I hope you and yours are doing the best as you possibly can at the moment. I’m sure you’ll all agree with me in saying that these are very strange times, and a situation we, as a continent, haven’t faced in generations. However although boarders are being closed and doors are being shut in the physical, metaphorically they need to be open now more than ever. Times like this call for supporting each other, a strong sense of community, and to act in solidarity. This is easier said than done though. So here are a few tips on how can support the people around you in these times of trouble.
- Use this as an opportunity to rekindle old friendships – Send a message to one of those people you met on a project or at an event, check in how they’re coping, how their situation differs to yours, and how their life has changed since the last time you met. You never know, you might even meet up once all this is over.
- Share with others anything you can offer – Whether this is passing your neighbour some toilet paper over the fence using a stick. Or for example, in the UK there is the NHS volunteer scheme. Where you can support with tasks like calling someone who’s lonely, buying some supplies for an elderly person, or delivering medicine for people in need.
- Spend time with your family/housemates – I know this sounds like an obvious one, but I mean proper quality time and being present. Try to leave phones in another room, switch off the TV, and spend some time chatting or taking part in a shared activity like cooking or gardening. Check out the photo to see how my flat mates and I did this the other night.
- Teach others a new skill – Technology should be one of your best friends during this lockdown. Although it is important that you learn some new things yourself it can also be as, if not more, rewarding to teach others something. This could be a post, a video, or Facebook live of you sharing with others your own area of expertise; from free digital marketing classes to a cooking show.
- Show support for key workers – As you may have seen, many countries across Europe clap and cheer for their healthcare providers each day. But don’t forget about the supermarket staff, environmental workers, bank tellers and delivery drivers. This can be done by a simple thank you.
- Support local businesses – Big companies will be able to survive the financial strain from this current situation, however your local businesses might not. I know most have been forced to close, but few are still open or operating limited services. So instead of fighting your way through Tesco, make a visit to your local greengrocer or butcher, they will appreciate it far more and it will probably save you a headache at the same time.
- Take the advice that it out there – I have saved probably the most important till last here. The best way you can support others is simply by following the instructions and acting in solidarity with others, not thinking you know best and trying to bend the rules. If we all stick to the script then hopefully by June we can be outside living life normally again, it’s when people act irresponsibly that this will be dragged out further. Think of it like when you was at school and 1 or 2 people messed about so the teacher made the whole class stay behind 5 minutes. However this time the stakes are way higher than missing out on chips at lunchtime.
I hope these few suggestions inspire you to take action which in turn will inspire those around you. Yes these are difficult times, but I truly believe that when we prevail we have the chance to be stronger as a society because of these challenges, like G. Michael Hopf once said “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”
Peace, love, and positivity,