‘It's meant to offer us things in small and subtle ways’: finding gratitude during a pandemic
Whether it's inspiring gratitude in others by doing a good deed, or finding something in your life that you're thankful for right now, it's important to express gratitude to get through a pandemic.
In some cases, showing gratitude is more than a feeling, it's an action.
At Halifax's Ummah Mosque, volunteers have spent the month of Ramadan preparing and handing out free meals to the community with a goal of giving 10,000 meals by Eid, which begins Wednesday.
Many of the meals are given to workers on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19.
"We were amazed at how many volunteers were showing up at the first days of the convention centre, and we said that we need to show our appreciation to the work," says Imam Abdallah Yousri.
It’s a gesture in keeping with their faith during tough times.
"We also think about to bring joy to others during these days, and during this month of Ramadan," Yousri says.
Several volunteers at the convention centre's pop-up testing site showed their gratitude for the meals in social media posts. A thankfulness echoed by the woman leading the province's testing efforts.
"I think it demonstrates just how much Nova Scotians look after each other and that's a huge part of how we're going to get past this wave," says Dr. Lisa Barrett, infectious disease expert.
For yoga instructor Nikki Martin, gratitude is part of her practice. But for other people, it may mean writing in a gratitude journal, or even just taking a moment to breathe during a stressful day.
"It's meant to offer us things in small and subtle ways," says Martin.
"So I think finding practices and ways that are momentary, taking time to pause a few times a day, take time in relationships, and just to recognize that the practice of gratitude isn't meant to erase the bad, it is meant to make our space to be all or ourselves."
Registered psychologist Dayna Lee-Baggley says that taking time to feel gratitude during the pandemic can help us deal with its challenges.
"We can both be suffering and acknowledge the things we're grateful for," says Lee-Baggley.
"The human brain has a bias towards finding problems, looking for what's wrong, and so it has to be a deliberate choice, like a conscious decision, to consider things that you might be grateful for."
At a time when it may seem difficult to feel grateful, Lee-Baggley says giving back can be key to finding a sense of appreciation.
"We know that helping other people often helps people feel better as well," Lee-Baggley says.
"Sometimes it's just texting a friend or a loved one to say 'Hey, I'm thinking of you',"
Lee-Baggley says whether you're making a gratitude list, or doing something to give back to the community, it's important to pause and take a moment to feel that gratitude, to help you make it through this pandemic.
A simple thing that can make a big difference.