Tuesday, 13 October 2020

How to lend a helping hand to others during Lockdown #2

2020 has definitely not gone according to plan for anybody. At all.  Last Christmas and New Year time, we were busy celebrating what we thought would be the most anticipated new decade yet- only to be sorely disappointed just over three months later when our worlds changed seemingly overnight. Events, cancelled. Parties, cancelled. Concerts, cancelled. Holidays, cancelled. All the things we were so looking forward to doing this year? C-a-n-c-e-l-l-e-d! 

No matter what you had planned for the new year, the world going into lockdown was, more than likely, NOT it. Suddenly parents were having to keep their young ones entertained and educated. The office moved to whatever place in the home we could muster up (sofas, dining table, kitchen surface, bed, floor, ironing board-whatever!) we had to queue up to pick up bread and milk from the supermarkets- if there was any left on the shelves anyway! Worst of all, we couldn’t see our friends and hug family members who didn’t live with us. 

For many people, lockdown number one was an extremely challenging time, and for those communities threatened by lockdown number two in the UK this autumn, the prospect can be even more daunting.

How are we all going to cope with all of the madness a second time around? Homeschooling again!? Are our kids going to be at the same academic level as those a few years ahead of them? How will it affect their mental health in the long run? What about our older parents? What will they do? All of these questions will turn over and over in our minds, but one good thing to hold onto is this: We’ve done it once, we muddled through and have made it to the other side- so we can definitely do it again!

Staying in touch with those we love has never been so important. While many of us are unable to meet up in person, we all learnt news ways to stay in touch with our loved ones, whether that was through phone calls, video chats, or socially distanced visits. More people than ever also chose to volunteer some of their time to give back to others in the community. Some used the opportunity to continue to work on themselves so that they came out of lockdown like a butterfly breaking free of its 6 month chrysalis. All of these things are great ways of staying in touch with ourselves and the world around us.

Here, we will break down those who we need to stay in touch with and look at some of the ways in which we can continue to check-in. 

Local Communities 

Loads of people living very close to us will struggle with the idea of having to stay inside and be lonely. While those of us live in situations where we have the luxury of getting frustrated by the noise around us, many will have nobody around at all. Loneliness is a real feeling for those people who may find it difficult to get out, or who may have been advised to shield by their doctors. 

Mutual aid groups have been set out throughout the country to help offer assistance to more vulnerable people in our communities.
Some of the ways people can offer help are: 

  • Meal delivery services- you could cook an easily distributed dish in bulk, portion into takeaway containers and distribute. 

  • Food shopping- offer to drop essential food items to people who are unable to make it to the shops on their own. 

  • Picking up and delivering medications- again, for those who are unable to do this alone. GP surgeries and pharmacies have put things in place to ensure that the most vulnerable still have access to their medication. 

  • Wellbeing calls- people who are feeling isolated will need people to talk to, especially if they are unable to go out and socialise with people. Having somebody at the end of the phone, even if just for a few minutes can make the world of difference to their mental wellbeing. 

  • Online Chats- for the same reason above, but for those who feel less confident talking on the phone, you can help to set up online forums for people to chat to others who may be struggling. In order to learn more about chat software click here to get set up

  • Technical help- Getting people set up on smartphones, tablets and laptops so that they can stay in touch with their loved ones online. 

  • Making and delivering PPE such as face coverings- you can search online for face covering patterns if you’re savvy on the sewing machine 

  • Dog walking for people who have to self-isolate due to catching COVID 

  • Donating items to your local food bank distribution centre- lots of people’s employment has been impacted as a direct result of the pandemic, and may be struggling to feed their families 

Our Own Friends and Families 

It seemed as though things were getting better for us and that we could soon get to spend time with our loved ones once again. However, it’s not looking that way, so we need to be creative in how we make the time to let those we love know that we’re thinking of them and how well we stay connected. Some of the same outlined above, but additional ideas below: 

  • Online dinner dates- get in a takeout of choice and log in to your favourite video conferencing service and enjoy great food and company together- maybe even a glass of something! 

  • Book group- Select a few people and books that have great discussion points, ‘meet up’ (online) and discuss the themes of the book. Each member gets a chance to choose the next book. It's a great way of staying connected with people, as well as having the opportunity to try out books which you may not have read previously. 

  • Send Gifts-This doesn’t just mean getting on amazon prime for next day delivery, plenty of companies are putting together gift boxes which are the perfect small token to remind people that you are thinking of them. This can be anything from flowers and houseplants, to cupcakes and cards. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make somebody’s day.  

  • Games night- Lockdown #1 was the birth of the ‘Zoom Quiz’ where groups of families would gather to test each other’s general knowledge. They would often get quite competitive and involve a lot of preparation to keep them interesting. This time, have a look at some of these zoom game ideas to help prevent video call fatigue from setting in. 

  • Form a ‘bubble’- If you have the space to host a friend or family member who would otherwise be on their own, do that. The act of kindness of opening up your home to them will be a wonderful boost for both them and you. 


During a pandemic it may seem like a selfish act to want to spend time working on ourselves when there are so many others who need the support. However, it is impossible to pour from an empty cup, and therefore vital to work on ourselves for the good of our own physical and mental health. 

Right now, the most important work you can do will be in the walls of your own home. This may look a little different if our self-care regime would usually look like getting a manicure and meeting friends for a coffee to decompress.  

Putting work into ourselves doesn’t necessarily have to look like devoting time to learning a new skill, or to finally finishing off that DIY task you’ve been putting off. It’s about allowing the time for self-development and fulfillment.

  • Getting Therapy- This might seem like a taboo subject, but many of us could use the opportunity to speak to a trained professional who can help you to rationalise some of the things that may be holding us back.

  • Workouts- Gyms may not be what you’re into, and if the reason is because of feeling self conscious, then there’s no need to feel worried about that when there are hundreds of free workout videos available online. Not only will you be able to increase your physical fitness, but it will also do wonders for your mental health.

  • Experiment with your style- If you’ve been feeling stuck in a style rut for a while, then you may not know where to start when it comes to mixing up your style. It doesn’t have to mean getting a whole new wardrobe- it could be using a fun temporary hair dye or doing something new with your makeup. Anything to give you the boost that you deserve. 

A pandemic is a challenging time for anybody. It’s as important to check in with yourself as it is others during this time. By working together with your communities, you can make a difference now and into 2021 and beyond.

What other ways have you found to lend a helping hand during 2020? Will you continue these in 2021? 

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