Quarantine. Lockdown. Self-isolation. For the sake of our loved ones, anyone potentially exposed to COVID-19 is being asked to stay at home for a minimum of 14 days. Most companies have closed their doors, employees are working from home and schools have moved curriculum online. We're all doing our best to flatten the curve and give our medical teams the best chance of fighting the illness. Yet, many of us are feeling a desire to make a personal difference and lend a helping hand. What can we really do to reduce the stress, worry and discomfort that’s disrupting our daily lives? We’ve built a shortlist of ideas, however small, to help make an immediate impact on our community and enable us all to feel a little better.
For our friends whose businesses are on hold.
This pandemic is having a particular impact on anyone working in health and wellness, beauty and styling, and personal care. Additionally, small business owners, hospitality, restaurants, and service industry professionals are all feeling the impact. We can make an investment in their business by purchasing gift cards today, ordering to-go, donating to local collection funds such as Tip Your Server, or reaching out and booking your next appointment to remind them you’ll be back soon.
We value the relationships built with our partners in the service industry. It’s not a huge leap to send a tip to your friends now (via Venmo or another pay-app) to thank them for everything that they do. Or, if you normally purchase products in-person, find out if they’ve moved online. Supporting small businesses is a great investment in our local communities.
How will this help? For starters, it puts money in their pockets, today. Secondly, it’s a general reminder that "this, too, shall pass."
Taking care of our energy stores.
We’ve been through hard times before, but this is unprecedented. We all need to remember the golden rule, “One cannot pour from an empty cup.” Taking a breather—whether it’s an extra-long bubble bath, meditation, or just signing off work early—is important on so many levels. The more we take care of ourselves, the better we are prepared to tend to the ones that we love.
Building connections across the divide.
Our old college roommate? That one friend we haven’t connected with in a long time? Maybe it’s the neighbor we’ve lived next door to, but we’ve never found the time to say more than, “hello.” This is our opportunity to reach out with a note, a letter, an email, or a phone call. Rebuilding connections and human connection, in general, can reduce loneliness and build our circle of support.
Asking how we can help.
Although it sounds simple, when we ask if there is something, anything we can do to help, we’re halfway there. Sending those notes, letters, emails, or calling our old friends and neighbors, and asking how we can help, can unlock doors to our biggest strengths. If we have more than we need, we can share it. Simply knowing we are here goes a long way.
Offering thanks is a start.
In a time of scarcity, saying, “thank you,” can open our eyes to a world of abundance. We have so much to be grateful for, even though we’re facing an uncertain future. Telling your delivery person thank you (with a note, or a card, or even a wave from your window) is a start. Sending an email or intranet message to your healthcare provider to thank them is a start. Tagging your friends in a photo online is a start. Gratitude is the start of so many health benefits including a reduction in depression and an improvement in sleep.
We can make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us. We’re starting small, but small moves add up. The future is unknown. We may feel isolated. But we have a feeling we’ll all come out of this for the better.
"This pandemic experience is a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be our worst selves when we're afraid, or our very best, bravest selves. In the context of fear and vulnerability, there is often very little in between because when we are uncertain and afraid, our default is self-protections. We don't have to be scary when we're scared. Let's choose awkward, brave, and kind." – Brené Brown