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Gratitude During COVID-19 Holidays

There's a lot to be scared or down about this holiday season. There's a lot we can be grateful for too! Allow yourself to feel both — our sadness is still valid when we practice gratitude and our gratitude is still valid when we're sad. These tips are about gratitude.

Try keeping a gratitude journal. Each day, take a minute to write 2-3 things you are grateful for. Try not to repeat things for as long as you can! It will become easier the more you do it.

Bored and needing some positivity? Play the gratitude alphabet game! For each letter of the alphabet, think of something you are grateful for that starts with that letter.

Try not to compare yourself to others. Instead, recognize that everyone is unique in their own way and take time to think about some of the great qualities that YOU have to offer!

Focus on the little things that you can be grateful for. Are you wearing a warm sweater? Did you eat today? Can you see the sky? Think about what matters to you!

Try incorporating meditation or mindfulness practices into your days. When you slow down, it gives you the opportunity to notice and appreciate the little things.

Pick a day to tell someone that you love what you like or appreciate about them. This can be done by text or call, or even by writing and mailing a postcard or letter! See if you can pick a different person each week to do this for.

Observe your speech patterns or ask other people what words you use often. Are they words like fail, suck, stupid, etc.? Try to catch yourself and see if there are ways you can adjust your sentences if you find you're focussing more on the negatives.

Buy a pack of blank cards from the dollar store and make a point to write thank-you cards. You don't have to wait until you get a gift, saying thank you for small gestures is also meaningful! Imagine what a nice surprise it would be to get a random thank-you card.

If you notice that someone in your bubble tends to talk really negatively, that can rub off on you! Try having a conversation with them about it or consider distancing yourself from them so you can get back to making more room for gratitude.

Look into the ways that you can volunteer in your community at this time. It can help build your self-esteem by doing something good and can even help you appreciate the positive aspects of your life.

The holidays can be difficult when it comes to body image. To combat this, think about appreciating a body part for its function instead of seeing it negatively. E.g. replace "I hate my tummy" with "I am thankful for my stomach because it nourishes me & keeps me going."

Start the day with gratitude affirmations. Plan to list what you are grateful for every day by saying that list out loud in the mirror, jotting it down, or telling somebody you love. It doesn't have to be time-consuming or exhaustive. Even 1-3 affirmations is great!

Collect images of things you're grateful for and make a gratitude collage. Once it's done, put it somewhere you'll see it every day.

Reflect on how far you've come. What would your past self be grateful for if they saw you now?

When you make a to-do list, supplement it with a blessings list. For each task, include something related that you are grateful for. This helps you make progress while appreciating your current blessings.

When you feel like your life is lacking, make a point to give or share with someone else. This will help you recognize how much you actually do have.

Unplug and get outside by taking a gratitude walk! Bundle up and take time to notice your surroundings and what you feel grateful for.

Thank people who never get thanked like the bus driver, custodian or crossing guard. Check out our interview with Beyond the Wards Canada to see how they've been thanking under-recognized workers during the pandemic.

Instead of a gratitude journal, try a gratitude jar. Cut strips of paper and, each day, write one reason you are grateful and plop it in the jar. When you're feeling low, review the jar entries.

If you are having a hard time with gratitude, try this alternative instead:

Let yourself feel! Appreciate your ability to have emotions, and recognize that feeling things like sadness and anger are okay. Even if you feel like you'll never be happy, don't give up.

Create an enjoyable routine. Make time for practicing gratitude on a regular basis. Pair it with something you like, like a nice cup of tea. Soon gratitude will be a habit!

Try to find the silver-lining, no matter how small it might be. For example, maybe you don't like taking the bus, but are thankful it gives you time to read. Finding silver-linings takes practice, so be patient with yourself.

Browse the app store for your phone to check out some of the different gratitude apps and give one a try! There are many, so there just might be one that you find helpful and that gives you another way to bring gratitude into your life.

The world we live in can seem sad and scary. Seek out positive stories from websites like and share them. It will lift your mood and the moods of those around you, and that's certainly something to celebrate with gratitude!