Although the current COVID-19 pandemic is only temporary, we’ve all felt the impact it is leaving on our lives and the shift to what many are referring to as the ‘new normal’. We must remember that while our individual lives are impacted, it’s really important that we all pull together to help our community cope with the impacts of the current health scare.
Our communities have faced some huge changes in the past few weeks. Supplies are limited, many of us are confined to our homes, jobs have been lost or are at stake, and some of our favourite events have been forced to postpone. That being said, many of us are fortunate enough to be in a position where we can safely help those in our communities who need it the most.
There’s a lot to be said about the small acts of kindness we can show our neighbours to help reduce the stress on our community. Read on to see how you can help change the coronavirus from viral pandemic to kindness pandemic.
Neighbours – we’ve all got them! Some live 2m away in the next apartment and some live 2km down the outback road! Now is the perfect time to reach out and offer your assistance – even if you’ve never really met them. The elderly and those who are immunocompromised or considered high risk, have been asked to stay home and self-isolate to minimise their risk of exposure to COVID-19, so simple tasks like doing a weekly grocery shop or picking up prescriptions have become near impossible.
But how do I help them AND stay safe?
Safety is first and foremost. The last thing you want is to do a good deed and end up sick yourself.
Here are some ways to reach out to your neighbours and community:
- Jump online and join or create a community group for your area
- You can ask if anyone needs help and organise contactless pick-up and delivery of groceries, prescription items etc.
- Offer your services over the phone
- Many elderly people do not regularly check their emails – a phone call may be a welcome social interaction
- If you don’t have your neighbour’s phone number… ask for it!
- Leave your neighbours a note
- Drop it in their mailbox or leave it at their door
- Why not leave them a roll of toilet paper or something fun with your note?
- Drop it in their mailbox or leave it at their door
Remember to ensure all your interactions with your neighbours and other community members are contactless and safe. It may feel a bit funny to help someone by talking to them through a door or dropping groceries off and leaving without staying for a cup of tea, but the current government restrictions are in place to help keep everyone safe.
Many of us with families have a stockpile of supplies for “just in case” scenarios. With supply shortages all over the country, donating your extra supplies could really help someone who might not have been able to get hold of them for the past few weeks. If you find yourself with an excess of non-perishables or toiletries like soap, tissues or toilet paper, consider donating your excess to those in need.
You can also help others through your weekly shop – why not buy a few extra non-perishables and drop them into your local community centre? Or put out a call to your neighbours and ask them if they need anything? You can drop it off at their door on your way home (contactless of course).
Another way you can help with extra supplies is by not over-buying! Be sure to buy only what you need or are going to donate to your community – that way, the rest of the community can do the same! Lead by example!
Support your local businesses
Communities are bigger than just a postcode of people living nearby! They include local businesses that really rely on your support to stay afloat. While there are restrictions on international and even some interstate goods, buying local is a great way to support Australian businesses. If you have the means, even making a small purchase at your local coffee shop can help out! Most small businesses have a way to purchase online and many offer contactless payment and pickup!
Postpone – Don’t Cancel
Our beautiful country thrives on tourism. Australia offers so many different landscapes and scenic views it’s no wonder even the locals want to explore it!
While the new restrictions are inhibiting your grand travel plans, why not postpone your plans rather than cancelling them altogether? Most hotels, holiday parks, caravan parks etc have changed their rules on refunds, credits and cancellations in response to the pandemic. They need your support!
If your holidays have been affected consider standing in solidarity with the travel sector and postpone your holiday until next year to support the destinations you love – especially those that are family-owned and run!
Show Some Patience
Even if you’re unable to donate supplies, give blood, or risk exposure, you can still help ease the stress on your community and those around you by showing a little bit of patience towards others. Remember that everyone is operating under a heightened amount of stress, fear and uncertainty. Show some extra patience when lining up for groceries or when waiting for the car in front to move; all those tiny little things that on a regular day would have you blasting your car horn or asking to speak to the manager – try to take a breath and let them go. Remember – a little kindness towards others goes a long way!
Say Thank You
Saying thank you can really help raise morale! Our industries have been hit really hard in many different ways. Some have ground to a halt, while others are working overtime.
Doctors, nurses and supermarket staff are just a few examples of those who have been working overtime to help our community get through this crisis. Ironically, they are also some of the worst affected with abuse and violence in the face of shortages and queues.
Think outside the box – to your garbage man, city cleaners, service station attendants, teachers etc – all putting their health on the line when they go to work each day!
Similar to showing more patience to the people around us, we should be showing more kindness to those who are working on the front line to help us get through.
Some nice words of thanks and appreciation could be all they need to put a smile on their faces after a long day of stress and frustration.
Remember, we will all get through this tough time if we take care and follow the official health guidelines and restrictions put in place to keep us safe.
How we go through this crisis is how we’ll come out of it!
Join us in turning the viral pandemic into a kindness pandemic
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