We’re caught in the middle of an uncertain time right now; a scary time; a time where information is changing quickly and it’s becoming harder and harder to know whether we’re doing what’s needed to stay on top of this pandemic. We all want to be doing the right thing and ensure we’re acting as part of the solution and not the problem -- and staying safe is the most-important part of that. But it’s also important that we come together as community, stay connected, stay calm and spread nothing but love and support.
So whether you’re self-isolating, social distancing, making more responsible choices or just trying to do the little things that will keep your community strong and healthy, we’ve pulled together some suggestions that might help us build each other up, flatten the curve, help our neighbours, support those around us and keep us moving in the right direction at a time when so many can feel helpless.
This is an unusual time for us all, but it’s a time when we can channel our worry and uncertainty into real actions that can help our friends, our families, our community and ourselves, and here’s how:
1. Do Wholesome Activities
We all have a little more time to ourselves right now, and so you should use that time to do things that make you feel good; things that make you a better person than you were yesterday; things that make you smile. Try clearing the living room for a home workout, buy some board games, take the adventure into your garden or even take up a new hobby like painting or drawing. What we’re trying to say is: Netflix isn’t the only option.
2. Sleep Beneath The Stars
Exploring the great outdoors doesn’t have to mean rushing for a plane or a train, catching a ferry or throwing up your thumb in the hope someone will stop, all of which is inadvisable right now. No. Garden camping is all you need to reconnect with the earth, escape the confines of your safe space and enjoy the thrills of a true mini-adventure without the hardship. The stars above you, lumps and bumps beneath you, the wind rattling your guy lines and the smell of a one pot meal filling your garden as you enjoy your little world and all those that fill it.
3. Learn from The Best
The greatest investment has - and always will be - yourself, an area that’s been given an increased focus with so much of the world in lockdown. So now’s the time to invest and learn from the best without having to leave your safe place -- and nowhere does it quite like Masterclass, which offers online classes for those of every skill level. Filmmaking with Scorsese and acting with Samuel L. Jackson. Cooking with Gordon Ramsay and photography with Jimmy Chin. Learning, improving and bettering yourself should never stop, and it doesn’t have to.
4. Plan Your Next Adventure
Life’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, so sit down and plan out your next journey. Your next adventure. That once-in-a-lifetime trip you’ve always dreamt of undertaking, no matter how big or small it is. You might not be able to feel the waves, chase the horizon or see the stars right now --- but it’s just a matter of time, and it will be even better than you ever imagined with so much time to plan and prepare. The journey is always better than the destination, and that journey can start now.
5. Connect With Nature
Times like this show us how fortunate we are to have been able to travel so freely and easily before, exploring here, there and everywhere. That’s the one thing most of us are addicted to more than anything. But avoiding crowds, events and enclosed spaces doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the great outdoors. A stroll through the park, a hike in the woods, a walk by the river -- they’re all microadventures you can still enjoy, so long as you follow your local guidelines. And if that’s not an option right now, you can always enjoy your little slice of the outside world by making the most of your garden, patio, terrace or balcony.
6. Social Media Detox
The fact we’re suggesting this may sound utterly bonkers because you’re likely stuck at home and on your phone. But social media can fan the flames of hysteria and make uncertain times like these even more overwhelming than they already are. So don’t be afraid to put your phone out of reach, step away from the screen, take some time out, fill your days with more practical activities and promise yourself to only use reputable news apps for updates. Staying mentally healthy during this pandemic will be as important as anything else, and social detoxing can only help.
1. Shop Local
It’s not always possible, but if you can shop at your local stores, please do. At times like these, it’s always small businesses that get hit the hardest, so try and support the local independent stores in your community before you think about rushing into your nearest supermarket. Buy vouchers that you can use at a later date, order a takeaway from your local restaurant or simply make a donation because even the smallest gesture of goodwill can make a massive difference to those in your community.
2. FaceTime Your Family
Right now, you may not be able to visit your family in real life. You may not be able to pop over, give them a hug, make them a cuppa and give them the physical support they’re so used to. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop showing them the love. So pick up the phone, press video call and reach out to them virtually. With more time to yourself, try setting aside some time to stay connected to those who matter most to you. Spread a smile, send them your love, update them on your situation, make sure you know theirs and do all you can to make them know you care. We can guarantee it will brighten up your day too.
3. Volunteer Your Time
Now is the time to pull on your cape, step outside and do something bigger than yourself. So if you’re fit and able, pop a letter through your neighbour’s door with your contact details on, offer to go food shopping for the elderly couple down the road, fetch any prescriptions they might need or just lend them your iPad so that their families can FaceTime them. There doesn’t need to be any direct contact; you could just drop little care packages on their doorstep until things pass. The important thing is to give whatever support you can, because now is the time to go above and beyond.
4. Donate What You Can
People need help more than ever, especially those with health issues, low incomes or those whose working lives have been interrupted by cancelled events, travel or government guidelines. Thankfully, there are loads of ways you can donate to people. Visit The Trussell Trust to find a food bank near you and start donating food, toiletries, money, or even your time; or go online to find out how you could give or volunteer to aid organisations doing all they can to keep things running. You could even help blood banks meet the need for blood, platelets and plasma, which are needed more than ever with so many blood drives being cancelled in certain areas.
5. Practise Kindness
What’s going on in the world right now is uncharted territory for all of us. The nurses in our hospitals, the cashiers keeping the supermarkets open, the teachers putting in an extra effort to give our kids some sense of norm, our neighbours with underlying health issues. Everyone has been chucked into the deep end of the unknown, and that’s why we need to practise kindness more than ever. Share your favourite stress-busting techniques on your IG stories, send your colleagues any anxiety-reducing exercises you’ve come across, contact the families of your neighbours to offer any help they might need, smile at strangers, support those around you and try to lift the spirits of everyone you come across -- it could make a world of difference.
6. Share Information Responsibly
At a time when hysteria spreads like wildfire and panic can be born out of single Facebook status, one of the best things you can do is help share trustworthy stories and explanations related to the coronavirus by seeking them out from reputable sources, such as unbiased media outlets, government agencies, hospitals and nonprofit health organisations. But don’t just share news; share scenes of love, hope and positivity too. We’re all uncertain of what the future holds and what will happen before things get better again, but there are amazing stories of community spirit and overwhelming compassion that could lift those in your world at a time when the whole world needs it.