Are you on pins and needles with everything that is going on in the world? If so, you are not alone, and in many respects, this is a good thing. This pandemic is new to all of us and not something that we have ever experienced before. There is no precedent, no established response, and therefore, you may find that your emotions are all over the board. You now know that you should be washing your hands more and distancing yourself from others, and these are critical things. But, there is one thing that we all should be doing in this present crisis, and it may not come easy.
Love your neighbor like you love yourself is easy to say but not always so easy to practice, especially in times like this. After protecting and providing for your family, you may not think that you have any energy left to even think about your neighbor, let alone love them as you should. It is human nature to self-preserve, and we often have to be bold to move outside of our own little “me” bubble. However, doing so will not only help someone else, but it will also help you.
Why helping others is good for us too
There are scientific studies that have proven that helping others is a great way to help ourselves, even in times like these. Researchers have found that helping others and giving back to others actually boosts happiness, health, and increases a sense of well-being. Although helping may look different now due to the current crisis climate, it can still be done.
Here are some very good reasons to help others:
A bag of potatoes can go a long way
We all have people in our community who are less prepared for this virus outbreak than ourselves. Once we find these people and figure out the best way to help, others will see and hear of our actions and join in on doing good. Like the coronavirus, doing good is highly contagious. In one study, it was found that people are most likely to be generous after watching others do the same. This ripple effect can have a tremendous impact on others in the community and be a great inspiration to others who can make a difference.
As an example, my husband went to the store the other day for potatoes and they were all gone. A gentleman broke open his bag and offered my husband some of what he had. Next, my husband saw an elderly lady looking for potatoes and offered some of what had been given to him. This is a great picture of what we can do when we get outside ourselves and think about others.
Helping others boosts happiness
If you are having a difficult time right now being happy, find someone to help and just watch as your happiness meter skyrockets. A team of sociologists tracked 2000 people over five years and discovered that Americans who described themselves as “very happy” were the ones who volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. According to researchers, giving back might give individuals a mental boost, which triggers a neurochemical sense of reward.
Helping others may reduce chronic pain
Do you suffer from chronic pain? If so, you may find that the current global crisis is making your pain worse due to anxiety. Researchers have found that people with chronic pain experienced a reduction in pain when they helped others.
Helping others reduces blood pressure
If you have borderline high blood pressure, added stress is not a good thing at all. One research study found that older individuals who participated in at least 200 hours a year of volunteer work decreased their risk of hypertension by at least 40%.
Helping others gives us a sense of purpose and satisfaction
We all need to be needed, and helping others gives us a sense of purpose along with satisfaction. Studies confirm that volunteering also helps shape our identity. It may be that when we know others are depending on us, we have a role to play, and that is enough to drive up our sense of purpose and satisfaction in knowing that we are serving others.
Ways that you can help now
While helping others now may look a bit different and be a little less direct than helping others in the absence of a pandemic, it is still achievable and entirely worthwhile.
Donate to a local service club
There are lots of groups and organizations that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Calling your local town office will help identify those most in need in your area. Some examples are free clinics that are being hit hard by the outbreak. You can donate money for supplies and protective gear to these clinics or call and ask how you can help.
Deliver meals to the homebound, sheltered in place or quarantined
There are likely people in your community who are homebound, sheltering in place, quarantined, or unable to get out. Use this as an opportunity to offer to deliver meals. This can be done while still adhering to social distancing recommendations. Using social media to reach out to people in need is a great idea. Purchase food containers that are microwave and freezer safe to make it easier.
Start a chat line for the elderly
Many elderly people will be hunkered down during this outbreak. If you have some phone numbers, you could start a chat line where you call just to talk to someone who might be lonely and feel isolated. Many elderly people don’t use social media, so a good ol’ fashioned phone call is a great way to connect.
Blood banks around the country have had to cancel blood drives since the virus reared its ugly head. Blood levels are dangerously low at this time. According to the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers, the US is facing a “severe blood shortage.” These organizations are encouraging anyone who is healthy and eligible to give blood or platelets, to make an appointment and donate through the Red Cross. The leadership of the Red Cross says that they are taking all necessary steps to keep donors healthy. Gail McGovern, president and chief executive office of the American Red Cross said this,
“We understand why people may be hesitant to come out for a blood drive but want to reassure the public that blood donation is a safe process, and that we have put additional precautions in place at our blood drives to protect the health and safety of our donors and staff.”
Join the neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor
Nextdoor is a social networking app that has just introduced two new features. Help Maps and Groups will give people a way to support each other during the coronavirus crisis. The Help Map offers a way to coordinate help for those who need it like the elderly at risk. People can help with things like running errands, picking up prescriptions or dropping off supplies. Groups is a feature that allows smaller groups to network outside of the main feed. Once you have the latest version of Nextdoor downloaded, you can add yourself as a member and let others know what you can do.
Plant extra veggies in your garden
If you have space, plant a few additional rows in your garden for people in your neighborhood. There may be people who can’t get out and garden who could really use some fresh food in the next few months.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein
-The Alternative Daily