It’s a crazy time in the world. World issues are pressing on us to take action and problems, that seemed so far away, are now in our cities. With heavy hearts and uncertainty running through our veins, it’s moments like these remind us we’re human. We are all humans. It doesn’t matter our skin tones, zip codes, or beliefs, we need each other.
Communities are more valuable than ever as they reassure us that we’re not alone in our anxieties, concerns, and fears. Being terrified and protective of our livelihood does not mean we have to act out and operate in scarcity or purely to selfishly survive. What we need is to feel connected, engaged and hopeful that this too shall pass.
Due to the health risks, we need to reapproach “coming together”. This is a great opportunity to restructure traditional in-person communities and utilize the same technology, many feared has been isolating us, to bring us back together. It is also important we all contribute and play our part in combatting the spread of viruses and chaos. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be complicated or complex.
To build lasting change, it’s better to start out small and build on the habits and behaviors that will help us maintain the momentum.
It’s a scary time for a lot of people. Sending a thoughtful message, giving your friends and family a call and checking in to see how they’re doing will mean a lot them. I know it did for me when friends and colleagues reached out.
Also, it’s a great time to see if they need any help. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth or resource to solve their problems, a simple, “Is there anything I can do to support you?” goes an incredibly long way. Naturally, you cannot agree or commit to everything a person request (and no one expects you to). But you never know how you can be there for someone until you ask.
Staying informed and helping others
Misinformation can spread just as easily, if not faster than a pandemic. It’s important to do your research, look at multiple resources and validate the information before sharing it with others.
Remember, people are scared right now. Terrified people can latch onto their beliefs and biases, as it provides a sense of comfort and familiarity in a time of uncertainty. Be patient and share factual information.
Also, as a child of immigrant refugees, I feel the need to encourage you to help your family, elderly and underserved communities stay informed as well. As someone who has translated many conversations, bills, and customer service calls, it can be extremely difficult and frustrating. That said, if you can help translate, share preventative measures, and support your family and suffering communities, please do!
Offer what you can
Many people are indirectly affected by this in more ways than you know. Professionals must readjust their family and work arrangements, students are getting displaced, and businesses are suffering greatly. People you know are (secretly and quietly) risking personal instability, bankruptcy, homelessness, other health concerns, and more.
I share this not to cause panic but to shred light on the reality of many individuals and families. If there is anything you can do to help, please do. It can be as simple as venmoing $20-50 for a friend/family’s groceries (with all the money you saved from not buying coffee drinks). Offering to help old generations with some errands* or introducing them to tech that could help them connect with their family, e.g. teaching them how to video chat, getting groceries for them, and so on. Taking in a student for however long you can, as many cannot immediately travel or afford to go home.
* DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical expert and cannot give medical advice. If you’re working with the elderly or sensitive populations, PLEASE take precautions as you may be a carrier and risk their health and safety.
Stay in touch (just not physically)
In many places in the world, more people are encouraged to stay home and self-quarantine to reducing spreading the virus. Events and programs are canceled, businesses have closed, and people are panicking. (Who am I without the people I hang out with, events I go to, and places I’m seen at?!! Sorry, just rewatched Gossip Girl. I really don’t think like this, it’s more for comedic effect. Ok, maybe not entirely true… maybe a small part in each of us secretly do?) With these new lifestyle changes, we need to find new ways to connect to one another.
Now that we’re moving indoors and online, this doesn’t mean we have to shut off all contact with the world! Maybe it does mean …physically but we all have phones. You know that thing that’s now an extension of your arm (OMG do I sound like Blair Waldorf? GG fans, share in the comments if you heard her voice while reading this)!
Convene online. Large events are going virtual. Online communities will see an influx of traffic as more people look for alternative ways to engage, access information, and socialize. Social media will receive more traffic and content creators will have to create the same quality content with few resources (The creators are going to have to get creative… Again, I have GG’s voice stuck in my head lol).
Either way, we all can make the most of this time. We can use this time to engage with others all over the world, connect over mutual interests and curiosity. Entrepreneurs and startups (like myself) can see this as an opportunity (or challenge for those who are more competitive) to connect with potential customers, clients, and brand ambassadors.
Keep those contact warm by sharing updates, explore content styles and delight. I’m refining my community-building skills to help ease the transition, from in-person to online engagements, for my clients (need help? Call me!). Just because the world is taking a moment to figure out what’s happening next, doesn’t mean we have to wait around for someone to hit resume. We need to work!
(I do not mean any disrespect to my readers or those heavily affected by what’s going on. For freelancers, startups, and small businesses, we have to find new ways to adapt and generate revenue. Just like how you like receiving your paychecks on time and afford your lifestyle, we also need to pay our bills. I am not encouraging anyone to take advantage of others during this tragedy. I am empowering those who are also affected to think outside the box and find ways to make it through this financial crisis.)
Taking care and bettering yourself
With more people working from home and encouraged to stay in, some people are finding it super frustrating to have their lifestyle disrupted while others are relieved for a “break” from society. Either way, many are looking forward to binging on Netflix/Youtube, cuddling with their partner, kids, or pets (Party of 1 over here…), and/or killing time until the pending quarantine is lifted and we can (hopefully) resume our lives.
This time is crucial. As much as I am all about spending me-time and breaking from the “I’m busy!” routine, it’s easy to become a zombie (because zombies don’t have brains, not because we’re all going to die or anything…). Be careful of wasting too much time being idle and numbing our fears and pain (mentally and physically with alcohol, sex, drugs, mindless content, and other poisons of choice).
At a recent book tour, the “People’s Shark” Daymond John encouraged others to use this time for personal and professional development. Speaking to entrepreneurs, he understood it’s a scary time to be. Many are trying to make ends meet and quickly adapt to the change (see! I’m not the only one… it just sounded better when he said it).
He focused on how people should look to make the most out of this time OOO (Out Of Office). Use 20% of your day, or 2-3 hours/day, to learn and develop a new skill. Whether it’s using the time you previously budgeted for commuting, attending (now canceled) events, or in meetings that could have been done over emails, you can use the “extra” time (this might vary for parents who are stuck at home with their kids all day. I’m praying for you) to work on bettering yourself, come back sharp, and ready to hit the ground running.
To be fair, since leaving my corporate job two months ago, it took me a while to develop a regular routine that didn’t involve staying in bed and binging the entire series of Jane the Virgin (how can a show make you laugh AND cry happy tears every 15 mins?! Gina Rodriguez is a GODDESS!). It’s natural to take time to transition and adapt to these new changes.
Another thing to expect, we’re all going to get a little stir-crazy (…maybe not so little; just try your best to manage it). I encourage you to do your best to adapt and work on yourself, in the best possible ways (and we can help! Read our other articles and contribute to Strive)! I hope you have a seamless transition into this new (potentially, lifestyle) change. Maybe this time at home can bring you closer to your friends (use video chat), family (watch out for grandma and grandpa. Might be helpful to keep them away from the kids for now, but I’m not a doctor), and most importantly, yourself!
As for my peers and fellow young people, now is not the time to rebel and show the world how invincible we are. Being frustrated and angry at the world is not helping (unless it empowers you to come up with solutions and vaccines, by all means, go the Hulk on this shit). Whether you’re affected directly or indirectly, please think of others who may not have the same privilege, healthcare access or strong immune system as you do. Being mindful can be difficult in times of chaos and change, but that’s what we’re all striving for, to be our best selves, right?
Remember to breathe and stay calm, as best you can (If it helps, I tell myself affirmations like I am enough. I am safe. I am loved. I am doing my best. That calms me down). Stay safe and healthy.
Inspired by William Charter, Karin Copeland, Daymond John, Trevor Noah, community leaders, and others discussing the Corona Virus