Global problems are solved only by joint efforts. Here’s how you can help yourself and others survive this pandemic.
We have gathered even more information on how to help ourselves and others during a pandemic here .
Morally support those who have a harder time
Sitting in isolation and pausing life is difficult and unpleasant. But some of us have a harder time than others. For example, those who live alone and can suffer greatly from a lack of communication. To anxious people who take on all the burdens of the world and worry. Affected coronavirus or members of their families. Those who are forced to go to work and contact with people, putting themselves at risk: doctors, cashiers, couriers, drivers of vehicles. Think about which of your friends needs such help. Or, if you feel the potential in yourself, write in social networks that those who need support can contact you. Even if you do not have a psychologist’s diploma, but you are an empathic person and cope with stress well, you can help someone in an emergency.
I live in the Emilia-Romagna region, we have a difficult situation here – there are a lot of patients with COVID-19. I am a psychologist in one of the entities, therefore during the epidemic I provide moral support to those affected by the coronavirus. I directly affected, that is, the patients themselves and indirectly – those who have lost a family member or are stressed in self-isolation. The most difficult moment for people is the unknown. This is an unexplored virus, there is no cure for it, so those who are sick are afraid of what may await them. In addition, now doctors mainly deal with patients in serious condition, therefore those who carry coronavirus at home with relatively mild symptoms cannot receive attention from doctors, but they are no less worried. I call them on the phone or via Skype. I listen to their doubts, fears, give an opportunity to express everything that worries them. My goal is to transform their fear and doubt into hope. The worst case was with an elderly patient who was ill with COVID‑19 at home and constantly measured the level of oxygen in the blood. He was panicky afraid that the figure would become less than 90, he would be taken to the hospital and that he would not leave it. We talked every day, and after 10 days, his morale became stable.
Help with shopping and other household matters
Elderly people and those in poor health (diabetes and other chronic diseases) should now be on the alert and observe the strictest quarantine. Going to the grocery store or to the post office for the parcel is a risk of contact with other people who may be asymptomatic with the coronavirus. However, not everyone has access to product delivery applications. If there are such people among your neighbors or acquaintances, try to help them with trips to the store, pharmacy or post office. You can post an ad in the entrance with your contacts, samples are easy to find on the Internet. For example, the Yandex.Rion service has a suitable template : you can use it yourself and send it to your friends. If you use delivery, but your elderly neighbors do not, invite them to order products for them too.
I live in a small town north of Milan, and it so happened that there are many elderly people. Now they are recommended, if possible, not to leave home even for shopping: at their age, coronavirus can be very dangerous. We do not have delivery, and not all older people use smartphones. Therefore, the young people of the city, including myself, organized assistance for them. We set up a group at WhatsApp and gave our contacts to a local pharmacy and supermarket. And those in turn notified their customers. It works like this: a person who cannot go shopping himself calls in a supermarket or pharmacy and makes an order. Sales outlets contact us and say to whom and where to deliver the goods today. We distribute these orders among ourselves and deliver them to addresses. In fact, this helps not only the elderly, but also the young: it makes it possible not to sit idle, and do something useful. Naturally, we follow all safety measures: masks, gloves, sanitizer, no close contacts.
Try not to get out of work
If you need only a laptop to work in self-isolation, the problem is solved. But even if you cannot perform your professional duties remotely, try to stay in a working rhythm. First, help your future career: take a useful online course, read books that did not have enough time, listen to podcasts of people whose professional path inspires you. Secondly, stay in touch with your colleagues so that neither you nor they feel isolated from the world. Organize collective calls and videoconferences, discuss future projects or analyze past and do work on mistakes.
I train the junior team, and, of course, I can not do this work remotely. At the beginning of quarantine, sports associations were the first to close, but it was still possible to go outside. Together with the players and the coaches, we went on a sports trip to the mountains (keeping a meter of distance, of course) – at least some kind of activity. Then quarantine became stricter, so now you can only communicate remotely. I try to come up with different challenges, record videos with home workouts, ask the guys to send me video responses, then mount the clips and send them to the whole team. Unfortunately, one of our club employees got COVID ‑ 19. We made a video for him with the wishes of recovery. My co-trainer and I also arranged a quiz about football in Zoom: we asked the guys different questions about famous matches, players, the Italian League, and football terms. It was fun! I really want to keep team spirit until the end of quarantine.
Understanding that self-isolation is not a vacation
Most importantly, minimize contact and reduce your own risk of getting sick. Do not forget that the pandemic has changed the rules of etiquette – now you should not shake hands at a meeting. Feel free to remind others of this: health is much more important than social rituals. Try to be careful and take care of yourself. Do not eat foods that make your stomach hurt, do not engage in traumatic sports. The health care system is currently going through difficult times, so it would be better not to create an additional burden on doctors and hospitals. Just staying healthy now is already helping the community.
You can also contact local hospitals to find out if they need any help. For example, donor blood, mask making, volunteer work. If you have experience in fundraising, pay attention to local charitable foundations and help raise funds for projects to combat COVID ‑ 19.
I am designer and sewing clothes, so I have a sewing machine at home. A couple of days ago, I accidentally learned from acquaintances that our municipality was looking for volunteers who could sew reusable masks. I immediately contacted them and offered my services. For masks I use old cotton sheets – I have a lot of them at home. When the masks are ready, the organizers of this project will come for them. Then they will be disinfected and transferred to a nursing home. I started sewing last night and while I made 15 masks. I hope that this work will be useful.
Do not spread panic in social networks
The transition of the whole world to online and global concern led to distortion of information. People in social networks are divided into several categories. Nihilists deny the existence of coronavirus and require some kind of evidence, completely ignoring reports WHO and open data about the course of the epidemic in different countries. The alarmists sow horror, telling that the virus flies through the air. Conspirologists are looking for the perpetrators and try to convince everyone around that this epidemic is beneficial to someone. Folk healers are advised to wear a necklace of garlic and eat only ginger. All this only creates confusion and a misunderstanding of what is happening. Try to contact official sources, not panic and be the voice of reason.
I live in the region of Italy, which suffered most from the coronavirus. Quarantine for us began earlier than for others – we have been at home for more than three weeks now. Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information on social networks about how the epidemic is going on in Italy, from downplaying the threat and mistrust to incredible tales about how people are fined if they go to the store a kilometer from home. To help my friends and everyone who is interested in knowing how things really are, I set up a separate profile in Russian, where I write about the course of the epidemic and the peculiarities of life in quarantine, and translate studies by Italian scientists. I try to find a balance: explain how important it is to comply with the rules of quarantine, but at the same time show that life does not end with self-isolation.
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