As a self-proclaimed introvert, I always thought I enjoyed my alone time more than my social time, but spending one more minute alone is literally the last thing I want to be doing right now. After (only) a week of social distancing I just want a hug, even just to sit next to someone and not worry about if they cough.
As humans, we crave social interaction. So for most of us, self-isolation just doesn’t seem natural, and because of this many of us are still engaging in social gatherings. Like these spring breakers in Florida, who just couldn’t stay away.
But researchers say that social distancing is, in fact, the key to reducing the spread of infection. They claim that it can make a difference if we act on it early enough. But on the other hand, being isolated can cause extreme depression and anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and an overall feeling of unhappiness.
And each of us in isolation and in constant state of worry without a clear end in sight, means a lot of unhappy people. So keeping morale high is extremely important right now. And we as humans also like to do good. For those of us with a lot of extra time on our hands now (pretty much all of us), who are seeking ways to engage in our communities and help those who are unable to help themselves, here are three important and easy ways to do just that.
1. Follow the Rules
The most basic yet important thing you can do for others is to follow the rules set out by your government. Hand-washing and self-isolation are the two main ways in which you can help others by not passing along any possible germs you may have. If you aren’t feeling well, stay home. Do not go into your workplace to possibly infect others. I can’t stress this point enough right now!
2. Volunteer Remotely
You can volunteer to “Support and Befriend” seniors who are isolated through organizations such as Alone. Since seniors are at a higher risk for the coronavirus, it is important that they stay completely isolated at this time. And of course, as you all know by now, being isolated is extremely difficult, which is why this organization is so important. You can volunteer remotely by calling and talking to a senior. It really makes a difference in their lives.
Volunteering at Crisis Text Line is another great way to help others during this trying time. “Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely — anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection works.”
Schools are closed now, which means students are having to do online classes. If you’ve ever taken an online class, then you know how hard it can be to concentrate and a lot of times student’s grades will suffer due to this. Organizations like I Could Be pairs volunteers with students remotely for free tutoring sessions.
3. Be Neighborly
Apps like Nextdoor allow you to connect with others who live within a five block radius of you. You can use it to check in with them and offer to help if they are unable to help themselves at this time.
Write a letter, or if you have kids encourage them to write a letter or a postcard to your neighbors. Who doesn’t love getting a letter?! If this is too risky for you, or if you think you may be sick, use technology to reach out. Use email or text to send a message or a picture to brighten someone’s day. I don’t know about you, but seeing anyone’s face other than my own in the mirror is pure gold right now.
It’s been wonderful to read all of the news about the acts of kindness going on within communities all over the world. This is truly a dark time, but little by little, the goodness of our people is bringing in a little more light.
Have you found a service particularly helpful, or have you received help from another that brightened your day?
Photos: Valenas, Cook, Smith, CDC, Park, Collamer; Unsplash.