Did You Know? Kindness Counts Double during COVID-19
The Golden Rule—treat others the way you would like to be treated—carries extra weight during the long months of this global pandemic when frustration and emotions run high.
“Long periods of stress and anxiety like we’ve experienced in 2020 may reduce our ability to look outside of our own situation and empathize with what others are experiencing,” said Amber Olson, LCSW, with Memorial Behavioral Health (MBH). “Demonstrating simple acts of kindness and understanding for others can make a positive emotional difference for both the recipient and the giver.”
Showing kindness does not have to be complicated or expensive either. Consider these ideas:
- Be there for others. Mail a note or card; make a phone call; send a text. Do a porch drop-off with a goody basket or simple meal for a neighborhood senior or shut-in. Offer to help with the client shopping at a local food bank. Bundle up and offer to walk a friend’s dog when their schedule is overwhelmed or the weather is particularly nasty.
- Try a random act of kindness. Let the person following you in the mall parking lot take the close parking spot. Smile behind your mask (your eyes will show your smile) and thank the people who least expect it—clerks, baggers, those moving shopping carts out in the lot. Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru.
- Volunteer your time. Ask a local elementary or preschool teacher if you can help do cut-outs or prep craft projects from home. Contact the food bank about helping sort donations or grocery shop for clients. Check with area nursing homes or assisted living centers about making a homemade cookie drop or helping with seasonal decorations.
- Be generous with your attention. Really listen to others. Avoid offering suggestions to fix a troublesome situation unless they specifically ask for your opinion. And if they share something tough going on in their own life, resist the urge to one-up them with what is going on in yours. Instead, just be there to offer understanding and compassion.
- Be understanding with yourself and others. We are all living under duress. As a result, many of us may not be our best selves at times. When our colleagues or loved ones snap at us inappropriately, we need to avoid responding in kind. Transition your focus from anger to understanding. When you are abrupt or difficult with colleagues or loved ones, apologize. Recognize how fragile each of us is right now and respond with empathy.
Need to talk?
As behavioral health services across the state close temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Memorial Behavioral Health provides telehealth and phone appointments with their patients. In addition, MBH has established a free and confidential emotional support hotline, available at 217-588-5509 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to provide support to individuals who are experiencing anxiety or stress, even if they are not MBH patients.