It is rare that entire communities experience the same crisis, beyond wartime. But even then, the mother of a deployed soldier has a very different reality than a shopkeeper with no direct ties to the battlefield. This difference holds true even now. For those of us who don’t work in the medical field or as first responders, we have the luxury of distance, not only from the virus but also from the psychological impacts of losing a patient and fighting this pandemic on the front lines. I, for instance, will not have to revisit my last will and testament because of the work that I do. Let me repeat, I will not have to revisit my last will and testament because of the work that I do.
But, none of us, not even those on the front lines were ever immune to crisis. If you’ve lived long enough you’ve probably experienced a crisis or two already. Losing your parents, going through a tumultuous divorce or losing a job. These events, while ubiquitous, can be personally devastating. What’s different about this moment, this pandemic, is that the crisis is happening to everyone all at the same time. While our precise loci on the map of impact may differ, the fear of this virus unites us.
We’ve all seen the YouTube videos which illustrate how to disinfect groceries from COVID-19 and the daily CNN death count figures. You’ve heard your spouse echo from across the room that “this thing doubled again!”. And then there’s the unemployment number which is hovering around an incomprehensible 3.3 million filings last week, numbers which if they hold, may surpass the rates during the great depression. If this transpires, future high school text books will display that Depression era black and white photo of bread lines alongside those lines outside of community hospitals to represent what we experienced during our worst of times.
But what can we do now to help? We can of course stay home and help to flatten the curve. We can call a friend that we haven’t talked to in years and lend an ear. We can check in on our relatives that live in other households. But if you need to do more, here are some ideas below that will adhere to social distancing protocols while also directly helping other people.
- Pay staff that you normally employ but can’t visit or have onsite right now due to social distancing recommendations. This is a sacrifice but it is one that you can choose to do to help keep your local economies going while we are all in a holding pattern.
- Donate blood, there is a real shortage right now, but please make sure that blood bank team you select employs solid social distancing and hygiene before going. I called my local blood bank and found that they didn’t have masks, so I selected a team that did.
- Find a non-profit with a good track record of expeditious delivery to help provide PPE’s to a hospital located in one of the epicenters (NYC, Washington and California). It may seem logical to donate locally, but the reality is, there are cities with exponentially greater need.
- Share science-based information only. It’s hard not to consume fear-based content right now, we’re all guilty of that, but focus on medical advice from actual doctors not pundits or your aunt, unless of course she’s a doctor!
- Raise your hand if you need help. Many people will be impacted financially from this pandemic. Contact your lenders, your landlords and your vendors and communicate your needs in this moment, if there was ever an argument for creative solutioning, it would be now. If you need mental health resources in NYC there is a free hotline (1-844-863-9314) just for that purpose. Other states may also have similar resources.
- Practice social distancing. This is the hardest of all but the most important. Until we have evidence that we are not contagious, we must behave as if we are to protect lives.
The learnings from this moment, this Covid-19 virus, will be vast. Not just the shoring up of resources for medical staff, but also redefining what it means to live in a community and what our responsibilities are to other people. In my business I have done my best to make sure my team and my clients have the ongoing support to deliver their work, but I have also offered up something more, giving a little bit extra, listening more deeply to make sure that the human being behind the work is ok. I hope this helps; I certainly believe it could. But at the end of the day what we all must remember, is that a crisis always ends. You don’t ever know when exactly, but it will. In the meantime use every available tool at your disposal to get by and of course, get to work.
If there’s anything my team can do to support you or your work in this moment, let us know.