From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was not something that we, as a human race, were prepared for. Touch is a typical human response. If someone is sad, we hug them. If someone does a good job, we give them a high-five. Even something as simple as shaking hands when you greet someone can put your life at risk.
A lot of us have been lucky and have not contracted the Coronavirus, but to maintain this safety, we have had to embrace the fact that we have to remain quarantined. As long as our health is favorable, we can go to the grocery store and grab the essentials, but some around us do not have that luxury. That is why being a better friend and neighbor during our time of crisis is essential.
What are 15 things that you can do to be a better friend and neighbor during this time of isolation?
1. REACH OUT VIA PHONE CALL OR MESSAGING
Having a conversation with another person for at least 30 minutes each day has a lot of mental health value attached to it. This value isn’t just for the person you talk to, but for yourself as well. While we are in quarantine situations, we tend to equate it with social isolation, but that is not what is being asked of the world. Pick up your phone and have a conversation or send a text to see how someone is holding up during this situation.
2. SHARE ERRANDS TO LIMIT OUTSIDE EXPOSURES
When you run out of something, and you have to plan a trip to the store, call people you know and see if they need anything from the store as well. Take turns doing this to help reduce multiple exposures. They can leave the requested items by your door, and you can do the same. This might be especially helpful if you know someone who is at a higher risk for contracting the Coronavirus.
3. SHARE SUPPLIES
If you find that you have more essential supplies than you need, reach out and see if there is anyone who can use them. No person needs 75 rolls of toilet paper at one time. The elderly generally live on a fixed income that has to last them for an entire month. Reach out and see if anyone needs a few extra rolls. You probably won’t even notice they are gone.
4. DECLUTTER AND CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET
You have stuff. Over the years, you have accumulated things that you don’t even know why you have them. How about some Spring cleaning and decluttering? Instead of posting a bunch of these items online, see if someone you know needs them. Donate the stuff to a church. Just because services aren’t happening traditionally, that doesn’t mean that the pastor isn’t aware of someone who is in need.
5. OFFER TO HELP OTHERS CLEAN
Some people cannot handle the fumes of cleaning products. We know that disinfecting is extremely important right now, so reach out and see if you can help someone with this task. You may even know someone who is just not physically able to do this kind of cleaning, offer to help them.
6. PUT OUT SOMEONE’S TRASH AND BRING MAIL TO THEIR DOOR
It might be a little easier to pull this off in a city or suburban setting due to the closer proximity of housing. Offer to help someone with their trash and trash bins that are not able to do it on their own right now. If you get your mail by the road, go ahead and grab your neighbor’s mail and put it by their door.
7. OFFER YARD MAINTENANCE AND DOG WALKING
Just because we have become quarantined doesn’t mean the grass has stopped growing or the dog understands. If you are already outside mowing your lawn, ask your neighbor if they need theirs mowed too. The same applies if you are taking your dog for a walk, see if they want their dog to join yours (hopefully, the two canines are friends). Either way, offer to lend a hand when you can.
8. START A COMMUNITY GARDEN
A community garden has numerous benefits attached to it. Not only can you practice social distancing while working on it, but you can also get some sunlight while you do it. Once things start growing, you have fresh food to eat. This is something that can bring a lot of people together and unite a community.
9. GET OUT AND GET ACTIVE
You will still need to social distance at this time, but you can still take a walk with a friend as long as you both are feeling healthy enough to do so. If you still want to take extra precautions, set up a video chat while you walk.
10. SHARE ONLINE INTERESTING FINDS WITH ONE ANOTHER
Since everyone has to stay home right now, a lot of museums and zoos are offering virtual tours or special live feeds. If you come across something like this, share it with everyone you know so that they have another option to bust the boredom.
11. CREATE A SOCIAL DISTANCE BOOK OR TELEVISION SHOW CLUB
Just because you cannot hold a traditional book club or meeting to discuss a television show, it doesn’t mean that you can’t hold a Zoom conference with your friends and discuss these things. Pick a show or a book and break it down. Pick chapters or episodes to review at a scheduled date and time together. Once the quarantine is over, you can get together to discuss things for real.
12. MAKE CARDS, NOTES, OR CARE PACKAGES TO DELIVER
If you have kids, this is an excellent way to get them involved in their community. Have them make cards and other positive notes. Put together fun care packages with the notes and cards to deliver throughout your neighborhood. You would be surprised what a little act of kindness can do for someone’s day.
13. SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS
There are several ways you can support the small businesses in your area. Purchasing gift cards is one of the ways that these businesses are trying to bring in revenue right now. Some of them are even offering discounted prices for full dollar amount cards. If you have small businesses that prepare food and are offering curbside service or delivery, order food to help support those businesses we all love.
14. DONATE BLOOD
Right now, there is a shortage in the emergency blood supply around the world. If you can donate blood, there is no better way to be a good neighbor and friend during this time than giving the gift of life.
15. LEND AN EAR
Sometimes just being the ear that listens is enough to make a difference during this desperate time. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people in different ways. Be the difference to someone.
Now is the time to become the glimmer of hope for someone else. Those who are vulnerable to the Coronavirus are feeling extremely isolated during this time, but they do not have to be. Being a good friend and a neighbor means helping out your community when you can. We are in this together, and together we can keep each other safe.
AT IRIS WRITING INTERNATIONAL, WE TAKE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND YOUR HEALTH SERIOUSLY. MAKE SURE YOU ARE CHECKING BACK TO READ NEW ARTICLES AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES THAT ADDRESS THE ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE THAT ARE BEING AFFECTED BY THE CRISIS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.