It would be easy to think, looking at the crowds of people wading unreservedly through the supermarket aisles, that self-preservation is prevailing over common courtesy under the pressure of the current health crisis.
Below the radar of the ‘every man for himself’ media coverage, however, COVID-19 has actually been a catalyst for collectivism in some communities, causing many people to think of - and reach out to - more people than they might do under normal, non-pandemic circumstances.
The elderly neighbour from across the street, for example, whose house you might have passed a thousand times, but which only in the past few days has truly caught your eye.
When those who depend most on connections to people and places are put in a position where they have to recede from the world, it can’t help but ignite a desire to help, particularly since loneliness is such a major risk factor for health and wellbeing.
How to help mitigate the pernicious effects of self-isolation-induced loneliness, not to mention the inaccessibility to basic supplies, is a challenge for which there is no one solution!
That said, this #viralkindness idea might go some way to helping the situation...
By posting ‘here to help’ notes to your most vulnerable neighbours, it’s possible to not only bolster their social ties, but also bridge the gap to hard-to-get food and personal hygiene products.
We might have an online shop or supermarket trip booked/planned that we can build their requirements into, or even some time to spare on the phone that can help break up the long days of self isolation.
Pulling up the drawbridges might be essential for many right now, but for the young and low-risk, so too is pulling out all the stops. Not least to ensure human connection can still infiltrate the daily lives of those who need it most, but also to ensure that the few who haven’t the means or mobility to shop around and stock up, are not left short by the many that can.