Joyful Living

How Do I Help?

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” – Barack Obama

Salut!

The state of the world with coronavirus has me thinking. Thinking about my own life, thinking about the lives of others, thinking about the future of work, economics, and health.

I am lucky. Almost every morning, I wake up and take my temperature, and I sigh in relief that it’s normal. I make coffee. I walk Le Chien. And for a moment, I forget.

Then an icy hand grips my heart as I think about the tens of thousands of people who are sick, or out of work, or stuck in big cities or small apartments (or both). Or worse. I think about the fear and the pain this crisis causes people worldwide, from my home state of Vermont to Italy, from Iran to Australia, no longer just faraway places I vaguely acknowledge before changing the channel or flipping the page.

Not one to shy away from an existential crisis, I tend to think, overthink, and rethink through issues, problems, and concerns. My anxieties have shifted from the petty and personal (Did I pass the bar exam? When can I get a haircut again?) to the bigger picture: how badly will the global economy suffer? How will the healthcare workers keep up? How will we live in a post-corona world? What can I do to help?

But the right question to ask is not how can I help, because I certainly can help. I can always help. But I am at a loss at what to do that actually helps others during the coronavirus pandemic. I feel impotent and ineffectual, and guilty for hiding in my house.

Based on what I’ve read, heard, and discussed with others, from friends and family to colleagues and neighbors, the following are things we can all do to help, starting right now.

1. Stay Home

Baking koulouria, traditional cookies for Greek Easter

No, seriously. Stay. Home. It may not be sexy or fun. It may be boring and lame. But now is the time to be lame, people. No more spring break. No more coronavirus parties (really?). Take it from a lame homebody: staying home is the coolest thing you can do right now.

Some people can’t stay home due to jobs as essential workers or other responsibilities. For those of use who can stay home and work from home, we have no excuse not to.

2. Donate

Food banks also need home and personal care products

Another thing you can do, if your budget and circumstances allow, is donate. Organizations like local food banks, Frontline Foods, and the Humane Society are still operational. And as the need for meals and shelter for animals is only increasing during the pandemic, they need our support more than ever.

You can also consider virtually tipping for restaurants and deliveries and donating to facilities that provide programs for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery.

3. Support Local Businesses

After the biweekly grocery shop, with helper

I’m not an economist, but I can see how the coronavirus pandemic is destroying the service industry and will continue to gut businesses and the economy. You can help by trying to support local businesses. Buy gift cards for salons, gift stores, and shops that you can use or give away later. Many restaurants, bars, and retailers offer delivery, take out, or curbside pickup.

We recently ordered take out from a local restaurant and hosted a dinner party at home. Last weekend, Mon Mari called in an order at the hardware store and arranged a no-contact pickup: call on arrival, wait in car for items to be brought outside and left on curb, put inside vehicle. All with gloves and a mask.

4. Find Reliable Information

We’ve all heard of fake news. We know the havoc wrought by the misinformation and disinformation spread online and in the media during the 2016 presidential election in the United States, with disastrous consequences.

Making sure you get coronavirus news and information from reliable sources is paramount. The virus is novel and things are changing daily, almost hourly at times. Find a trustworthy source for up-to-date, reliable COVID-19 information and stick with it: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, or your state’s department of health.

Again, the most important thing to do is stay home. A self-avowed homebody, I love being at home. But I get it’s a drag for some, as is being ordered to shelter in place. Americans often don’t want to be told what to do. We’re independent and strong-willed. The culture of independence and liberty is imprinted onto our collective consciousness. I totally get it; I live in New England.

But this is the time to set aside personal convictions for the collective good. We must start thinking about how our actions affect others and accept that social distancing and staying home benefit us all. And, in a world with coronavirus, saves lives.

Flattening the curve is in our hands. We owe it to ourselves and each other, and to all the essential workers sacrificing for us, to do our part. So I am doing the most important thing I can right now: staying home. And baking.

What are your ideas for how to help during the pandemic?

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,

Katie

2 thoughts on “How Do I Help?”

  1. Lovely piece of advice! Thank you, Katie. I have found that on top of your list, reaching out to talk with people, sending them motivational messages, and even offering prayer helps to brighten someone’s day.

    Liked by 1 person

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