I was curious when I heard people’s response to COVID-19 was to bolt to Costco to buy toilet paper by the cartload. Shelves at local grocery stores where Cashmere and Cottonelle once provided comfort and luxury, were absorbed by Charmin, leaving nothing behind. I tried to understand this desperate surge of hoarding our precious toilet paper. I concluded preparing for a possible shortage was something we could CONTROL; besides, who wants to be abandoned without a square to spare?
To curtail the obsession, grocery stores took control. Hoarders were limited to a package per person, forced to revisit social consideration. With the reassurance that there is enough pulp to make our beloved toilet paper, the fury morphed into measures to control how we grocery shop – for the benefit of all.
Amid the conspiracy theories, the next asinine Trumpisms, and yes, the hoarding of toilet paper, it can be challenging to find the CALM. With our freedoms of choice inhibited, we can feel alone, overwhelmed, and isolated.
ACCEPT how you feel. Resist comparing your situation and experience to others. It will not serve you. We are all equipped differently to deal with imposed circumstances. Own yours, that you can CONTROL.
Once we ACCEPT our circumstances, then we can take CONTROL and refocus, reimagine, and redesign our situation. Appreciate what we can control and CELEBRATE how the human spirit will rise to the occasion to collaborate and find solutions to our newly found situation.
Many organizations reimagined and redesigned
Many organizations have swiftly explored new possibilities. Some with tweaks to their businesses, and others with complete overhauls. Some for-profit, and some out of sheer compassion. Regardless, these organizations courageously reimaged their response and redesigned their approach to meet a societal need.
- The recently closed General Motors car plant in Oshawa retooled to produce millions of masks.
- Local manufacturers reimagined and responded to the demand for plexiglass shields to protect cashiers and customers.
- Bauer moved from hockey visors to protective COVID visors. In the spirit of collaboration, they made their visor designs public to encourage other companies to step up and help with production.
- While many are missing our beloved Raptors and Maple Leafs, at the Scotiabank Area, others are grateful for the sports facility reimagined and redesigned as a kitchen. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), and partners are providing 10,000 meals a day to go to Toronto’s front-line health care workers and their families as well as the city’s most vulnerable.
- Zoom video conferencing service provided teachers and students services for free.
- Kiva U is providing children with the opportunity to learn about international issues such as Global poverty, refugees, food safety, clean water, entrepreneurship, the value of family, financial inclusion, and more! From home, all for free!
- Companies, such as A & W, are taking their advertising spots and using them as public announcements to be safe, stand two-meters apart, wash your hands, and sneeze into your arms.
- Marriott Hotels and others are giving free rooms to health care works, military, and supermarket works to keep them close to work and safe from their families.
- Georgian College and others are providing free courses for those who want to retool their skills.
- Internationally, companies are responding to the call. In Kenya, Mexico, and other developing nations, they are redesigning their clothing and shoe manufacturers and producing medical masks and ventilators.
These organizations are making their contribution count when their communities need them. That is something to CELEBRATE!
Individual have also made their contributions count
Small groups of people and individuals have also taken CONTROL and embraced the opportunities to make their contribution count.
- Citizens across Canada have come together and went out on their balconies, porches, or hanging from open windows to bang pots, ringing bells, or singing at 7:30 each evening to show our appreciation for front line workers.
- A group of friends created GroceryHero Canada, a not-for-profit that grocery shops for medical professionals. It helps already stretched nurses, and doctors to focus on patients, and reduces the risk of their exposure.
- An entrepreneur turns from an art designer to a plexiglass producer.
- Citizens take the lead with meal trains, virtual birthday parties, and drive-bys saying, “We Miss You!”
- Hearts in lights spread throughout cities
- People are exercising in the streets to get neighbours participating
- Virtual book clubs are connecting friends to escape the insanity
- Taxi drivers take patients to the hospital for free.
- Citizens across Canada have come together and went out on their balconies, porches, or hanging from open windows to bang pots, ringing bells, or singing at 7:30 each evening to show our appreciation for front line workers. (pic)
People’s CONTRIBUTIONS have been inspiring. And it is in times of crisis the best of humanity can come into the light.
One little sign of inspiration I receive almost every day during my distancing walk is the painted rocks strategically placed with an inspiring message. It is not the rock, nor the multi-colours that brings a smile to my face; it is that someone took the time to paint it and share in hopes that it would make someone feel good. I assure you it does.
The mental health benefits of contributing
When we contribute to uplift another, our brain receives exponential benefits. Not only does a receiver mentally benefit from our social support, but the contributor benefits in specific brain regions associated with stress, reward, and care-giving—a win-win. Neuroimaging suggests that the person contributing experiences a higher level of reduced stress over the receiver. Neurobiologists attribute the reduced amount of anxiety to our ability to take CONTROL of how we give support. The receiver, on the other hand, has little or no say. So, make sure your contribution is conscious and consider your impact on the receiver. (To learn more about conscious-contributions visit a previous weWednesday blog ( https://youmewe.ca/wewednesdays-what-is-a-conscious-contribution-2/)
During May, Mental Health Month, an effective way to infuse your brain with serotonin—the happy chemical, while reducing stress is to uplift the life of another. This approach will also provide you with meaning, especially if you feel you have none.
So, once we ACCEPT our feelings, and recognize the contributions that so many have made to ease OUR burden – CELEBRATE, then we too can take CONTROL BY making our CONTRIBUTION COUNT.
How can you make your contribution count?
Here are some ways you and your family can make your contributions count by moving from awareness to control.
- Reach out to GroceryHero Canada to help deliver groceries to health professionals https://www.facebook.com/GroceryHeroCanada/
- Connect with a retirement residence or other care facility to see if there is someone you can talk to remotely who is feeling lonely
- Give blood to Canadian Blood Services, as they are receiving reduced donations for an ever-present need
- Have a sewing machine? Make colourful masks for elderly, high-risk people, and for those who want to protect others and themselves.
- Check-in on your elderly neighbours by phone, or from a safe distance. Many are lonely.
- Drop off food for a neighbour
- Plant flowers for an elderly neighbour
- Donate money to a Foodbank (Food Banks Canada)– is in huge demand.
- Provide food to women’s shelters, or any shelter
- Connect with Big Brothers Big Sister to see if you can mentor a child remotely
- Really listen to a friend.
- Paint rocks, send messages, conduct friendly drive-bys, leave a note
- Saying thank you through doors, 2 yards away, via FaceTime, phone call, or text can go a long way to let someone know #YourContributionCounts – in times of isolation and minimum interaction, it is the fuel that can keep driving our energy for good.
Isolation is not easy. We all need to feel united. By connecting with others through care and contribution, you, too, will feel connected. Many have chosen humanity over self-gratification. They took control and decided to benefit all. Perhaps there is hope for more societal collaboration in our future. One can hope.
Remember, you are doing the best you can. Whether you have stopped hoarding toilet paper, are keeping your distance, or you’re undertaking a social contribution to help others during this unprecedented time, remember #YourContibutionCounts.
If you know an individual or group that is making a small or significant contribution, celebrate them by posting on Your Contribution Counts campaign. For every post, the YouMeWe Social Impact Group will invest $US1 in a woman’s education or business – moving women from poverty to prosperity. Women in general, but particularly in developing nations are bearing an extra burden, as many cannot physical distance.
You may want to check out how to make your contributions conscious.