How to show kindness in turbulent times

We’re living in turbulent times. COVID-19 has taken the world by storm—according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are now more than 150,000 cases globally. 

As these numbers grew to what they are today, so did the panic, fear and uncertainty around the world. Headline after headline and post after post, there seems to be no escape from the wrath of the coronavirus.

And the stress caused by the pandemic is so great and overwhelming, that it’s easy to forget how important it is to simply be kind to one another and get through this together. There’s strength in numbers, and you never know how much hope an ounce of compassion can bring when people need it most.

So, no matter how hectic things get, it’s imperative that we not forget to be good to one another. Here are some simple ways you can do that.

Show compassion

The chaos brought on by this virus incites frustration, anger, fear and anxiety. These feelings can blind us to the fact that so many people may have it worse than us.

While some people complain about staying at home, others don’t have a home to seek safety in during the outbreak. And while people are bummed about canceled vacations, others are sick and may not recover.

In fact, coronavirus has taken well over 6,000 lives around the world to date, according to the WHO.

So while, yes, we’re entitled to our feelings, let’s not be oblivious to those who aren’t as blessed as we are. Instead, let’s show some compassion, pray and be mindful of those who are struggling right now—those who are sick, mourning a loss, homeless or have to work in harm’s way to keep us safe or put food on the table for their families. Let’s show them we care.

Be considerate

It’s crucial to be prepared for situations beyond our control (like the one we’re living in now), but that doesn’t mean we become selfish or inconsiderate in the process. 

Media outlets across the country are reporting shortages on essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, water, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and more. And it’s not because there wasn’t enough for everyone. It’s because people are stockpiling enough supplies to last for months. 

So, as you stock up on items, be considerate of your fellow humans. Remember those single parents who need to work instead of lining up at stores first thing in the morning for formula or diapers for their children.

Don’t forget about the medical workers in need of hand sanitizer and face masks, who are likely to be exposed to the virus daily. And keep in mind that some older adults aren’t able to make it to the store regularly for basic necessities

Take only what you need and remember to leave resources for those who really need it, and if you have more than enough supplies for your family, consider sharing with those who aren’t so lucky.

Help the vulnerable

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified older adults and individuals with pre-existing health conditions—such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease—as being at higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus.

If you’re healthy and able, help keep them from exposure by offering to get their groceries and other needed items, picking up their prescriptions and running necessary errands.

Call and check on them, and listen to their worries and concerns. Talk to them about other things to keep their mind off of the stressors and cheer them up. Be someone they can turn to in what can be a very isolating and lonely time.

Share joy

As you spend more time with family, friends and others in your household practicing social distancing, make the most of it. Don’t dwell on the negative, and use this extended time together to make new memories and share joy with one another.

Play and make forts with your kids, put together puzzles with your spouse or watch movies with your roommates. Cook together, have quality conversations and really bond with one another. Do enjoyable things that make you all happy.

Making the most of these uncertain times ensures that when you look back, you’ll remember great times had with your loved ones rather than memories clouded with fear. 

Maintain connection

Stay connected with the people in your life—coworkers, classmates, people from your congregation and so on—even if you can’t meet in person right now. Check in with them regularly by phone, text or video call to see how everyone is coping with the COVID-19 turmoil. 

Start a text thread to stay in contact. Support one another and offer regular encouragement. Keep each other going during these tough times.

You can even do fun things like Skype coffee or lunch dates, or even a virtual dinner party where you all cook the same meal from your own homes to share via video call. Bring out the laughter and smiles in each other whenever possible.

Just be kind

Even when the world feels like it’s falling apart, embrace kindness. As news continues to flood your social media feeds, think before you comment or engage in negativity. Use these platforms to uplift others instead.

Offer words of gratitude to the people working around the clock to contain the virus. Email friends or loved ones a gift card for coffee or takeout so they have one less thing to worry about. Donate to organizations, like The Salvation Army, who are lending a helping hand in their communities to restore some level of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because the truth is, the disarray caused by this virus outbreak has the potential to bring out the worst in us. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. Let’s choose to be kind instead.

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