While most countries in the world are currently under lock down, many people are wondering what they can do to help others while staying at home. Check out these ways to help your community as we all face battle against the Coronavirus pandemic in these unprecedented times.
Stay up to date with the current news on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – World Health Organization
WHO recommends the following protective measures against the virus:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- When coughing/sneezing, use a tissue and dispose immediately, or cough into your elbow.
- Stay home if sick
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
- Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
- Wear a face covering or mask when out in public
If you are a health care professional or essential worker, and are dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, and/or fear, then you are eligible for free crisis counseling. Text FRONTLINE for FREE crisis counseling from For the Frontlines. For USA text 741741, UK text 85258, Canada text 741741, and Ireland text 086 1800 280.
If you are not an essential worker but still experiencing a crisis or stress, then text HOME to connect with a Crisis Counselor for FREE 24/7 support. For the US and Canada: text 741741. For the UK: text 85258. For Ireland: text 086 1800 280. Free support is offered from Crisis Text Line. You are not alone.
In the U.S., we have now been under lock down for six weeks. As some states start to plan to reopen slowly, we may still be feeling a lot of anxiety about the current pandemic.
Did you know that by helping others, you can decrease your own anxiety by focusing on someone else?* Or maybe you would just like to help contribute to your community, or the global effort of battling COVID-19. Maybe you want to help but don’t have the monetary means to do so.
Luckily, there are many ways to help out now as the world unites together as one. Even if you cannot contribute financially, there are other means of doing good for your neighbors.
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Ways to help during the Coronavirus pandemic:
The number one way you can help during the lock down is by staying home which helps to slow the spread. Follow your state’s guidelines to help healthcare workers on the front line, essential workers, and those who are elderly or immunocompromised.
Check on your neighbors and see how they are doing with the lock down. (But still maintain social distancing!)
Offer to go grocery shopping for those who are elderly, for those who may be immunocompromised, or for those that are single parents and may not be able to shop without their children in tow.
If you can sew, then make face masks to donate to your local hospital, or to essential workers.
Consider ordering takeout from local restaurants that may be slow, or consider purchasing a gift card from them to use later.
Likewise, consider purchasing a gift card for other small, local businesses that may be closed due to the lock down.
Write a letter to someone who is elderly and may be lonely with Love for the Elderly. Or donate to their program.
If you are staying at home, consider becoming a crisis counselor with the Crisis Text Line to help others who may be experiencing increased difficulties with this new normal.
Donate blood to the American Red Cross. There is a critical shortage for blood donations right now. Please consider donating blood to help ensure your local hospitals do not also experience a shortage.
If you have had COVID-19 and have recovered, then consider donating plasma to help those who are currently sick.
Consider writing letters, making paracord survival bracelets, or making another homemade item to include in a care package for our first responders, health care workers, and military personnel, through Operation Gratitude.
If you know a military family, check in with them. They may have a service member who is currently on deployment, or who may be gearing up to leave for deployment soon. If they have a service member who is already on deployment and was expected to return shortly, it may have been extended. A worldwide crisis can make these already difficult circumstances much more hard for these families during these times.
Consider fostering or adopting a pet from your local animal shelter. As shelters and rescue facilities reduce services, many animals are in need of care. If you can take in an animal at this time, please consider doing so.
Send gifts in the mail to family and friends. Do you have an elderly relative that is scared and possibly living alone at home or in a facility? Or a niece, nephew, or grandchild that you miss seeing in person? Send them a card in the mail or a gift from Amazon Prime to cheer them up.
Share positive news on Facebook, and limit the amount of posts you share about politics, the virus, and frightening media stories. Don’t post medical advice that doesn’t come from a reliable source.
I personally take breaks from going on Facebook because scrolling through my feed gives me a lot of anxiety. I love when my friends post memes, funny videos, or just positive news about the pandemic.
Even better, when they don’t mention it at all. Everyone is dealing with the lock down in their own way, and for some these posts may be triggering. By simply avoiding sharing tragic news, you could help improve your friends’ sense of well-being.
Leave some toilet paper or hand sanitizer out for your delivery drivers to show your gratitude.
Tip your grocery delivery drivers more than you usually would have before the lock down. They are most likely continuing to work because they have to in order to make ends meet, and a higher tip can help their families right now.
Have your children create signs to thank essential workers such as grocery or restaurant delivery drivers, Fedex, UPS, USPS, Amazon Prime, lawn service, waste and recycling companies, etc. that thanks them for their hard work and leave it for them to see. Those that have to continue to work through the lock down might appreciate this small and simple gesture, and it could put a smile on their face that they may need that day.
Put a stuffed bear, or a rainbow in your window for people to see as they take a walk around the neighborhood or drive by.
Write an inspiring and uplifting message in chalk on your driveway for others to see as they drive or walk by.
Participate in birthday drive by trains for those who are celebrating their special day in the midst of lock down to help them feel less alone.
Set up weekly family Zoom calls to stay connected to those you love and miss the most. This can help boost your family’s morale.
Continue to give money to your church and other local charities.
Purchase your groceries from local farmers to help them stay in business.
Know that it is normal to not be okay during this time. Most of us have never lived through something like this before.
You do not have to be doing home projects, baking bread, and spreading good news on the internet, just because others are. You do not have to help others if you feel like you are unable to right now.
If all you can manage to do is to feed your kids, and binge-watch a TV series in your pajama’s all day, that’s okay, too! You need to do what you can to survive and to take care of your family. And by staying home as much as possible, you are STILL helping by slowing the spread.
Stay safe and be well.
Do you have an idea of how to help that wasn’t listed above? Leave a comment below!
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Greenstein, Luna. “How Helping Others Can Help You.” National Alliance on Mental Illness, 16 December 2016, https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2016/How-Helping-Others-Can-Help-You