Like everyone else on planet earth, we’ve been totally rocked by the speed the world has changed, where the only certainty is that we’re definitely caught in the middle of a truly uncertain time right now; a scary time; a time where information about this virus is changing every hour, making it harder and harder to know whether we’re under-reacting, overreacting or doing everything that’s needed to stay on top of this pandemic. Because that’s kind of what it comes down to. We want to know how serious this is, how we can still live a normal-ish life, and how we can be part of the solution and not the problem -- and staying safe is the number one priority of them all. But it’s also important that you, we and all of us find a way to come together as a community, stay connected with one another, stay calm, lift those who need lifting, support those who need supporting, and spread nothing but love and support.
So whether you’re self-isolating, social distancing, doing what you can to make the raddest, most responsible choices, or you’re just trying to be a neighborhood superhero and keep your community strong and healthy, we’ve pulled together a bunch of suggestions that might just help us build each other up, flatten the curve, be next-level neighborly, carry those around us, and keep the world moving in a forward direction at a time when so many probably feel helpless.
Like we said, this is one heck of an unusual time for us all, but it’s also a time where each of us can do more to channel our anxieties, shrug off our uncertainties and kick today in the balls by taking the sort of action that will help our friends, our families, our community and ourselves, and here’s how:
1. Get 50 Shades of Wholesome
Self-isolation might suck on the surface of it all, but switch your perspectives and you’ll realize we’ve all been given a little more time to ourselves right now, so now’s the time to turn your lemons into lemonade. Now’s the time to do the things that make you feel good; things that make you a better person than you were yesterday; things that make you smile. Sure, you may not be able to travel, but you could try meditating, take your yoga up a notch, push your kitchen table to the side and smash out a home workout, learn how to fix your Triumph Bonneville, take the adventure into your backyard, or even take up a new hobby like painting with your feet or trying to wiggle a biscuit down your face. What we’re trying to say is: Netflix ain’t the only option.
2. Chill Beneath The Stars
Getting stuck into the great outdoors may have meant rushing for a plane or a train, catching a ferry or standing by a road and throwing up your thumb in the hope someone will stop before this outbreak, but all that stuff is ill-advised right now. But that doesn’t mean the adventure needs to end. Heck no. Cue backyard camping, or as we like to call it: your chance to reconnect with the earth, escape the confines of your safe space, and enjoy the thrills of a true outdoor-adventure (minus the hardship). Think of it as a warm-up for your next wild camping trip. You’ve got the stars above you, the lumpy-bumpy ground beneath you, the wind rattling through the vents, and the smell of a one pot meal filling your backyard as you enjoy your little world with your housemates. Epic.
3. Hang With The Best Of The Best
Ask any successful investor what the most awesome investment is and they’ll tell you it’s investing in yourself. Always has been, always will be. And with this quarantine comes an opportunity to really focus on yourself, invest in skilling-up, and start learning from the best without having to step out of your safe place -- and nowhere does it quite like Masterclass. Learn the art of filmmaking with Scorsese or the realities of acting with Samuel L. Jackson. Get cooking with Gordon Ramsay or shoot some hoops with Stephen Curry. Whatever tickles your interest, learning, improving and bettering yourself should never stop -- nor does it have to.
4. Let's Plan An Adventure
Remember that cliché poster that hung on the wall in your geography classroom about life being less about the destination and more about the journey? Well, it’s true, so pull up a chair and start planning out your next journey. Your next adventure. That once-in-a-lifetime trip you’ve always wanted to go on. Sure, you might not be able to feel the waves, chase the horizon or smell the gasoline --- but it’s just a matter of time, and imagine how much better this trip will be after so much planning, preparing and longing. You could start by marking out the must-see spots on a Icelandic road trip, making a note of which must-have adventures are out there, or begin pulling together an itinerary for that expedition you’ve long had at the back of your brain. Like we said, the journey is always better than the destination, and you can kick start that journey now.
5. Step Away From The Socials
We know what you’re thinking? This suggestion is freakin’ bonkers because, well, err, you’re stuck at home and on your phone as we speak. But the reason we’re suggesting a little detox is because social media knows how to fan the flames of hysteria and make uncertain times like these even more overwhelming than they already are. So start getting in the habit of putting your phone away, leaving the screen behind, and start filling your days with more practical activities. Oh and, when you do grab your phone again, we want you to promise us you’ll only use reputable news apps for your updates. Staying mentally healthy during this pandemic will be as important as anything else, and social detoxing will surely help.
6. Kick It With Mother Nature
It’s crazy times like these that remind us just how awesome we had it, back when we were able to travel so freely and easily as we explored here, there and everywhere. Traveling was what we did best. But just because we’re being told to avoid busy crowds, popular events and enclosed spaces doesn’t mean you have to steer clear of the great outdoors. Go for a stroll through the park, take a hike in the woods, enjoy a walk by the river. So long as you follow the correct hygiene precautions, like washing your hands, keeping your distance from others and staying home if you feel any symptoms, the outdoors is still a playground at your disposal. And if that’s not an option right now, you can always enjoy your little slice of the outside world by making the most of your backyard, patio, terrace or balcony.
7. More Distraction, Less Stress
As more towns, cities, districts and states take action to prevent the spread of the virus, public spaces are either shutting their doors or limiting the number of people allowed to gather. But don’t let that distract you from doing the things that make you feel epic. Turn your favourite song up as loud as it will go and dance, dance, dance. Hold yoga sessions on your FB Live. Sign-up to an online filmmaking course. Finish that novel you almost started last summer. Make an epic Spotify playlist. Learn a new language. Write a bunch of short stories. Anything that makes you feel awesome because we all need to distract ourselves during these rocky times, not least to relieve any stresses you may be feeling.
8. Sharing Really Is Caring
Everywhere you look, there’s a lot of noise about panic buying and stockpiling. There’s images of empty shelves circulating social feeds and videos of people scuffling over toilet paper on each news channel. Don’t be someone who makes this reality any worse than it is. Instead, think before you buy in bulk, consider those people who might need medication more than you, share what you have excess of, and only buy what you absolutely need. We know it’s freakin’ hard to keep a level head where others are panicking, but if we all use some sense and stick to these guidelines then there will be plenty of everything to go around.
9. When You Shop, Shop Local
Where possible, try and shop at your local stores. Not only will you be reducing the chances of catching the coronavirus, or possibly (and unwittingly) spreading it to others but, at times like these, it’s always the small businesses that get hit hardest. So try and support your local independent stores, and try to put your community first before you think about rushing into your nearest Walmart. And if you’re looking for other ways to help, buy vouchers that you can use at a later date, order a takeaway from your local restaurants, or simply make a donation because even the smallest gesture can make a ginormous difference right now.
10. FaceTime Your Family
As it stands, you may not be able to visit your family in the flesh. You may not be able to pop round, give them a high-five, take them a coffee, and give them the sort of physical support they’re so used to. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop sending them love altogether. All you have to do is grab your phone, press the video call button, and reach out to them virtually. We know its’ not the same, but something is better than nothing. So spread a smile, send them your well-wishes, tell them a joke, update them on your situation, make sure you know theirs and do all you can to make them know you care. We’re pretty sure it will brighten up your day too.
11. Stand Up, Superhero
Now is the time to pull on your cape, step outside and do something bigger than yourself. So if you’re fit and able, pop a letter through your neighbor’s door with your contact details on, offer to go food shopping for the elderly couple down the road, fetch any prescriptions they might need or just lend them your iPad so that their families can FaceTime them. There doesn’t need to be any direct contact; you could just drop little care packages on their doorstep until things pass. The important thing is to give whatever support you can, because now is the time to go above and beyond.
12. Donate What You Can
There are people out there who are worse off than you; people who need help more than ever; people with underlying health issues; people with low incomes; people who have had their working lives thrown into chaos by cancelled events, lack of travel, or government guidelines. Luckily, there are loads of ways you can donate to people. Visit Feeding America to find a food bank near you and - boom! - you can start donating food, toiletries, money, or even your time; or go online to find out how you can volunteer at one of the awesome aid organisations out there doing all they can to keep things running. You could even help blood banks meet the need for blood, platelets and plasma, which are needed more than even with so many blood drives being cancelled in certain areas.
13. Be Kind, Really Kind
Everything that’s happening right now is totally unprecedented. Everything going on in the world at the moment falls under the category ‘uncharted territory’ for all of us. The nurses working in our hospitals, the cashiers keeping our grocery stores open, the teachers putting in an extra effort to give our children some sense of norm, our neighbors with the underlying health issues. Everyone. Everyone has been chucked into the deep end of the unknown, and that’s why we need to practice kindness more than ever. Smile at strangers, offer to get extra supplies on your next shopping trip, share your favourite stress-busting techniques on your IG stories, send your colleagues those anxiety-reducing exercises you came across, contact the families of your neighbors to offer any help they might need, support those around you, and try to lift the spirits of every single person you come across -- it could make a world of difference.
14. Share Information Responsibly
You’ve probably noticed that social media spreads hysteria like wildfire, where total panic can be born out of single (unfounded) Facebook status. But that’s where you can help. That’s where you can step up and start sharing trustworthy news stories and expert explanations related to the coronavirus by actively scanning reputable sources, such as unbiased media outlets, government agencies, hospitals, and nonprofit health organisations. But don’t just share news; share scenes of love, hope and positivity too. We’re all uncertain of what the future holds and what will happen before things get better again, but there are amazing stories of community spirit and overwhelming compassion that could lift those in your world at a time when the whole world needs it.