Working at a FinTech company, I always find myself thinking about wealth. What is wealth anyway? According to Merriam-Webster, wealth is defined as an “abundance of valuable material possessions or resources”. Because my days are spent thinking about investments, passive income, retirement funds, and other money-related topics, it is easy for me to forget that there are other forms of wealth.
It’s also easy to see all that we took for granted before COVID. This includes our social interactions with each other. It was a resource we didn’t need to cultivate because it was just a fact of life as we knew it. Trips to the grocery store or the park meant we could expect to see other people, but we didn’t give it much thought. Now however, we notice each other much more, although it’s become more of a source of concern and caution than a source of aid and allyship. This wedge COVID is driving between us as a society necessitates a need for rehabilitation in community.
In light of all the trauma experienced this year, we need to be vigilant about generating more support for each other. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 53% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Furthermore, the death toll of COVID cases is nearly 500K in the US and 7% of Americans are still unemployed and many are struggling financially. People across the nation are experiencing massive loss in all different forms and they don’t always have the resources to cope with it.
For these reasons and more, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can enrich your life by building a wealth of community, and experience an abundance of resources built through collective support.
Ways to Help
1. Identify neighbors who may be at higher-risk, and offer to perform certain tasks for them.
You may have elderly neighbors who have trouble breathing through masks, and feel more exertion over regular tasks like going to the grocery store. Maybe you know a single mom with multiple kids who doesn’t have a lot of time for herself. A great way to help these neighbors is to offer certain services like doing their grocery shopping for them, or even preparing their meals. Maybe they have a dog that needs walking, or their garden needs watering. Think about the basic duties you have to do to take care of yourself, and then offer to do those things to support others that have a harder time with those duties in a COVID climate.
Tip: To increase the likelihood of continuing these helpful habits, offer to do tasks that you already plan to do. On your way to pick up takeout? Call a neighbor battling depression and offer to get them something. Do all your grocery shopping on Sunday? Ask an elderly neighbor to make a list for you so you can pick up their essentials along with yours.
2. Establish weekly creative projects for your kids to give to your neighbors.
Parents, you may be up to your wits end with your kids’ shenanigans. Where kids used to get their energy out at recess, ballet, soccer practice, etc. they no longer have a productive outlet to direct their time. Though I have no kids of my own, I used to work in schools and I know firsthand how important it is, as a caregiver, to focus all that energy into something constructive.
A great way to focus your kids’ energies is to direct them towards doing creative projects at home. Some of your neighbors might be isolated away from their families and feel extra lonely. Providing them with nice cards and displays of affection and recognition can give them some much needed emotional warmth. Maybe you are musical. A fun project could be putting on a neighborhood concert with your kids in your front yard.
3. Continue practicing the new skills you learned through the pandemic and share the wealth.
Do you identify as one of the COVID sourdough bakers that arose through the pandemic? Or did you start making your own hand sanitizers at home to save money? You’re not alone. Many of us started taking on side projects and hobbies to occupy our increased time at home. Use this as an opportunity to practice those skills and offer the fruits of your labor to your neighbors.
If you’re really committed to mastering these skills, this is a great way for you to get constructive feedback on the progression of your skill development. You’ll get to add one more thing to your skill set, and your neighbors will have more resources they need! It’s a win, win.
4. Organize online meetups with your neighbors
It’s not just the kids that need stimulation, we adults need something to help pass the time too. Organizing group activities from a safe distance can be a really useful way to pass the time. You could start a monthly book club, a Netflix Watch Party, or even host some helpful workshops in whatever craft or expertise suits your fancy.
5. Support local businesses
Did you know that 99.9% of all American businesses are small businesses? These include the local grocery stores, bakeries, farms, gyms, and other such businesses you may regularly support. The value in spending your money at businesses that surround your neighborhood is the fact that your money is being invested in the people within your community. Most likely, the small local businesses surrounding your home are owned by distant neighbors and community members. Plus, buying locally usually means you’ll receive higher quality products. I’ll take tomatoes from a local farmer’s market over tomatoes from Safeway any day.
It’s incredibly easy to get siloed into living our lives independently from each other, and unfortunately times have changed. From hoarding toilet paper, to aggressively demonstrating pro-mask or anti-mask sentiment, there are many ways that COVID has turned us against one another. Let’s rally against that by radically supporting our communities. We could all use a little more patience and kindness during this difficult time in our history.
If you decide to take on any of these suggestions to help your neighbors, tag us on social media and use the hashtag #tellusyoucare. We’re excited to see what you come up with!