter and all the small parts of your life that make it sweeter.
If you don’t already, consider keeping a gratitude journal to build the habit of practicing gratitude. You can try our Gratitude app to journal here.
6. Gratitude for front-line heroes
There are people out there who are displaying the best of what humans can be. By endangering their own lives, these heroes are serving and protecting all of us. Even if I find nothing to feel grateful for in these terrible times, I have boundless gratitude for all the front-line workers every day. They are a source of hope and strength, and I hope they can hold on to the same hope too.
7. Gratitude for life
Let’s take a moment to feel grateful for being here. You are here reading these words, I have infinite gratitude for that. It’s important to realize how fortunate we are to be healthy and for all the people in our lives that are okay.
If you are currently dealing with COVID or know someone who is, try your best to fill yourself with positive energy for your/their health. Bless yourself/them and believe that soon it will be okay. Staying hopeful is going to help a lot.
And, if you lost someone because of COVID, I know how hard it is. I lost two close relatives last year and it is still a struggle to come to terms with the reality. One thing that helped me back then was focusing on gratitude, truly. Gratitude for knowing them, for having memories with them, for the life that they lived. It hurts and might forever, but there is gratitude that lives despite it all.
Lastly, let’s keep holding on. It’s not easy, I know, we might fall apart from time to time, but hope and gratitude is the only thing that will get us through. We will get through this. We will.
“The sun always comes up. Spring always comes after winter. The river always reaches the ocean. Always.”
- Maxime Lagacé