These are unprecedented times, and all of the sudden, surreal changes to our daily lives have left most of us reeling—feeling uncertain, isolated, and somewhat helpless. Here at The Simple Folk, we talk a lot about the importance of family and community, and this is a time to honor the fact that there’s nothing more beautiful than human kindness.
Now more than ever, acts of kindness and empathy are the healing balms we all crave, and the thing we need to remember is that each of us, no matter how we’ve been affected, still has the power to spread that medicine...at least in some small way.
If you’re wondering what you can do to restore a sense of caring, connection, and hope right now, we’ve put together some ideas that we hope will empower you to let your uniquely beautiful light shine.
Call Your Parents and Grandparents
It’s painful not to be able to visit your older relatives (or anyone else!) right now—and your parents or grandparents may be feeling even more lonely and trapped than you are. While you may not be able to share a warm embrace with loved ones, reaching out with a call to see how they’re doing and to let them know you’re okay can warm their souls across the miles.
Can you come up with a funny story to make Grandpa laugh? Or share something that will distract Mom or Dad to create a sense of normalcy? Picking up the phone may not seem like much, but your call could be the best part of your loved one’s day today, and the thing that helps her stay strong for tomorrow.
Check in on Friends and Neighbors
Travel restrictions and trying to stay six feet away from every other human being definitely puts a damper on community spirit. Restore that connection by checking in regularly to see how your neighbors and friends are doing. Even a simple text message asking if someone is all right or if they need anything will make someone you care about feel so much less alone.
Ready to take things further? How about scheduling a virtual luncheon or block party online over Zoom or Skype? For both us and our children, being able to see the faces of people you care about in real time and sharing in friendly conversation brings a powerful sense of togetherness and optimism.
Grocery Shop for Elders and the Immunocompromised
Older people and those who have underlying health conditions may not be able to safely shop for groceries, medicines, and other essentials they need right now. If you can still make regular trips to the supermarket or pharmacy, shopping for those more at risk can be literally lifesaving.
To protect yourself and others, it makes sense to wear gloves while you’re at the store, and to let the people you’re shopping for know that you’ll be leaving packages at their door rather than coming in close contact to hand groceries over.
Can’t get to the store yourself either? You can still help! There are likely a number of grocery, produce, and meal delivery options in your area that your older friends or those with health challenges may not be aware of or know how to access. You can research these services for them, and help a homebound friend set up door-to-door delivery so they can feel safe and secure.
Buy Gift Cards from Local Small Businesses
With social distancing becoming the new norm, small businesses are really suffering. Buying gift cards from your favorite neighborhood cafes, restaurants, and shops is like giving them a no-interest loan when they need it most. Give the cards you purchase as gifts, or keep them for yourself to enjoy when times are better. Either way you’ll know you’re doing your part to help small businesses stay afloat.
Stay Home Whenever Possible
The more we all stay home and don’t come into close contact with others, the sooner life can hopefully start to get back to normal. For Abi and I, we’re choosing to focus on nurturing our bonds with our children and immediate family. We’re playing more games, getting creative in our daily activities, and having long, thoughtful conversations we may not have made time for in the past.
Even if you’re young, healthy, and don’t feel personally at risk, it’s crucial to practice social distancing to protect others who are more vulnerable. Staying at home during this crisis isn’t only about self-preservation—it’s a heroic act of self sacrifice that could save untold lives.
Support Local and National Organizations
If you’re fortunate enough to have some spare funds during this time, there are countless organizations working hard to make a real difference—and they could really use your help. Here are a few of our favorites:
- No Kid Hungry: Serves lunches to over 30 million school children.
- Meals on Wheels: Delivers nutritious meals to vulnerable, homebound, and isolated seniors.
- National Domestic Workers Alliance: If you have someone caring for your kids or older family members, this is the organization that protects their rights and provides a safety net.
- One Fair Wage Emergency Fund: This organization fights to bring the full minimum wage to all tipped workers and provides cash assistance in times of crisis.
- Direct Relief: Coordinates globally with nonprofits, businesses, and public health authorities to bring personal protective equipment and other essential medical items to health workers caring for COVID-19 patients.
Residents of developing nations may face an even greater threat from COVID-19 than most of the world, due to their limited resources and lack of sufficient medical facilities. As part of The Simple Folk family, know you’re already lending a helping hand where it counts.
The Simple Folk stands shoulder to shoulder with the Change for Women collective, a legion of creative leaders spanning multiple industries propelled into action and standing together with one simple quest: to make a difference in the world by supporting health, human rights, and equality for women and girls everywhere.
Practice Self Care
There’s a reason you’re always instructed to put on your own oxygen mask first when flying. If you’re running on empty, you’re in no position to help anyone else. So during these challenging times, remember to be kind to yourself and recharge your batteries. Go for a walk alone in nature, listen to soothing music, meditate, journal, dance, or take an online exercise class. Prioritize whatever makes you feel healthy, whole, grounded, clear, and relaxed.
And while you’re at it, take the time to reflect on what parts of normal you’d like to return to. If we can use this global pause to collectively envision a better life on the other side of it all, we will be able to rise up as individuals, communities, and as a planet and rebuild in a way that is more congruent with our deepest selves. Together, we can redefine and upgrade our sense of normalcy.
In short, taking optimal care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually while connecting more deeply with those you love will enable you to give back and support those around you. And when you do that small, good thing, don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling stronger, more connected, and more hopeful too.
Wishing you and your family kindness, love, and good health.