Things We Can Do to Help

For a lot of us, this has been an odd time in terms of motivation and productivity. For the most part, we’ve all been taught at one point or another — probably even subconsciously — that staying in the house for days or weeks at a time is inherently lazy and antisocial. Even outside of societal expectations, most of us probably don’t want to be stuck in the house either. At our core, humans are social creatures (yes, even introverts!) and going long periods of time without any face-to-face interaction with people outside of the group you live with can be difficult for a lot of us. And when staying home has been equated to a lack of productivity for almost all of our lives, it’s difficult to feel like we’re doing any good for the rest of society by doing so.

Personally, I’ve really started to feel this over the last week. While I know that staying home is realistically the right thing to do when it comes to keeping the virus from spreading even mores than it already has, staying up until two o’ clock in the morning playing Final Fantasy doesn’t exactly make me feel like I’m being a productive member of society. But the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of things that we can do, even from home, that will help both ourselves and those around us while we’re socially distancing. 

One thing I’ve found myself consciously doing more often now than I did before is going out of my way to support small business when I can. If that’s something you’re interested, I think that Etsy is a great place to start! A lot of the shop owners there have started making “pandemic essentials” like reusable cloth masks and hand sanitizer (which have become increasingly more difficult to find in big name storefront businesses), so purchasing from these small shops can be a win-win if you’ve been struggling to find these things. Not only will you be getting a product that you need, but you’ll be helping people whose businesses may be suffering during the economic hardships we’ve seen since we began social distancing. There are plenty of Etsy shops that sell other things too, so if you find yourself in need of anything from a birthday gift for a family member to some home decor to spruce up your living space, you can keep that in mind too! 

Likewise, my family and I have been trying to order take-out every so often to help keep local restaurants afloat while they’re closed for dine-in services. If you have the financial means to do this, it’s another thing that I’ve found to be a win-win. You get delicious food and the restaurant makes a profit! And don’t forget to tip your driver, as they’re out putting in a lot of hard work too!

You might be wondering, however, if it’s safe to be bringing things into your home from outside sources during the midst of a virus outbreak. Even my dad has been wary of getting take-out recently as the number of cases in our county continues to increase. The CDC, however, has been pretty adamant that the virus doesn’t spread through food, and that the likelihood of contracting the virus from a package or food container is low. With that being said, a little extra precaution can’t hurt, as this Washington Post article suggests removing food from the take-out containers and eating it off of your own plates with your own utensils instead. 

The things that I’ve mentioned so far have both included spending money, and I’m definitely aware of the fact that a lot of people aren’t in a place financially to be spending on anything outside of essentials at the moment. With that being said, there is plenty you can do to help that doesn’t come at a monetary cost. Even doing something as simple as checking in on your friends and family via text or phone call can be invaluable at a time like this. A lot of people are potentially struggling with their mental health, especially with us having been locked away from the rest of the world for over a month now, and one of the most important things that you can do for those people is to make sure that they know you’re there for them. If you’re an artist of any sort, you can create and share it with the people around you or even across the internet. It could very well be something that will make people smile in a time that’s so difficult for so many. 

All of the things that I’ve mentioned in this post are small gestures, especially in comparison to those who are out working on the front lines, but in a situation like this, even a little bit can go a long way. I know from experience that it can be difficult to feel like you’re doing anything worthwhile while you’re cooped up at home, but at the end of the day, there are a lot of things that we can do to help out even from the comfort of our own homes. And I do hope that thinking about this helps if you’re feeling particularly underproductive today! 

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