By Colleen Luley
Let me state the obvious: we’re not thriving right now. Since March 2020, how many times have you heard someone say that they and their family are doing great and living their best life? Depression, despair, isolation, and loneliness are on the rise, and some places are seeing far greater numbers of suicides than deaths from COVID.
The pandemic’s immediate effects have been hard. People are in and out of quarantine. Childcare is tricky. Fear and anxiety about death and sickness abound. And we’re all exhausted from constantly wondering: When will this end?
And this shouldn’t surprise us. People will continue feel troubled and isolated until we return to some kind of relational normal. When we isolate real human beings from other real human beings– from clubs, activities, school, worship, church, families– we strike at the heart of the key to thriving: community.
In the Bible, Jesus repeatedly reveals how to live your best life. Love one another. Human beings are created to show love to others in real, tangible ways. So when people are forced to separate, we suffer.
What do we do? How can we fight to love each other in this pandemic world? How do we cope with COVID?
Here are some super practical ideas for how to show love to others in 2020
Pick one or to do in the next few weeks. Invite your kids or friends to do them with you. My hope is that this list gives you motivation and encouragement as work to you love others.
For neighbors, family, friends, or coworkers:
Even though we can’t get together in person, there are lots of ways to remind people you care. Get creative and do fun things that you might not otherwise!
- Write thoughtful notes – email, text, or handwritten are all great!
- Call a friend, even if you’ve just got 5 minutes. It’s good to hear a real voice!
- Bake cookies and leave them on a doorstep.
- Drop off wine and dessert to a few friends on a planned Zoom catch up night.
- Visit from a distance outside. Drive through for coffee and bring it to a park with a friend. Invite a few neighbors over for s’mores and a bonfire.
- Text frequently just to check in on someone who might be struggling.
- Grab an extra pumpkin when you get yours and drop it by a neighbor’s house.
- Tip the delivery driver with a hefty amount. They are running ragged right now.
- Join your neighborhood’s Facebook group or NextDoor app so you know the needs.
- Offer to pick up CPS’s grab-and-go lunches for a neighbor or friend who has to work during the pick-up times.
For your kids:
Our children might be struggling too. They aren’t machines and don’t need machines to engage with them. They need real people. Yes, we don’t always have a lot of time. But could we take a few minutes a day to create rituals and routines in our homes to help our kids feel secure and give them health?
- Water the flowers or plants with your kids every day.
- Read with them at a certain time of every day.
- Make it a habit to look them in the eye and smile every time they walk in the room.
- Get on the floor with your toddler for a few minutes (even when they are driving you nuts).
- Pray for them before bed each night.
- Give them something to look forward to: a family game night or movie night
- Plan some intentional, one-on-one time with each of your kids – just you and them for a meal, ice cream, coffee, hike, etc.
- Ask how they’re doing! Tell them they are seen, and the extra work they are doing is not taken for granted.
- Give them gift cards for takeout. Bring by a meal, snacks, or coffee when you’re out.
- Create an activity for their kids to do and drop it at their house.
- Remind them that their students don’t care what they’re wearing over Zoom.
- Invite their kids to play with yours, giving them a break or just some time to catch up (for anyone working at home with kids!)
- Ask if they have a “wish list” – some items that might help them in their effort to distance teach – and buy them something from it.
These little acts of loving kindness add up in the lives of others. Be the bright spot in someone else’s hard day. Take some simple steps to combat the darkness and isolation that has come with the pandemic in order to show others the love of Jesus.
How are you coping with Covid while at home with your family? Check out our guide to Setting Goals in an Unexpected School Year and make a plan with your family today!