Spreading Compassion During Uncertainty: 5 Ways To Help During COVID-19

It’s been  C R A Z Y  lately, hasn’t it?

With the coronavirus outbreak, all of us have had to quickly make adjustments to help prevent the spread, from schools closing, workers going remote, and restaurants & bars shutting their doors. I believe these are absolutely the right decisions.

Each day that we self-isolate, especially early on, is a day we save thousands of lives. That’s how compound math works.

However, it’s disrupted a lot of our lives in the medical community such as in these ways:

  • Schools have cancelled Match Day celebration, a happy time when you find out where the next few years of your lives will spent be for medical training.
  • Some couldn’t travel to attend a funeral of a loved one.
  • Some can’t look at new housing and are about to start residency or a new job in a completely new city in just a few weeks.
  • Some gave birth and couldn’t have their DrSpouse in the same room while delivering their baby.
  • Some had to cancel once in a lifetime graduation trips to exotic places, which could only take place in the small window between graduation and new job.

In the meanwhile, our DrSpouses are also working around the clock and intentionally going into danger on the front lines. They are exposed to the virus and may unknowingly bring it home at any time.

As of right now, two EM physicians are in critical condition fighting for their lives from the virus…

…and that’s why the world is witnessing first-hand the special challenges that medical families face.

When our DrSpouses are home, they’re behaving and treated as if exposed per CDC guideline for COVID-19. They decontaminate their clothes and shoes in the garage, shower immediately upon entering the house, and handle their own laundry while wearing gloves. They sleep on the guest bed and have a separate bathroom. They eat on paper plates with disposable sporks.

You get the picture.

Some families have decided to take an extra step and temporarily, yet reluctantly, separate.

A doc wife friend’s husband is living in their RV parked outside of the hospital. Another doc wife friend’s husband is at an extended stay. He’s not allowing any of the hotel staff to come in to clean except to deliver fresh towels outside the door.

All the while, we still manage the household, work remotely, care for kids, and juggle all the balls, and wear all the hats.

We live in a very different time right now than we were just a few weeks ago!

To the spouse who has had to re-arranging their family while their DrSpouse can keep their oath to help other families, I see you. You are doing an amazing job!

In the meanwhile, turn off the news and check social media only once a day because you don’t need to be plugged in 24/7. Instead, move from fear to growth so that you are positive and encouraged during this challenging time.

Here are my tips on how to spread compassion to others.

Spreading Compassion Today: 5 Ways To Help During COVID-19

1. Support Local Small Businesses

This is a time when so many small businesses are going to be really hurt.

You can support them by sharing and liking their posts and writing outstanding Yelp and Google reviews for them.

If you use DoorDash, Shipt, or any other delivery service, tip extra well. They go through hell and risk their health trying to make substitutions and make your order right.

If your favorite restaurant or small business offers gift cards, buy them now to give them some cash flow for the next few weeks.

Finally, when the corona is over, I got two words for you: revenge shopping.

2. Reach Out To Neighbors, Friends, and Loved Ones

Most of you are feeling anxious. And it’s likely, so are many others.

Reach out to them through phone, text, and check in to see how they’re holding up.

Offer neighbors to bring them groceries and leave them at their doors.

3. Decorate Your Exterior Home

There are movements where people are making red hearts for their front doors, rainbows for their windows, and pretty sidewalk art.

With more people taking strolls in their neighborhoods as the weather gets better, this will spread cheer. And it’s something kids are more than happy to do with you.

4. Donate To School Lunch Programs

Help support families whose kids normally get lunch at school while schools are closed through Blessings in a Backpack or your local program.

5. Write Letters To Nursing Homes And Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are the people in society whom we are trying to protect the MOST. They have the highest morbidity rates if they get this virus. That’s why they are under quarantine and visits to them (even by family members) are strictly prohibited. This means many of our elders are facing a lot of isolation and loneliness, which directly impacts their health.

Help these most vulnerable people by writing a letter to your local nursing home and assisted living facility. This is something that older kids could help with,

In Summary

This is a crazy time. But it’s not forever.

Remember the sweet moments amidst the chaos. Write in your journal and take pictures of your kids, DrSpouse, and document the times when there is beauty, sacrifice, and joy. I use One Day app, which is a journal on my iPhone, and add my pictures and videos there.

In the meanwhile, unplug from the 24/7 news!

This is a great time to look for ways that we can help others by bearing someone else’s burden and giving some encouragement.

Supporting you and blowing air kisses to you.

To your strong medical family,