I wanted to use this week’s Sharing Sunday, to provide some tangible ways to combat feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and stress that may have been brought on by recent events, I.e. COVID-19. And while the majority of us find ourselves at home, we can still make a difference in the world around us. Please be sure to let me know if you have any other clever thoughts, I’m all ears!

Something for you

Make a video of the simple moments. This is one of absolute favorite things to do. And better yet, add your favorite song, and I promise it will shift your perspective almost immediately. I have been making these videos for years, and each and every time, I find myself rewatching and soaking up just how valuable simple moments really are.

The app I use is called CutStory, it is very intuitive, and can even do a photo slide show, if you don’t want to do a movie. There is also an option to speed up or slow down the clip. Go through clips from old vacations, birthday parities, or just every day moments. This whole experience has seemed to shift priorities almost over night. Take some time notice the good!

Something for your family

One of the best things you can do when having a difficult or challenging time is to LAUGH. Seriously, laughter is a healer of the soul. And if you want me to get technical, there have been studies on the benefits of laughter. Some of the benefits include: increase in connection and bonding, improved immune system, less stress hormones, improves heart health, helps your body and tension relax, and finally, some studies have shown that it might even help you live longer. So, yes, SIGN ME UP!

If you have been following along on Instagram stories this week, you already know about the whip cream challenge. I heard about it from the @FullmHouse and the kids absolutely LOVED it, and it gave us some great laughs. Essentially, you add a little dollop of whip cream (we used Rediwhip) to the top of your wrist, and try to flick it up, and using the other arm to slap it down, and catch it in your mouth. It was so fun to see so many of you joining in via stories.

We also did the blindfolded food challenge. I blindfolded the kids, and gave them different foods, and they had to tell me what they were. While it sounds simple enough, I think it’s true that you eat with your eyes first. Especially, when I cut the items in different shapes than they may be in normally, just to throw them off a bit more.

Creating a family handshake. This is THE best, especially with younger kids. You take a few simple moves, encouraging the kids to add their own, and BAM, things just got way cooler!

For children whose love language is quality time, this should be an ample opportunity to really pour into their hearts. Creating deep connection, affection and memories. If you haven’t already read,The Five Love Languages of Children it is an absolute MUST.

Some Other Ideas:

  1. Crafts
  2. Watch a movie
  3. Decide together how you can help others- so important for children to see their parents model kindness
  4. Good old fashion board games
  5. Plenty of walks and bike rides
  6. Writing encouraging chalk messages on your sidewalk. It’s been such a wonderful way to encourage people as their out walking their pups, or getting some fresh air
  7. Skype, FaceTime, call and text often- daily checkins are a wonderful thing if you can’t be with your family
  8. Have the laziest of lazy days. Because, guess what, you can
  9. Cook and bake together
  10. Watch your favorite movies or shows

something for your friends

These last few weeks, I have been randomly sending flowers to friends. There is nothing quite like unexpected flowers showing up at your door to brighten your day. Also, a handwritten card. As an adult, there is something magical about getting mail that isn’t a bill or advertisement, LOL!

Start a group message, send funny memes, old photos and videos. Remind your friends you love them, and though you may not be together, no one is alone. Receiving a ‘how are you doing’ text is invaluable right now. Even if it is a friend you haven’t talked to in forever What is happening right now, affects us all, and we may all be feeling more isolated than usual. And better yet, check in with your friends that are nurses, doctors, in the medical field, working at the hospital, paramedic, any one is on the front lines. We can all use a little check in, you know?!

Cards I LOVE– Have a Little Pun

Flower companies I use: Farm Girl Flower, Bouqs

Something for others

Have you ever heard of something called the Helper’s High? It is a scientifically documented reaction that happens to your body when you do something for someone else. Your body actually released endorphins – the feel good hormone. Basically, you get a positive energy and mood boost by doing something for someone else. Think of about how you feel when you toss some money in a Salvation Army bucket during the holidays, pay for the coffee of the person behind you, or even a small gesture, like holding the door for someone. And now, more than ever, those small gestures go a long way. Let’s show people that we are in this together.

Here are a few ideas (inspired by this article by the Washington Post):

Where to Donate:

  1. Donate to your local food pantry
  2. Donate blood- this can be done by appointment, so you are not putting yourself or others at risk. Make an appointment here
  3. Donate to the Boys & Girls Club of America– they are working to provide groceries for families in need
  4. Donate to First First Book’s relief efforts- provides e-learning resources and hygiene products to children in need, who do not have access to these items outside of school
  5. Donate to the CDC foundation – the money goes to help provide energy response funds
  6. Check in with your local non-profits, who are probably greatly experiencing increased needs for their clients
  7. Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response fund- helps provide necessary medical materials to the hardest hit areas
  8. Donate to CERF+ who supports artists who contract the virus
  9. Donate to Direct Relief– provides lifesaving medical supplies and equipment
  10. Donate to Salvation Army – provide access to food and childcare
  11. Donate to Restaurant and Community Foundation on the ground efforts to help those in the restaurant business
  12. Donate to National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources– collects and distributes excessive inventory
  13. Donate to No Kid Hungry– ensure children in need are getting meals

other ideas:

  1. Buy gift cards to your favorite local restaurants- these have been described as interest free loans for the restaurant
  2. Older adults are considered the most at risk- check on them! Neighbors, family members, people you work with, or from your place of worship
  3. Flatten the curve: wash your hands, social distance, STAY HOME
  4. Do not buy masks unless you absolutely need them, or plan to donate to medical professionals
  5. Avoid hoarding supplies or food, be sure everyone has a chance to get their essentials, as well

This is not an exhaustive list, please the article for more information.

If anyone of your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, church members, or anyone else you can think of struggles with mental health issues, PLEASE reach out. Tell them they are not alone, and provide support however you can. And remember, we are stronger #aparttogether