A week ago, I was tested for Covid-19 and put under self-isolation. It was not the time of my life. But during that time, I had hundreds of people asking how they could help. While I felt completely humbled and grateful for all the love I felt, it was also hard for me to think of ways I could let people help me when I was cloudy, tired, and simply struggling to get enough air in my lungs. But let me tell you, people stepped up! Here are 7 ideas for helping someone in quarantine so you can jump into action without needing your friend, family member, or neighbor to give you something to do.
This one is a standard answer. Whenever someone gets sick, we often default to bringing dinners which is such a huge help. Don't stop at dinner! Grab them a salad, sandwich, or soup from a nearby cafe for lunch, send them some breakfast, or their favorite coffee from their favorite coffee shop. Taking out any amount of mental load and physical to-do is a huge help, meanwhile providing what they essentially need to fuel their bodies so they can heal. Have more time on your hands? Why not prep a freezer meal or two and drop them off? Oftentimes people get a lot of help at the beginning but then that fades even though they're still having a hard time. Helping them prepare for that extended recovery is super helpful!
For me, I felt so guilty anytime I had to text my husband and ask him to bring me some food. I'm a snack loving gal, so when I had a friend send over a care package filled with my favorite, healthy snacks?? I was over the moon. Here are some of my personal favs: Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn, dried fruit, sweet potato chips, trail mix, dark chocolate covered almonds, and (of course) Diet Coke. Need some more ideas? Head over here to get some more healthy snack ideas. And, of course, guilty pleasures and comfort food are always welcome, too.
3. Boredom Busters
Spending a lot of alone time is hard. Especially if you're an extrovert. It sounds dreamy at first but there's only so much Netflix your brain can handle before it starts to take a toll on you emotionally. It's part of our human nature to feel like we're growing and evolving. So, help your friend know they can still accomplish something even though they're confined to a smaller, less influential space. Bring them a coloring book with freshly sharpened pencils, send a new 500-1000 piece puzzle their way, lend them a copy of your favorite life changing book, invite them to do zoom meditation with you. Get creative! If you'd like to do it, they may like it too! And who knows? You may help them discover a new passion.
4. Talk to them
Even if they can't respond, don't let it be silent on your end. Send them a Marco Polo and just talk. It doesn't need to be about anything, we KNOW we're all doing basically the same thing right now, but it's not about being exciting, it's about letting them know you remember them. Send them a card, FaceTime them and watch your favorite show together, or just leave a note on their door that you're thinking of them. Knowing the world wants and misses them will help them know they're supported even though they're physically alone.
5. Take care of their family
If they're a spouse or a parent, there are other people who depend on them for their daily lives. Young children are especially high maintenance and it can be very difficult on them to have their mom or dad be totally MIA for days at a time. And if your friend is a single parent? They still have to be a caregiver while going through some VERY physically challenging times. So help them take care of their kids and family. Drop off kid-friendly lunches and snacks, come over and do a puppet show through the front window, do a Zoom call and read them children's books for 30 minutes, send the kids a little package in the mail. Check on the spouse who may be pulling a lot more weight than they normally would have to. Give a prepared creative date night so they can still connect with their loved one even though they can't be in the same room.
6. Run those errands
Not only can the person who's in self-isolation not go out to grab milk or bread but it's difficult for the people they're living with to go out as well. They may be tending to their children, still trying to work full-time, or they may simply be nervous going to public places because they don't want to spread any germs from home. Adding any of their groceries to your current order, grabbing their prescription from the pharmacy, or running any other easy errand for them is a huge help. Of course, don't jeopardize yourself, but if you're already out and doing it, it's not a big difference to grab something extra.
7. Go the extra mile
Who doesn't love a grand gesture? I'm not suggesting you have to scale their apartment building and write sweet messages on their windows to see first thing in the morning. But I am saying that sometimes, going out of your way makes a big impact. Get your girl gang together and do a socially distanced drive by where you honk and cheer, letting your BFF know you all love her. Take your kids and go draw on their sidewalk. Take a camp chair and go sit in their backyard and talk to them through the window. Get a group together and Christmas carol (all while standing 6ft a part). There are thousands of things you could do to let your friend, sibling, or neighbor know they're not alone. Be creative and go be a little extra.
This is a crazy time. Not just in our lives but in history. This is totally unprecedented! Many of us are suffering in diverse ways and mourning different aspects of our previous lives at different times. One thing that will help us all rally and rise together is if we continue to take care of each other and be the good. Kindness and selflessness will do a lot more to improve the world than binge watching Netflix or pining for what could have been. Go on, get out there.