Previously unusual sights now seem like the new normal – face masks, taped lines every 6 feet, and empty spots instead of paper products. But something else has become recognizable amidst COVID-19: gratitude to frontline workers like community pharmacists.
Caring through Chaos
Research supports what we probably all know instinctively – that helping other people makes us feel good, too. This can be especially true when the situation around us has lessened our sense of control. With everything COVID-19 has removed from our daily routines, people are finding new ways to add acts of caring and thankfulness. These displays are reducing anxiety and bringing moments of hope and happiness, especially for people working in healthcare.
2 Minutes of Thanks in NYC
A remarkable example has been occurring in New York City, hard hit by this illness. News reports tell us the monotony of ambulance sirens and negative headlines is eased every evening at 7 PM, when people find an opening to the outside to make noises of thanks to the people who are helping take care of the city every day. Whether it’s clapping, banging, shouting, or singing, the expression of gratitude brings people together in acknowledgment of the effort and risk others are enduring.
Thank Yous around the World
Of course these expressions aren’t confined to big U.S. cities. A pharmacist in Shropshire, England, was leaving his shop one evening of his 100-hour work week and saw a boy waiting with potato chips, candy, and a handwritten note. The message read in part, “The world keeps going because of people like you. Stay safe. You are all doing an amazing job.”
In Australia, there have been stories of customers buying staff pizzas for dinner and thank-you notes left on pharmacy counters. In Eatons Hill, Queensland, a customer left $150 and a note asking pharmacy staff to use the money to help customers who are struggling to pay for essential medicines because of unemployment.
How to Say Thank You Where You Are
Most of us have felt gratitude for frontline workers, even if we haven’t yet expressed it so clearly. For a little guidance, this article gives tips on thanking those who check you out at the counter; it even includes a video that has made the social media rounds of a customer “paying it forward.” As our pharmacists may appreciate, the first tip is actually a silent “thank you”: shop fast and efficiently. This includes planning ahead so store trips can be less frequent, which reduces the risk of exposure for everyone.
When you’re at the checkout counter, remember that verbalizing a simple thanks is one of the easiest things you can do. Make eye contact and say it like you mean it. It never needs to be fancy, just sincere:
- “I realize how hard you’re working, and I just want to say thank you.”
- “It’s people like you who are helping everybody get through this. Thank you for showing up today.”
- “I know these are challenging times, and I just want to let you know I’m grateful.”
- “I just want you to know that it’s noticed, the way you’re here helping people get the things they need.”
So, if you’ve been inspired to leave a word of thanks, consider visiting our Facebook page. For the next several days, we’re encouraging acknowledgment of community pharmacists by asking readers to leave words of appreciation on certain posts. We’ll be randomly selecting from the comments to give away year-long subscriptions to the Calm app – because QS/1 is thankful for community pharmacists, too.