How quickly things change. Many of us were chugging along with our lives feeling good about things and the direction we were heading. 2020 was looking to be a strong year for the U.S. economy. One survey had a majority of Americans feeling very upbeat about their prospects in 2020.
Today, a few short months later, people are practicing a thing called social distancing and getting to the grocery stores at 7 am so they can get that one package of toilet paper. When I was at the store yesterday there were announcements every five minutes about how you could only buy one package of meat, water, and paper towels.
This was my third time to the market since this thing started and I noticed a lot of people were beginning to look straight forward, trying to get what they came to purchase, and just moving along. There was a lot less talking and smiling than just a few weeks ago. Obviously people are feeling stressed with their change of circumstances and perhaps trying to do what they thought they are being asked to do by limiting our social interaction.
For anyone reading this post, I thought we could all try to do some nice things during this time of need to add a little optimism to people’s lives. Here are a few things I was thinking we could do during these tough times. I would love to hear if anyone has any other things they recommend doing to try to help people feel a glimmer of happiness in their day.
- Reach out to some people you haven’t talked with in a while and wish them well. I have a lot of people that I respect, admire, or enjoyed interacting with during my life but that I have not talked with in years. I still have their phone number, email address, or home address but I rarely reach out to them. There are also people in my family’s life, such as my daughter’s soccer coach, that we went from seeing several times a week to not at all. Some of these people might feel a little better and more connected if they heard from me with a nice message wishing them well. I am going to start reaching out to a few people every day telling them something genuinely nice and expecting nothing in return. It would be great if all of us could do this for five minutes per day during this time of minimal interaction.
- Let go of some existing grudges. Sometimes we get a stick up our ass and decide to hold a big time grudge. Some grudges are deserved but sometimes we hold a grudge even though the reason for the grudge has been resolved. Now might be the time to find it in our hearts to let go of a grudge that maybe should not be there anymore. And let the other person know things are copacetic. I have experienced issues between family members in the past where someone suddenly passes and the chance to make amends is gone forever. Try to patch up any fractured relationships that you wish were on betting footing.
- If you can afford it give your daily ration of something limited to someone who can use it more than you. I did see a person in line give up her allocated one roll of paper towels to someone else who seemed to need it more. I did not do the same but I should have done so and I will do it next time. I am staring at fifty rolls of toilet paper so this applies to me for sure. Make someone’s day feel a littler nicer and give up your daily allocation to someone who needs it more than you.
- Keep your head up, smile, and say hello. Keeping a distance of six feet does not mean you cannot look someone in the eye, smile, and say hello to them in a friendly manner. We should remember we are all in this together. The virus is spread by human to human contact but that does not mean we must forego human decency and not engage others with a kind look or word. Be kind to those people you come across while we are self-isolating. It might reduce the stress level of someone you say hi to and it might reduce your own anxiety if you see someone smile back at you.
- Send videos, pictures, etc. to those who are more isolated than you. Think about whom in your circle of life is feeling the most isolated and send them something nice to cheer up their day. I have been taking some videos of the kids doing different things and sending them to the grandparents when I can. I am sure there is someone that fits this description for you.
- Put out the American flag to show support for this great country. This may seem a little too patriotic for some but I heard people say it feels like we are on war-time footing against the virus. Why not show your support for this country and the actions we are all taking taking right now. It’s not about politics it is about putting aside politics in a time that requires unity and teamwork.
We will look back on this crisis in a few years and reflect on how quickly things changed from good, to worse and, hopefully, to better. It would be nice if we can say we handled ourselves in a positive manner that helped others get through it.