Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few months, you’ll know that we’re currently under lockdown here in the UK due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Every time I write ‘global pandemic’, it chills me to my core. I never thought that I would be living out a real deadly virus movie; we’re basically living out Contagion right now.
The whole purpose of Artiscado is about being a ‘good human‘ – not just from a sustainability or ethical living point of view but also from a ‘human’ point of view.
KINDNESS IS KING
The Coronavirus pandemic is an opportune moment to show who we can be as a people and really it’s a chance for us to shift our ‘selfish’ focus and think about our community and society as a whole. Kindness never killed anyone.
In fact, according to this BBC article: Kindness could actually help you live longer. Barak Obama stated quite clearly in a eulogy he made that: “Being a strong man includes being kind. There’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion,” he said. “There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”
Isolating people through a lockdown does exactly what it says on the tin – it isolates. For those that live alone it has stripped away daily human interactions. And it has forced families and groups of people living together (house shares for example) into a confined space for long periods of time. Both of this things come with their own fair share of difficulties.
I think the saddest part for me is the isolation of the elderly and vulnerable. Anyone aged 70+ has to stay at home for 12 weeks at least. For me, that includes my grandparents. It is tough to ask someone to do that; stay at home, not go out and avoid contact with their family. I’m from an Indian culture and it is hard for me. I have been raised to live in regular, if not daily contact with my family. I know that my grandad (Baaji) is struggling – he’s a social creature, so for him being away from his family and community is hard.
If you’re on your own then you are likely to become lonely, so it’s so important to keep in touch with the people that matter in your life. If you’re in lockdown with other people then it’s about building tolerance but also maintaining boundaries so that you don’t become unkind.
IDEAS TO BE KIND
I really liked this post from the Mental Health Foundation which highlighted a few simple things that you could do to be kind during this difficult time but here’s the Artiscado list:
- KEEP IN TOUCH: with everyone. Don’t just limit it to your loved ones, catch up with people that you’ve been out of touch with. Check in, make sure that they are doing alright – you never know if they might just need to hear from you. I’ve been sending mini videos to my friends and family if I can’t get hold of them on the phone as a way of showing people that I am thinking of them.
You can send inspirational messages to people that you know might be struggling, funny jokes, memes, videos and more – anything that you think might spread some joy.
- SHOW GRATITUDE: Clap For Our Carers is a great example of this. Doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, farmers, supermarket and grocery store staff are just some of the people that we need to be thankful for. They are making sure that we are taken care of when we’re sick and ensuring that we get enough food is a calm manner.
- VOLUNTEER TO HELP: Yes, the virus doesn’t discriminate and is highly contagious but younger people are better equipped to deal with fighting this virus that enables them to ‘help’ where needed. My next door neighbours are both elderly and so we offer to get their shopping each week.
- RESPECT THE PEOPLE YOU ARE LIVING WITH: Realistically no one wants to be in this situation, stuck at home 23/7 (we’re allowed outside for one hour of exercise a day). Everyone is going to react to this differently but being kind to the people that you live with is important – think about how you speak to people, don’t be rude because someone is getting on your nerves. Choose to communicate kindly and work through problems.
- ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED: You don’t need to hoard anything, there is plenty available. Be mindful about what you buy and think of others when shopping. I appreciate that people might choose to stock pile for a couple of weeks in order to avoid going out unnecessarily but if you choose to do that, do it in a mindful way but planning out what you need and not overbuying. As a family this is something that we did – planned out our meals to ensure that we bought the right amount of food.
- BE KIND TO YOURSELF – eat well, sleep well, drink water and exercise: Taking care of yourself is important. It keeps you strong and well so that your immune system stands a fighting chance. Alongside this, if you have people that are reliant on you, it’s important for you to keep yourself healthy for them.
- GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY: there are so many ways to do this. Volunteering is one example but also using your skills for ‘free’ to help people is another option as well. My mum for example is running free online yoga classes everyday as a way of helping people de-stress. My dad has produced an online ebook series to help engage children and help parents to explain the Coronavirus. He also ordered sneeze screens for all out family with convenience stores for them to install to help protect them. Nude Food completely changed their business model, offering discounted meal prep options for people that wanted to keep healthy.
- SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES: Support your local restaurants through take-away orders, get fresh fruit from your grocer, have flowers delivered to a friend who is struggling, put your family holiday snaps into an album with an online store, spend money on books, kits, crafts or activities that you can read/do with your new spare time during social distancing. Support the economy and do it in a way that aligns with your values but make sure you support local.
- SAY THANK YOU: Delivery drivers, The Post Man, Take Away Delivery Drivers and all those other people expose themselves to the ordinary person day in day out as actually taking a risk by doing their job. Thanking the postman for still deliver your mail and maintaining a sense of normalcy isn’t a bad thing to do.
- DONATE BLOOD: If you are able to then donate blood then do it! The NHS still needs blood donations and it is considered as essential travel if you travel to give blood.
- DO WHAT WE’VE BEEN ASKED TO DO: Follow the rules and regulations around this. Practice social distancing, wash your hands and don’t go out unnecessarily.
WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
REMEMBER: Each one of us are in this together. Dr Catherine Barrett (founder of the Kindness Pandemic facebook group) says: “kindness won’t make Covid-19 go away, but it will make our lives easier and more rewarding.”
The psychology science shows that acts of kindness provide an emotional win-win where both parties are left with a warm glow.
Shared adversity is actually going to bring out the best in us. It helps us to motivate each other – being kind just helps to making the suffering easier.