Here in the U.S., many of us are coming to grips with the personal and societal risk of COVID-19. Precautions may include:

  • social distance
  • self-isolation
  • shelter-in-place
  • a variety of protective measures, such as washing hands and sanitizing surfaces

If you are worried about staying safe, getting tested, healthcare costs, job security, school, your business, surviving isolation or keeping kids occupied for at least the coming weeks, you can take action now. Here are seven things to focus on to get you through this unusual period.

washing hands

1. Get Information about Risk, Prevention and Care

  • Centers for Disease Control is a primary resource for COVID-19 information. Get facts here.
  • American Psychological Association shares information about mental health in these difficult times. We need to protect our physical health, but our mental health always comes along for the ride. 
  • Consumer Reports is sharing a variety of resources ranging from what you need for self-isolation to COVID-19 testing.
stocking groceries

2. Understand Your Employment and Financial Support Options

Industries have experienced shifts in clientele and business activity. For some, jobs have been seriously impacted or even eliminated. Some organizations have more or different work as a result of the pandemic. Volunteer opportunities have risen as well.

  • Check your eligibility for unemployment resources if you become unemployed due to the virus. Guidelines have changed in some geographies.
  • Follow political developments, as the measures being taken by Congress may provide you relief. You can follow the action on CSPAN.
  • Some new jobs are emerging. For example, Food City, a regional grocery chain in northeast Tennessee is hiring 2,500 to meet emerging business needs during this period and help take care of the community.
  • Check for volunteer opportunities that may suit your skills and situation. It’s a great way to take control in a time that feels a little out of control.

3. Take Advantage of Down Time

If you find yourself with down time, take advantage of it:

  • Add some beauty in your life with free immersive virtual museum tours.
  • Check out your favorite music artists, some of whom may deliver free concerts on such platforms as Facebook and YouTube.
  • Does your library have online books? Do you have some digital books or a collection of books on shelves you’ve been meaning to read? Do it.
  • Check for reduced fees for streaming services, basic or premium.
  • Find opportunities for free courses and extended trial periods available on such sites as CourseraGreat Courses and Bluprint or check out podcasts on Spotify, Apple, NPR and the like.
  • Be educated and inspired by TEDTalks.
  • Winnow down that art or craft stash with some projects.
  • Grab a cookbook or search for recipes online and get cooking.
  • Take care of that organization project you’ve not had time for.
  • Have a conversation via phone or video with someone close who may be more isolated than normal, especially people who are at risk.
  • Write. (Writers understand how time speeds by while writing during self-isolation.)
  • Be active. The only cost of feel-good endorphins is sweat equity.

Whether you have a lot of downtime or are crazy busy, take some down time to ground yourself. Try deep breathing or meditation or a short online restorative yoga class.

support local business sign

4. Help Local Businesses 

For some small businesses, one bad month can hurt (or even close) a business. If you are able, pay it forward to businesses impacted by the slowdowns and shutdowns, especially small local business:

  • Buy gift cards
  • Pay in advance for a service
  • If you have to run an errand, pick up a take-out meal
  • Leave a larger-than-normal tip
business communications

5. Especially for Businesses and Communications Professionals

If you are looking for the best way to communicate how your business will respond to COVID-19 with your key stakeholders, this open source Triage Kit may be helpful. It’s a seven-minute read with some good ideas and examples.

If you’re a small business owner with 50 or fewer employees struggling to create communications and this kit doesn’t help, give us a call for a free consult to help clarify your objectives and messaging. It’s a small way we can help businesses through this difficult time.

student studying online

6. Especially for Students

  • Some companies are offering free services, especially for students. If you need broadband or a wifi hotspot to do school work online, check out local providers. You may get it free.
  • For students experiencing relocation, U-Haul is offering free storage for students having to move.
  • If the move to online format presents unique challenges for you, let your professors know. They are working to create a solution that meets all of their students needs. And, be kind … some of them may never have taught an online class and are on a steep learning curve.
parent and child decorating cookies

7. Especially for Parents

  • Here’s a great list of activities for kids focused on education, compiled by a radio station in St Louis.
  • Check out Pinterest for a gazillion ideas on fun and educational activities for kids. I’ve done some of these fun activities with kids and added a little fun to kids’ meals with some of these food ideas. Bonus? The kids can help make some of these fun foods.
  • If you’ve got some kid-friendly paint on hand, grab your muffin tin and make modern art. Just paint the bottoms of a muffin tin, place the tin on a sheet of paper, and carefully lift the tin up. Let paint dry and enjoy the masterpiece. Kids love to pick their own colors and show off their style.
  • If you like to cook, bake cookies with your kids and let them ice their own. Lay out wax paper, a vinyl table cloth or otherwise cover the working surface for easier clean-up. Make small amounts of icing available to them. Limit or eliminate sprinkles to avoid a big(ger) mess. Kids love picking out colors, showing creativity, gifting cookies and eating their favorites.
  • Got a white board? Try tic tac toe or connect the dots … or work on vocabulary or math facts.
  • Play some fun and kid-friendly card games. Want to throw in an educational moment? Make kids spell vocabulary words, do math facts or facts for other topics before their turn. Let them ask you questions, too.

Wherever you may be, and whatever your situation, I wish you health and happiness. We’ll get through this.

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