During quarantine I posted Coronavirus: 10 Acts of Kindness and I was pleased to see the overwhelming response. So many of you shared and reached out to tell me how much you enjoyed the post and the things you were doing in your communities! Such a beautiful thing to be a part of! So I thought I’d write a follow up acts of kindness post for our new normal!
Most states and countries have begun to open and with that we are faced with different and unique challenges. It’s been difficult to navigate all the negativity and fear on social media and in our day to day lives. The lack of human connection, worry about both the virus and financial struggle along with the great unknown we’re facing heading into fall is beginning to wear on us all. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make a concerted effort to be kind and spread positivity! Check out these 10 post-quarantine acts of kindness and make a habit of at least one or two!
1. Spread Positivity
It seems like everywhere you look there’s angst and negativity. Currently many are suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression and buried in fear and worry. You can do something to change that! This is your opportunity to be the light in someone else’s world.
With fear and anxiety about socialization being at an all time high, many are looking to social media for connection, community, and support. It would be a kind gesture on everyone’s part to work to keep it positive. Now, don’t get me wrong… I know social media also provides a much-needed outlet for venting but whenever you get the chance, post something uplifting. And maybe be mindful of turning your negatives into positives.
Positivity is a Powerful Motivator
People are VERY responsive to praise! We can all work to reframe some of our frustration into positivity. For example, rather than telling everyone to wear masks or complaining when people don’t, we could praise those who do. Believe it or not this creates as much or more social pressure as telling people to wear them. Which means you’ll get your desired result faster. Plus, you’ll be spreading a reassuring and positive message, believing the best of others, and you’ll feel more uplifted as well.
Try to look for the good in your surroundings and mankind. You’re sure to find it and when you do. Spread the word!
2. Compliment Others
Speaking of wearing masks… no one can see each other’s faces now! Why does this matter? Well, for 2 reasons, first because there’s a well-studied psychological phenomenon that causes people to dehumanize each other when they can’t see faces. This means humans are more likely to instinctively behave rudely, defensively, and downright unkindly to others when they can’t see their faces. Secondly, no one can see your expressions and we count on that feedback for connection and reassurance.
Smiling at a passerby on the street or in the grocery store isn’t just a pleasantry. It’s a kindness we all count on that provides connection and validation. Without it many are left feeling lonely, isolated and sad. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make a point of deliberately creating connection and validation.
Thank your grocery store workers, compliment someone’s top (or better yet, their mask), go out of your way to verbally express kindness. Be generous and reassuring to others with your words and actions!
3. Safely Connect
No one knows what the future may hold, we may be facing another quarantine in the near future. The isolation has taken a tole on so many! While the weather is warm and being outside is an option it’s time to connect with those we love.
Go for socially distanced outdoor visits with friends and relatives you haven’t seen in a while. If you can, get them set up with any technology they may need to be able to connect if there’s another lock-down.
I know we’ve all been in a holding pattern and many of us are extremely busy playing catch up from the last lockdown, but we need to prioritize seeing our loved ones. It will make all the difference for them and us!
4. Make Quarantine Care Packages
As we’re talking about what may happen in the next few months it might be helpful to do something to prepare! Consider making quarantine care packages for friends, family and neighbors.
Get a small box or bag and place some fun items in it, a self-care thing or two, a letter or a card from you, and maybe a favorite recipe. Get the kids in on this and get creative!
Plan to drop off your care packages before the end of September and include a tag that says, “open in the event of quarantine” (or something similar).
I know none of us is looking forward to another possible lockdown, but this is a great way to make the best of a bad situation. You may even want to consider setting up a “secret Santa” type exchange for your care packages or organizing a sign up. This is one of those acts of kindness you can get everyone in on and even be a grateful recipient of! No reason not to get your entire family, friend group, or neighborhood in on the fun!
5. Crafting Kindness
While we’re talking about all the things we can do during these re-opening phases it’s important to remember that many are still in quarantine. Nursing homes and many elder care facilities are still not allowing visitors and for good reason.
Making quarantine care packages for the elderly would certainly be helpful but so would simply making crafts! Pictures, cards, bookmarks and even macaroni necklaces are often very appreciated by those who’s children grew up long ago! And these acts of kindness are a great way to get your kids involved too!
Take a rainy summer afternoon to craft with the kids (or some friends) and send your goodies to the nearest nursing home or other senior living facility!
It’s always nice to know you’re being thought of! This is sure to brighten some one’s day!
6. Donate Whatever You Can
If you haven’t heard, during the lockdown there were record numbers of people relying on food banks and many were first time recipients. This means that many community cupboards are bare (or nearly).
Consider donating to your local food bank. Restock their shelves! To make an even greater impact you could organize a food drive in your family or community or head to your local grocer and ask what they do with their waste! Could they reroute it to the food bank? Many times, the answer is yes but there are logistics to work out and you could help!
In addition want to reach out to your local school district and find out what is being done to provide lunches to students in need in the event of a shut down and offer to help with that!
There is so much to be done in your community right now to both help those who were impacted by the last lock down and prepare for the possibility of another! Take on something that’s dear to your heart and get busy finding out how you can donate time, resources or money to help! You can even do several acts of kindness in this category!
7. Patronize Local Businesses
If you’d like to continue having local businesses and restaurants, now’s the time to patronize them. Many are barely holding on with the loss or revenue and employees! So, they could really use your support!
Rather than ordering things online head to the shops in your community and grab a meal while you’re at it! The service might be a bit different than usual, as many places are currently understaffed or training new employees but be patient. If we all make a point of supporting our local businesses, they’ll be back in tip top shape in no time!
Helping From Home
If you aren’t quite ready to brave shopping or eating out (or your community isn’t allowing it yet) you can still support your local businesses by patronizing them on line or ordering carry out or delivery from your favorite restaurant.
In the long run, flourishing small businesses, restaurants and quaint downtown communities are incredibly impactful to your local economy. They provide jobs, connection, and improve property values for all. So, when you support your local businesses your acts of kindness have a ripple effect that’s far reaching and immeasurable!
8. Be Considerate
You may think this one goes without saying but in post-quarantine world being considerate may look a little different than we’re used to.
It’s very important that we’re all extra cautious about what we touch, where we dispose of gloves and masks and how we interact in public. Please go the extra mile to toss your disposables rather than leaving them in carts or parking lots. Follow the store restrictions about reusable bags and purchase limits (without argument). Keep your distance from other’s in public places. And here’s one you may not have thought of… stop returning your shopping cart. You can place your cart in any used cart area but if you put it back where you found it there’s no way for it to be cleaned before the next use. (See that is a big change from your usual considerate practice.)
Being Considerate & Mindful of the at Risk Community
In addition to all I’ve listed above I think it’s important to point out how very important it is to abide by restricted shopping times and refrain from using curbside pick up and grocery delivery. These services need to be set aside for those who are high risk. If you aren’t in that category and are able to go to the store yourself during normal hours, please do so. Now, don’t get me wrong I know there are some who, due to mental health issues, can’t. I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to those who are young and healthy and just find it more convenient to shop early when the stores are emptier or don’t want to take the time to go in.
I understand this is a deviation from your norm. I’ve been a curbside pick-up shopper for years. Once COVID hit and I realized how sparce pick up times are and how many desperately need them I started heading in. I highly recommend you do the same.
Safeguarding our highest risk population is our most imperative act of kindness and I know you can help!
9. Just do it… Wear a Mask
Which leads me to this topic… wear a mask!
So, here’s the thing… you might not believe that masks help. You may even think that mask wearing is an affront to your freedoms. I hear you and I’m not saying you don’t have any right to feel that way. What I am saying is that your choice not to wear a mask isn’t a political statement. It’s endangering to those around you. If not in a physical way, surely, it’s detrimental to the mental health of others. In addition, refusing to wear a mask when you can be is jeopardizing the rights of those who can’t wear them at all.
Now, before I get a rash of comments about how everyone can wear a mask and those who can’t, should stay home, let me be clear. There are pulmonary and psychiatric conditions as well as disabilities that make mask wearing unsafe and prohibited. When a person’s doctor tells them not to wear a mask, they shouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean they can stay home. With shortages of grocery delivery slots, and the tole it takes on mental health to be isolated, many have to go out (at least occasionally). I don’t think anyone has a problem with this and most are committed to protecting them from contracting COVID by donning masks themselves. The issue is those who refuse to wear masks for other reasons.
Other Ways to Make Your Point
So, if you’re a person who chooses not to wear a mask because it’s uncomfortable, you feel like it’s a violation or you just don’t buy the hype I implore you to consider whether your actions are accomplishing what you’re hoping for. In my home state there’s a $500 fine for not wearing masks and businesses can lose their license if they allow anyone to enter without one. At the same time, I have 2 close relatives who, on doctors’ orders, should never wear a mask due to pulmonary conditions. They are now wearing them to the detriment of their health. Was that the goal? I’m finding that unlikely.
Consider another way to inspire change like a petition or organizing a protest or letter writing campaign. The only thing you accomplish when you choose to make a statement by not wearing a mask is making it harder for those who can’t and freaking out your neighbors. Sometimes acts of kindness are as simple as making a slight adjustment to our perspective.
A Positive Note…
On a positive note… I’ve notice that most people are wearing masks, especially when they’re heading indoors for a more extended period of time. I think sometimes people forget when they’re popping into the corner store or gas station but that’s just a matter of establishing new habits. For some that’s more challenging and we should all recognize that it’s a process and be grateful for improvement.
10. Assume the Best
On the very rare occasion that I’ve seen someone without a mask in public I assume they have a health condition that prohibits it. I empathize with them and the, I assume, difficult choice they have to make to head into public without one. This likely comes from my being a special needs parent. You see, when you have a child on the spectrum who’s prone to becoming over stimulated and having a public meltdown you learn not to judge. If someone else’s child is misbehaving or emotionally struggling in public I have empathy for the child and parents. I know how painful this can be.
Create a Kinder New-Normal
Perhaps in our new-normal we’ll all learn to give a little more grace and assume the best of others. Maybe we can learn to refrain from judgement or at least put it on pause. Taking the time to simply understand that we are ALL struggling right now. Maybe in different ways but that doesn’t make it any less valid. And perhaps when we get through the other side of the pandemic this mindset will remain. Because the greatest act of kindness is giving each other grace. Understanding that despite our differences we are all part of humanity, we are all dealing with our own challenges and we are all longing for joy and connection.
So, when you have the chance to judge or speak unkindness or negativity, I hope you’ll take a moment to reassess. Try to assume that the recipient of your harsh words is likely doing the best they can with circumstances you may never know, face, or understand. And instead… choose the high road, choose positivity, choose to be a light! This might be one of the most powerful acts of kindness there is!
Your words and actions make a difference! Be the reason someone smiles today and every day!
Tell me what you’re doing to spread kindness in your community and don’t forget to share! Let’s start a wave of positivity in the world! If you’re looking for more ideas check out my companion post for more acts of kindness that are always appreciated!