- It’s still possible to spread joy this holiday season, even if you’re not rich and don’t have a lot of free time
- Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbour who might be stuck inside during coronavirus, and leave a positive review for your favourite local business
Let’s face it, social distancing is here to stay, at least until the end of this year. While any hopes of getting together with our extended family and loved ones have been dashed with Hong Kong battling a new wave of Covid-19, that shouldn’t stop any of us from spreading kindness and joy during this difficult period.
You don’t have to be rich or have tonnes of free time to give during the holiday season. Also, in addition to putting a smile on someone’s face, research has shown that helping others can boost our mental and physical health.
Here are some ways to make someone’s day amid the lockdowns.
One of the most thoughtful and easiest acts of kindness you can do while social distancing is to stay in touch with a friend who is struggling with quarantine. You can send them a silly Santa meme, an inspiring holiday quote, or quirky seasonal WhatsApp animated stickers. If both of you have a couple of hours to spare, you can even have a remote Netflix teleparty and watch your favourite Christmas films together – a reminder that you are still connected even in these troubling times.
Lots of small and local businesses are struggling to stay open during the pandemic, with many of them being forced to move their services online. Meanwhile, even more are on the verge of being shut down with the city’s latest Covid-19 restrictions. You can help by leaving your favourite cafe or shop a positive review online this holiday to help them during lockdown. And while you’re at it, you can also write a “Merry Christmas” note to your delivery person to thank them for their hard work, or leave hand sanitisers and sanitising wipes at your front door for them to use.
If you have an elderly neighbour, you can ask them (over the phone or at a safe social distance) whether your family can help pick up groceries for them or add their orders to your online purchases. While many of us are somewhat used to getting our stuff delivered online, the elderly might have some difficulties with that. You can also let them know you’re thinking about them by ordering them a meal.
These are great ways to keep in touch and make sure they don’t feel lonely during this period, especially if they live apart from their family and can’t spend Christmas with them.
It’s no surprise many families’ daily routines are thrown out of whack (yet again) with the recent school closures and work-from-home orders. If your parents allow, consider walking a neighbour’s dog or helping them look after their pets for a few days. You can also read to your neighbours’ younger kids over Zoom, or teach them a new hobby such as making friendship bracelets. There is no better time than Christmas to share these skills and encourage the spirit of giving and paying-it-forward.
Most importantly, make sure you are practising self-kindness and compassion this Christmas by indulging in delicious festive treats, spending time with your favourite people, and taking as much time as you need to unwind after a stressful year. After all, it is easy to feel anxious and frustrated these days, and even more so during the festive holidays. Taking care of yourself and staying positive also allows you to better help others, so that these little acts of kindness can rub off on those around you.