Finding gratitude amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Being grateful for your health and family is one way to get some perspective on things during this difficult time of the Covid-19 outbreak. (Pic courtesy of Jojo Struys)

If you are sitting anywhere in this world right now in good health with a roof over your head, clean water to drink, a kitchen to rustle up home-cooked meals or a takeaway lunch that can be delivered right to your doorstep, count yourself lucky.

Just take a step back to acknowledge that it’s something to be grateful for at this moment in time.

I have been viewing the smallest, most basic of things around me as somewhat of a luxury, and it keeps me in positive vibrations, rather than focusing on what’s been taken away. I’m celebrating what I still have.

My husband and I are growing closer despite being separated by continents during this lockdown period.

Be grateful for technology

Though he’s not physically with me right now because he flew back to the UK the day before Malaysia closed its borders, I still count myself very fortunate to be able to still “see” him speaking to me out of my screens, thanks to the variety of ways we can connect, whether it’s through FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom.

Despite me warning my readers about how important it is to not be constantly on our devices, I’m nevertheless so grateful for the invention of the internet, at a time like this.

It is enabling all of us to keep in touch with each other, work remotely with our colleagues and to share information so seamlessly.

I was just watching my housekeeper gathering all my laundry and I said “thank you so much” because it was a Sunday, and she’s actually meant to be off and she made a breakfast smoothie for me as well, without me realising at the time, it was actually her day off.

A friend of mine was just saying it was so hard to clean up after the kids and clean the entire house on her own as she’s pregnant and not very mobile right now but no one can come in to help clean it, during this period.

Be thankful for the many healthcare workers who are risking life and limb to attend to patients infected with Covid-19. (Rawpixel pic)

A sound healer I know just paid her part-time housekeeper RM1,000 to make sure she was financially okay because it was not her fault she was unable to come out to clean anyone’s homes.

Not to mention, where would someone like that go to get any extra monetary support? These simple gestures of humanity really warm my heart.

For all the negativity and fear that’s been spread in this world, I feel the “good” needs just as much of a light shed on it or we would all be living in darkness. There’s still so much good going around.

Be grateful for the kindness of others

An entrepreneur I know who runs a DIY business called Craftiviti, had a frontliner doctor friend reaching out to her during the Covid-19 outbreak saying they really did not have enough face shields to protect their eyes and was wondering if her store had the DIY materials to make them?

Like me, my friend had seen the video that was circulating of a plastic bag being laboriously wrapped around a young doctor’s head prior to seeing infected victims and it broke her heart that they had to go in seeing their patients in this way.

She also heard some doctors were actually trying to make these shields themselves at home in the only time they had to themselves, when they should be conserving their energy and resting.

So, then and there, that’s when she decided with her husband to start making DIY face shields for these frontliners. She gathered a bunch of friends, like-minded partners and a bunch of volunteers who all started making face shields as a homegrown effort to help protect our frontliners.

So far, they have made more than 5,000 face shields and counting. When we think of those in need out there, and we choose to think of others rather than just ourselves, it brings you into a different perspective of our own troubles.

Make a note of every single thing you are grateful for – from the air you breathe to the food on your table. (Rawpixel pic)

I am yet again reminded of the acts of kindness and humanity, which usually emerge in any crisis situation to show the more unconditional side of humans willing to go the distance to simply help other fellow human beings.

So, if you find yourself slipping into a rabbit hole of panic or depression from how negatively affected you might be from this unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, get a journal out to start recording a list of things you are grateful for.

Try to make this a daily practice. New research indicates that neural pathways in your brain can get reshaped when you are focused on gratitude.

Not to mention the “happy hormones” of dopamine and serotonin being released from the brain to alleviate stress and anxiety, which might be one of the most helpful, naturally free tools available to you.

Be grateful for time on your hands

Take this time that you never had to de-clutter your home, spend more time with your kids, or learn a new skill.

Consider going inward with a home meditation practice to also connect with some honest inner reflections about how you’ve been living your life.

When was the last time you really checked in with yourself? We hear about bosses giving us reviews all the time but when’s the last time you did your own review of your self?

Whatever we focus on expands in our consciousness. So if you’re focused on the positives, this can help to trigger off an abundant mindset rather than a fearful one.

Let’s all try to stay positive and get through this challenging time together.

Jojo Struys is the founder of OhanaJo Studio. She is offering Free Online Mindfulness, Yoga and Meditation sessions by donations every day during the MCO period in an effort to help Malaysians stay physically fit and emotionally more calm, during this difficult time.

You can check out their online classes on https://www.ohanajo.com/