It isn’t too early to say that Coronavirus is a defining issue for our generation. Our children and grandchildren will perhaps ask us about this more than any other issue – along with climate change.
Turn on the television, read a newspaper – and everything seems to be about numbers. “X deaths,” she says, “Y recoveries,” the journalist reports, “Z ventilators,” I hear. But amidst this, there is a very real human element.
Our hearts go out to those families who are suffering, those who have the virus or who have loved ones who are struggling – or who even have passed away. I think particularly about those countries where clean water is difficult to obtain. What do you do when in Syria 27% of the population have no access to medical personnel, for example?
For the rest of us, Coronavirus has turned our world upside down – albeit in a comparably meaningless way. Some have lost jobs, our children are not attending school and we are separated from our friends and family. One of the greatest challenges of Coronavirus is the ways it makes us feel like we are powerless. We no longer have control. After all, studies show us that ‘control’ is a “psychological and biological necessity”.
Let us try to regain an element of control in our own lives – and help those around us.
Here are six ways we can start to wrestle back control:
1. Donate to a women’s shelter
At the time of writing a third of the global population are on Coronavirus shutdown. That’s tough for anyone, but consider the plight of a woman with an abusive partner, a child with a violent parent. It’s unspeakable. Encourage your local politicians to fund abuse helplines and shelters. If you can, donate to them. If you know of a hotel chain which is empty, ask them to lend some rooms to the victims of abuse. You may save a life.
2. Take part in the #40Neighbours campaign
There is no better way to fight Coronavirus than with charity and compassion.
Who is Hussain’s #40Neighbours campaign is an excellent vehicle to support communities in five continents. Teams are distributing groceries, providing mental wellbeing support, initiating hand sanitiser and hygiene kit hand-outs, helping orphanages and the elderly, and organising food banks.
Who is Hussain’s campaign is based on the idea that our neighbours should be like our family, and it is clear they need us now more than ever.
3. Stay at home – and wash your hands
We will overcome Coronavirus together. But to do so, we must each take the necessary precautions. Don’t go out, except for essential travel. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Maintain social distancing. Do what doctors tell us. We may not fear for our own health, and it’s so easy to break these rules and recommendations, but what if we inadvertently cause someone else to suffer? Don’t take any risks.
4. Make a plan for growth
You may now have more time (unless you’re a healthcare or essential worker)! Make the most of it. Grab a piece of paper – write down everything you would like to do with a few hundred spare hours. Learn a language? Why not! Start a blog? Write away.Support a charity. Don’t delay! Time is precious, so make the most of it.
5. Use your resources to offer help
If you are reading this blog it means you have access to the internet. If you can get on social media, the internet, WhatsApp, ask people: “How can I help you?”
It may be insignificant. It may be that your neighbour is lonely. There’s a nurse in your block who hasn’t been able to go shopping. It might be that your friend has a disabled child to care for and needs a hand. Sometimes, the best remedy for our own problems is to help someone else solve theirs. Leave a note – like this neighbourhood support one – on your neighbour’s porch, or through their letterbox.
If you have a business, take care of your employees. Then think how you can use it to be an avenue of assistance. If you have a car, offer to pick and drop goods. If you have spare clothes or food, consider if you can afford to share.
We all have something to give. After all, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
6. Be kind
Save the easiest until last. Everyone is anxious – the old, the young, the workers, the pensioners, the students, the ill, the healthy. Offer them the only universal currency there is: kindness. Smile, laugh, ask someone if they’re OK. And be more giving, more free-spirited. Call up that old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Coronavirus might threaten our health, but it shouldn’t undermine our capacity for love.