We’ve been pondering how to make the best use of the time while we’re social distancing and sheltering in place. We believe that one way to do so is to care for others, but how can we do that right now? Here are a few ideas to consider:
Take Care of Yourself (So Others Don’t Have To)
Don’t be the person who thinks they’re immune to this virus. You might feel completely healthy today, but two of the most loving things you can do for your family, friends, and community are:
Take Precautions So You Are Less Likely To Contract COVID-19
If you are taking necessary precautions, your loved ones will be able to rest easier knowing you are taking the situation seriously. It can be a load off their shoulders if they don’t have to worry about you making risky decisions.
(Related: Read the CDC’s advised prevention tips here.)
Make A Plan In Case You Do Get Sick
If you test positive for the virus, do you have a plan? Do you understand the symptoms enough to know at what point you must seek medical attention? Have you had an Advance Medical Directive drawn up? Do your loved ones know your wishes? Do you have a legally binding end-of-life plan should it come to that?
We don’t think now is a time to panic, but we all need to be prepared. Forming and communicating a plan to those closest to you will help them know better how to help you if you get sick.
(Related: 3 Legal Tips as You Face the Coronavirus)
Support Local Businesses and Nonprofits
Acting responsibly and putting a plan in place are by far the two most crucial ways you can care for others. After those, turn your mind to others’ specific needs. One great way to do so is to support local businesses and nonprofits as much as you are able.
This will depend upon your financial situation, of course, but it’s a huge way to care for others and our community at large.
Think about the trickle effect of what’s happening- small businesses provide many jobs, which support many families, but many of those small businesses are struggling. If you need some type of service or carryout, consider supporting local businesses rather than big corporations at this time.
Consider nonprofits too. Take Blue Ridge Hospice here in Winchester as one example (although there are others as well). It’s a nonprofit organization that serves our area’s terminally ill and their families in enormous ways. But if the gifts and endowments they receive start to decrease because of an economic downturn, they won’t be able to reach nearly as many people at a time when those people need help more than ever.
If we want to care for others around us, we’ve got to keep small businesses and vital nonprofits running.
Make a List of People to Call
Here’s one you can do from the comfort of your couch – make a list of people to call and check in on. We’re trying to get creative with this by putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. It’s wonderful to call family or a close friend, but how about calling that elderly gentleman down the street, or your great-aunt you haven’t spoken to in a while?
Who do you imagine will be most vulnerable to loneliness and fear right now?
As we’ve called to check in on our clients and friends, we’ve realized how much some people just need to hear a friendly voice. So call those people you are wondering about. It’ll mean the world to them if you brighten their day by breaking up their long hours alone.
Write Letters to Loved Ones
Short of actually spending time with someone you care about, we can think of nothing better than receiving handwritten letters from that person. Especially when the days are getting long from social distancing. In our fast-paced lives letter writing is quickly becoming a lost art, but since many of us have extra time on our hands, this is a great way to make someone else feel loved and thought of.
Of course, you need to weigh the risk of circulating something physical; if you have any signs of COVID-19, do not put paper or envelopes you’ve touched into the postal service where it will contact several other people and eventually, your loved one.
This is also a great time to start writing your Ethical Will, which you can share now or at the end of your life. Ethical Wills are meant to pass your most important values on to your loved ones, and many people write them in the form of a letter.
Follow Guidelines for Going Out
The governor of Virginia has ordered all of us to stay home unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to go out for food or other essentials, be smart about it. Follow all the safety guidelines we’ve been given. Being considerate in this way shows that you care for other people and their health as well as your own.
Carry Disinfectant and Use It Liberally (We Thank You!)
Grab your disinfectant of choice, and use it as freely as you can to help others. Think outside the box – like disinfecting your mailbox to help protect your mailman, using it on the pump handle at the gas station, or taking it with you into grocery stores to wipe down the cart before and after you use it. Again, you’ll not only be protecting yourself but helping to protect others too.
We’re still seeing certain clients when essential, and we can testify firsthand how much we appreciate those who take safety measures as much as they appreciate us disinfecting our lobby and keeping the 6 ft. rule. We all need to work together to keep each other safe.
(Related: Read our response to COVID-19 if you are needing to come in to sign documents with us.)
There is always a way to love and care for other people, even in this strange time of social distancing. As you shelter in place, keep brainstorming how you can reach out to others from afar. We’re taking it one day at a time, and we’re going to get through this – together.