I don’t know about you, but everything in the world feels awful heavy right now, and as a regular Joe-Schmo with no medical training or excess money to donate, I can’t help but feel so hopeless. So helpless.
I think it’s a feeling most Millennials are very familiar with. We feel hopeless about climate change and gun violence and political corruption, and now, this. It isn’t just one more thing either. In a lot of ways, this feels like the final thing. Like there is just no way our society can continue its usual holding patterns amidst this kind of catastrophe.
That’s…a lot. It can be really easy to think about that and feel absolutely, heart-breakingly hopeless. I get it.
As someone who has dealt with depression for a longass time, I know how that horrible creeping hopelessness can take over your life. And I know that our options for doing good are pretty limited right now. But that doesn’t mean they are gone completely. It’s hard to fight through that darkness, and you won’t be able to do it every day and that’s okay, but on the days where you are determined to shine a light somehow, some way, check out the options below:
1. Send a card to a healthcare worker.
Healthcare workers are facing horrendous conditions right now, putting themselves at great personal risk in order to care for the people who need them. They are making all kinds of sacrifices, dealing with shortages, taking on an immense emotional toll, all for the safety of you and me. You may not be able to help with the medical stuff, but you can help improve their mindset. Many hospitals and sites have set up programs that allow you to send a supportive card to a healthcare worker, like United Way and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Just visit these links and send as many cards as you want. It might seem like a small thing, but gratitude and appreciation can go a long way when it comes to relieving emotional burdens.
2. Give blood if you are feeling healthy.
One of the big issues with this whole pandemic is that it is cutting of our supply lines, including our supply of blood. Many frequent blood donors have stopped giving because they’re trying to practice safe social distancing, which makes sense, except hospitals still really need that blood. If you’re feeling healthy and have not been exposed to anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus, the American Red Cross is desperate for donations. You can click on the link above to schedule an appointment in your area.
3. Bring groceries to people who can’t afford them.
If you don’t have the kind of money to produce more supplies like masks and gloves and ventilators, but you do have a little extra cash lying around, consider buying groceries for people in your community who might be going without right now. Reach out to your local food bank (you can find one near you at Feeding America) and see if there’s any way you can help. If you have a nice nest egg you feel comfortable digging into, consider calling local utility providers and seeing if you can pay off late, unpaid bills. I guarantee this is one of the best ways you can make a direct difference in someone’s life.
4. Reach out to community leaders (online!) to see if there are other ways you can help.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. You don’t have to come up with a million ways to help all on your own. In fact, you will probably be a lot more effective if your assistance is part of a group effort to improve conditions in some way. Maybe you can even reach out to others and start brainstorming how to improve our society as a whole when we’re eventually allowed outside again and we have to learn to rebuild our world together.
5. Skype your friends who live alone.
This might seem small, but I promise it will make a big difference in their lives. People who live alone are experiencing some intense isolation right now. Even the most introverted person in the world needs human contact every now and again to maintain good mental health. Make time for your friends right now. We need each other.