“The times we live in bring a greater sense of uncertainty, but also an overwhelming need to help each other out.” -Joe Pacovsky
During unprecedented times like these, things can feel overwhelming and maybe even a bit scary. Here at Dani Blain Real Estate we want to encourage our clients and future clients to use a bit of time right now to lean in to what grounds you. Lean in to what makes you feel good. That may be something as simple as taking a break from social media, baking cookies, or taking a walk through your neighborhood. For some it may be doing something to give back to the community or to our friends and neighbors. Our brokerage takes great pride in doing what we can to serve and lift others up in times of need. Here is a list you can pull from – or not. Maybe you are already knocking the ‘Quarantine Game’ outta the park. If you are, please add to our list in the comments below. But if you find yourself looking for a little nudge in the right direction, here you go:
1. Help a neighbor
This seems pretty simple, but for the last two and half months we may have been operating in fight or flight mode and not looking past the moment we were getting through. But now, as things are settling in and we are all getting ready to venture into what will become normal, we can take a step back and see that there may be someone a house or two away we can help. Reach out (especially to an elderly neighbor) and see if there is anything they need. It might be a cup of sugar or a box of tissue you have on hand. Or maybe you can show them how to do an online shopping order? You could save them the delivery fee and go pick the order up for them. It can be simple, it doesn’t have to be something like committing to mow a lawn every week, it could be bringing their trash cans out for them. It could be leaving them a quick note to tell them their roses are looking great. Anyway you can connect to the people around you will be great for both you and them. Give it a try and see what happens
2. Donate Blood
Blood banks always need blood, but they need it now more than ever. Blood drives across the country have been cancelled, less people can be allowed in donation centers with COVID-19 protocols, and less people are healthy enough or willing to donate. The American Red Cross released a statement saying, “…Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.”
And right here in the Valley, Central California Blood Center (CCBC) says, “Blood is very much an essential for our Valley people. There’s a reason why we say, “Valley people need valley blood.” As a health care operation and essential infrastructure to our community, we are open and accepting blood donors, with blood needed now more than ever.” If you are healthy and willing, making a donation now can make a big difference. Make an appointment with CCBC today right here on their website.
During this time volunteers are needed more than ever. When Shelter in Place orders were mandated, a number of industries that relied on volunteers, lost a great deal of them due to the populations that were volunteering – older adults in the high risk category. If you find yourself with time on your hands that you didn’t previously have, now is a great time to start volunteering. Right here in the Valley, our food banks have a huge need for volunteers. By visiting this link you will see a number of events that they need hundreds of volunteers for. Additionally, with so many things shifting to virtual modes these days, you can even volunteer remotely, from the safety and comfort of your own home. Check out this link where you will see a number of digital volunteer opportunities.
4. Make a Donation
Non-profits across the country need your donations now more than ever. If you have the resources available to you, consider making a monetary donation to FoodLink of Tulare County or your local church so they can put your funds towards the greatest needs. CASA of Tulare County is also another great place here, locally that could really benefit from your support. Additionally, you could create The Valley’s very own Mutual Aid Group – almost like a virtual classified ad specifically for people who may have fallen upon hard times can list their needs (groceries, translation services, a prescription pick-up, etc…) and others can choose to answer the call. Currently the closest ones to us are in LA County and San Joaquin County. One of us could start one right here for our community in the Central Valley.
5. Remember those working on the front lines
Think of the number of times we have gone to the grocery store, stopped in to pick up a to-go food order at a local restaurant, had a package delivered to our front door… how many times have we done those things in the last two and half months? The essential workers that have kept us going in these times have been called to the front lines in a way they certainly couldn’t have predicted. In addition to these Pandemic Heros, there are of course our healthcare workers, and first responders risking exposure every shift. What can we do to show all of them our gratitude? It depends on the resources you have available to you, but it could be calling the police station and asking if you can have pizzas delivered, or dropping off donuts at the fire station. It could also be having a little box of pre-packaged goodies and waters by your door for the people enabling your online shopping addiction. You could take an extra moment or two at the grocery store to give eye contact to the people that are ringing you up and bagging your groceries and delivering a heartfelt thank you. There are many ways to express our appreciation to all on the front lines and we think anything you do to recognize them will go a long way. Take that kindness and sprinkle it around like confetti!
6. Create Community
We keep hearing, “we are all in this together,” right? It’s true – we are all, collectively, experiencing life in a pandemic at the same time time, together – but we are also somewhat still physically apart. As humans, we all crave connection, we need it like we do food and water. It’s in our DNA – we are wired to connect. It’s no wonder some of us may be feeling a bit off kilter being socially distant from the people in our communities. Our kids aren’t seeing their friends everyday at school, we aren’t seeing the other parents we always do at pick ups and drop offs or soccer and basketball practices. This can leave us with a deficit in our “human connections bank.” So what can we do to fill them back up? We can connect virtually with Zoom, Facetime, Skype, etc… or the old fashioned way – a regular phone call, a postcard, a letter to connect with those that we normally see.
We can also do little things in our neighborhood to create a sense of community with the people close in proximity, but that we maybe wouldn’t normally spend time with. There are a few simple things we can do to let our neighbors know we are with them in this, and uplift them in this challenging time. You could leave a little note to everyone at the mailbox. You could leave positive and uplifting notes on the sidewalk (not just in front of your house – all around the ‘hood) for people to see along their walks. You could paint, color, or print out a rainbow to display in your front window. Families in Italy started doing this when COVID-19 forced the entire country into lockdown. This simple rainbow that kids were drawing began to unite them and symbolized hope and served as a reminder that, “andrà tutto bene” (everything will be alright). People around the world have been inspired by this and you can see rainbows in windows to help remind us all that it will be good again.
7. Take care of yourself
Just as they say in pre-flight reminders, you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you place it on those dependent on you. If we don’t make self-care a priority, there is no way we can help our fellow neighbors and our Valley community. Practicing good self-care doesn’t have to mean a spa day (although.. How nice does that sound?!) It really can be something as simple as taking a break from your day and stepping outside. Just being amongst nature (literally in your own backyard, or work parking lot with some trees) has been proven to lower blood pressure and help fight anxiety. You can kick it up a notch and practice guided meditation using a free app on your phone (we love Calm and Pray.com) and feel the stresses of our everyday melt away. You can journal, draw, color, take a nap, take a bath, or anything that would bring you a little joy that you carve time out for to prioritize yourself for just a small portion of your day. Give it a try and see that self care really does help set the tone for you to be your best self for others.
The bottom line is this… all of us, collectively, are going through something that has never happened in our lifetime. None of us know how to do this “right” and there really isn’t a one size fits all right way to do life in the midst of a global pandemic. We just want you to know that we are here for you, we are with you in this together, and we are rooting for everyone as we all create our own paths through this challenging time. We would also love to hear from you… if you tried some of the things in our list, if you have ideas to add, or if you just want to give us a virtual fist bump in the name of solidarity, we will take it! Share this article on social media for us or email it to a friend and thank you for being a part of our community.