It may be easy to feel down right now. Coronavirus news ravaging social media and the inability to connect with friends might make one feel hopeless, helpless and out of control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises fighting the coronavirus mental health crisis by taking breaks from news consumption, caring for one’s own body and reaching out for help when needed.
However, there’s more to be done, and many could take this one step further. Helping others is part of human nature, and people often feel better when they’re involved in a community and spreading positivity. Marianna Pogosyan, a lecturer with a Ph.D. in psychology, said that “helping others regulate their emotions helps us regulate our own emotions.” So, here are five fun and creative acts of kindness that can uplift everyone.
Reach out to friends and family
Many people may be isolating alone, which can become lonely. A call, text or Zoom with a friend may be just the thing someone needs to get them through the day. This could also provide a chance to get reacquainted with old friends or people with which one’s fallen out of touch.
Alternatively, some people may be in quarantine with family, roommates or others they don’t get along with. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, rates of domestic abuse have surged due to people being forced to quarantine in abusive households. Reaching out to friends and family to ensure their well-being could make a huge difference.
Send letters, gifts to friends
Many may be far from their loved ones during isolation. If one can’t visit due to social distancing, it could help to send them a kind letter or a small gift in the mail. A simple handwritten letter can bring comfort and joy to its recipient for a long time. Gifts could include a list of songs handpicked for them, a gift card to their favorite store or a handmade keepsake like a friendship bracelet.
Take a trip
If one’s practicing social distancing, this can only be done with roommates, family or whoever’s in one’s household. A day trip can help lighten the mood, get some much-needed time out of the house and create special memories to look back on.
While cities may not be the best choice for social distancing, there are places to go to refresh one’s spirit. If beaches are open in one’s state, a trip to the beach can be a fun time with family or friends and make this scary time feel more like a normal summer. A trip to the mountains can also be a chance to get out in nature and exercise. For Virginians, the Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park have recently reopened and can serve as a nearby scenic escape.
Find ways to thank delivery drivers
One group that’s worked tirelessly during the pandemic is delivery drivers. Many have put their lives and families at risk to help the public and are doing so during difficult times. Whether it’s a mailman or a DoorDash driver, it’s important to let them know they’re appreciated.
People have done this by taping signs in their windows or painting rocks that say “thank you” and putting them by the front door. One could get print-out professional signs online or, to get creative, make their own. Some have even made care packages for them, including items like toilet paper and water bottles — all of which are sanitized and put outside for drivers to take.
Deliver flowers to friends
For friends that live locally, one way to connect with them and brighten their day could be to deliver flowers. This is something that can be done from a distance, and friends can catch up from six feet apart.
Many florists and stores with flowers may be closed right now, but as states are beginning to reopen, flower shops will, too. However, this could become expensive if one wants to deliver to multiple friends. If so, they could pick flowers from their backyard or find some in a nearby park or natural area. The best thing is to keep it simple — in these difficult times, it doesn’t take a grand gesture to make someone feel loved.
When many may be feeling helpless or disconnected, an act of kindness could make someone’s day. Next time boredom or worry creeps in, taking one of these steps to help someone else could be just the thing one needs.
Contact Charlotte Matherly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.