By now I am sure you’ve heard the term “social distancing” maybe once, twice, or every time you’ve clicked on the television over the past few weeks. Although this truly is critical, you might find yourself thinking, is this the only action I can take?

Right now, the entire world wants the same thing — to kick this virus to the curb and return to normal life as soon as possible. Coming together and helping out any way that you can while practicing safe habits that are recommended by the CDC is essential to fighting COVID-19. Here are 5 ways you might be able to lend an extra hand and stay positive during this health crisis.

1. Reach out to your local foodbank

According to No Kid Hungry, 22 million children in the United States rely on the free or reduced-price lunch they receive at school, and every one of them is eligible for free breakfast as well. The need for supplies is greater than ever. Not only are food stocks significantly low and volunteers dwindling, but they are experiencing a large user increase due to recent business closures leading to unemployment. If you are in good health and feel it is safe to volunteer, now is the time to do so.

To still practice good habits and limit travel, it is recommended that you reach out to your local community to see how you can help. If volunteering is not an option for you, most places are accepting food or money donations as well. Be sure to check your community’s Facebook groups because this could be the fastest way to find information under these circumstances.

2. Donate blood

Only 37% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10% do so annually. Now that companies are recommending their staff to work from home, American Red Cross has stated they are now facing a serious blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. They are encouraging any healthy individuals to donate now to save patients that are relying on blood to save their lives.

If you have never given blood before, the actual blood draw takes about 10 minutes. The entire process from the time you sign in to the time you leave takes about an hour. If you’re a healthy individual who is already experiencing cabin fever and you’re looking for a guilt free reason to leave the house – this is a no-brainer!

3. Stay connected to friends and family on and off social media

It is human nature to find comfort in numbers, and during a health pandemic that prevents people from physically gathering, social media appears to be the obvious solution. Although social media allows users to reach a large audience and stay in the know, it often does not replace the happiness we feel when we have another person’s undivided attention.

Now is the best time to reach out to loved ones and chat away by calling or using applications like Facetime, Skype, or WhatsApp. If you’re feeling even more creative, host a happy hour using Zoom or GoToMeeting with your coworkers or friends for a virtual get together to simulate the feeling of everyone being in the room. Dimensional Insight’s marketing team is planning on hosting one of these each week – rules are no work or corona talk (unless it’s the beer), happy stories, and good vibes only!

4. Plan your future

It seems like just yesterday everyone’s social media feed was filled with inspirational “Live in the moment” memes, but truth be told, there are times when the moment just isn’t great. So how do we combat this? A great way to cope with uncertain times is to remind yourself that things will return to normal, even if we aren’t sure when.

Now is the time to get together and make that bucket list you’re always talking about. If you have kids or are just feeling creative, use old magazines or anything around the house to create a 3-D vision board with your goals and dreams. Think positively and give yourself something to look forward to, whether it is planning that dream vacation you’ve always wanted, going to the movies, or traveling to see family that you haven’t seen in a while.

5. Support a charity or local business

Not everyone can leave the house right now, which means volunteering your time, dropping off supplies to a food bank, or donating blood might not be an option. If you are still interested in ways to give back, there are a plethora of charities that have started programs for those suffering from unemployment, medical services, and relief supplies regarding COVID-19 that you could donate to from the comfort of your own home. Also, look up your favorite local businesses and not-for-profits online, and find out if there are ways you can still buy their products or donate to support them.

For example, Dimensional Insight is supporting the charity group Direct Relief, which focuses on:

  • Providing assistance in the form of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health workers.
  • Building an ICU medication model and mobilizing private resources to build a stockpile to assist with anticipated spike in ICU patients.
  • Boosting support to safety-net facilities to address existing chronic gaps that are likely to grow.

Stay safe everyone!

Alison Nicoli