As news of this worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, saturates nearly every corner of the internet, television, and our email inboxes, we thought we’d try to cut through the noise by sharing something a little different.
It’s easy to get stressed over the changes coming at us every day during this time. So today we want to encourage you to take a deep breath, turn off whatever it is that’s making you more anxious, and don’t panic. We will all get through this together. This is a time where we get to hold true to ourselves and our values, placing what’s most important first in our own lives.
Mr. Rogers has some great advice for us in times like this: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”
Let’s be helpers during this time as much as we possibly can. If you look beyond the surface—AKA people panicking—you’ll see the beauty of selfless, kind neighbors helping each other out. You might even find friends in new places and a community that is stronger than you ever realized.
How to Help Small Businesses Around You
As we all know, many small businesses are feeling the blow of the Coronavirus as they’re being told to close their doors. Fortunately, there are MANY ways you can continue supporting your friends, neighbors, and favorite small businesses during COVID.
Take advantage of some of these creative ideas. Your local businesses will be SO thankful.
- Continue shopping and ordering from local businesses online.
- Buy gift cards for future use.
- Order takeout or delivery.
- Don’t visit businesses if you’re not feeling well.
- Share their posts with your friends online. Spread the word! Tell everyone how awesome they are so when they do reopen their doors, they’ll have more business than ever.
- Encourage them through social media.
- Go out of your way to thank them for all they do.
- Leave them an amazing review online.
- Remember to shop with them as soon as they’re back in business.
- Contribute to online fundraisers (many businesses have started GoFundMe campaigns to continue paying their employees!).
- Sign up to take a virtual class.
How to [Safely] Lend a Helping Hand Through COVID-19
Schools have been shut down. Many employees have been sent home for the foreseeable future. If you have a friend, neighbor, or family member who has been affected by COVID-19, there are several ways you can jump in and give them a hand—right now.
Ways to Help Your Community Stay Strong
- Donate to organizations that provide individuals and families with the resources they need.
- Call local homeless shelters and food banks to ask if they need anything.
- Don’t hoard food and supplies. Take what you need (or a little more), and let your neighbors do the same.
- Call your elderly neighbors to ask if they need anything.
- Offer to go grocery shopping for any at-risk people in your community so they’re not exposed to the virus.
- Check on your other neighbors to see if they need their driveways plowed or childcare for their kids if they’re still going in to work every day.
- Set up an online fundraiser for someone you know who needs extra support.
- Check in with your loved ones. Let them know they’re not alone.
Get Creative with Working Remotely
If you’re not used to working from home, it can be tough to concentrate for long periods of time. So many things in our homes are just waiting for us to watch, read, clean, and take care of. To avoid feeling like you’re going batty, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break.
Get up and walk around. Grab a healthy snack. Let the dog out and breathe in a little fresh air. Be sure to take a lunch break. Taking short breaks can actually increase productivity. Read “This is why you need to take microbreaks” for other ideas on how to keep your energy up and your brain going strong throughout the workday.
If your coworkers are in the same boat, hop on the phone and have a short chat to bolster your spirits. Laugh. Talk about a project, or talk about something unrelated to work to give your minds a break. If you have a problem or disagreement, solve it early and openly; don’t wait for something to fester while you’re not in person to talk through it immediately.
Wirecutter put together a list of fun ideas to stay connected to your colleagues when you’re confined to your home. Virtual watercooler talk, playing games, and starting a book or tv show club are a few of their out-of-the-box suggestions.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Your Mental Health
During a period of quarantine, it’s easy to start feeling antsy, bored, lonely, stressed, maybe even angry. According to a scientific report on the psychological impact of quarantine, people are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.
So what can you do to avoid these types of feelings and experiences? Straight up, there’s A LOT you can do. Here are a few highly effective ideas:
- Set healthy boundaries and ask for space when you need it.
- Check in with others you’re quarantined with, but respect their privacy as well as your own.
- Plan a time to have some fun! Watch a movie or play some games. Laugh together.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Learn a new skill.
- Try new online, indoor workouts.
- Read a good book.
- Reconnect with your spirituality for peace and perspective.
- Do yoga.
Avoid panicking over stuff that can’t touch you when you and your family are safe at home. The key is to reduce stress and embrace joy. Choose gratitude over worry. According to Mayo Clinic, “When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally; it actually induces physical changes in your body.”
Laughter stimulates your organs, activates and relieves your stress response, and soothes tension in the short term. In the long term, the results are even better. Over time, laughter improves your immune system (something every one of us could use right now), relieves pain, improves your mood, and increases personal satisfaction.
The COVID pandemic will end. Your mental health will be a part of you forever. Prioritize it.
Safe Activities to Help You Get Outside & Stay Sane
Some (if not most) of us are feeling the need to “stay home” like the CDC and every major news channel is telling us to. But you don’t need to stay cooped up inside your house! In fact, you can safely get outside for some exercise and fresh air.
Consider these ideas to help you stay calm, get some vitamin D, and boost your mood by opting outside.
- Go for a run.
- Hike in an area where you have plenty of space to keep a safe distance from others.
- Go for a walk.
- Go backpacking with a friend.
- Do yard work.
- Play in your backyard with the dogs.
- Pack a picnic on a warmer day to eat on your porch.
- Have a snowball fight.
Resources to Make You Smile
Here are a few resources we’ve come across that made us laugh…or at least entertained us for a while online. We hope they can bring a smile to your face, too.
- Happy Websites to Go to If You’re Sick of Reading Articles About Coronavirus
- 5 Funny Videos and Memes to Start Your Day with a Smile
- Giving Away Toilet Paper for FREE!
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”