Looking back on the darkest days of the pandemic, when strict lockdown rules were in force, COVID cases were at a peak and we couldn’t see friends or family for weeks – or sometimes months – on end, it’s easy to forget that there were some notable bright sides among all the gloom.
From local charitable initiatives to the way we interacted with loved ones, there was a distinct shift as we banded together in the face of adversity. Now that the worst is (we can only hope) behind us, wouldn’t it be wonderful if that spirit of altruism lasted beyond 2021?
These are the good deeds we should all make an effort to continue, even after the pandemic is over.
Checking in on friends and family
The pandemic has put a huge strain on many people’s mental health, but at the same time it’s helped reduce the stigma around the topic. More and more people feel able to open up about their struggles, and it’s become normal to ask, ‘How have you been feeling?’ or, ‘How have you been coping?’ and have an honest conversation instead of pretending everything’s fine.
We’ll be feeling the mental health effects of the pandemic for a long time, so let’s keep those conversations going and regularly check in on friends, family, and colleagues to see how they’re doing. Even people who ‘seem’ strong may be suffering under the surface, and a chat with a caring person could be just what they need.
Getting to know your neighbours
Spending all that time at home during lockdown meant more contact with neighbours for many of us, even if it was just handing over parcels you received on their behalf or smiling over the fence every now and then.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to create a sense of community in your street or block of apartments. You could start a Facebook or Whatsapp group, suggest social activities or just stop and have a chat when you bump into your neighbours instead of rushing straight home.
Helping vulnerable people
While there were people who needed specific assistance during lockdown, such as those who were isolating due to health concerns, there are always some vulnerable individuals or groups who need ongoing help. Why not look for volunteering opportunities or charities you can support in your local area year-round?
Wearing a face mask
While the law may not require face coverings in certain settings, you can help vulnerable or anxious people feel better by wearing one anyway.
Even if social distancing isn’t enforced, choosing to give people a bit of space is a considerate thing to do.
Appreciating key workers
Remember the trend during the first lockdown for leaving treats out for delivery people? Show your appreciation for key workers by baking cakes for your local hospital, being considerate to transport workers or saying an extra thank you to supermarket staff.
Sending surprises in the post
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference, like receiving an unexpected treat in the post. Show your loved ones you’re thinking of them, even if you’re far apart, by sending a card, flowers or a small gift.
Kindness isn’t just what we do for other people. If you’ve felt frazzled recently by the return to ‘normal’ life and find yourself ever so slightly missing the days when your diary wasn’t so crammed, show some self-compassion by slowing down.
Don’t feel under pressure to say yes to everything – socialising should be fun, not a chore. Remember it’s okay to reschedule or cancel plans if you need some alone time to recharge your batteries.
What good deeds do you hope will continue in 2022? Did you witness any extra kindness during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments section below.
– With PA
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