Disaster strikes. You spend a few moments paralyzed in fear, wondering what to do next. Once the dust settles, you realize that you are fine but not everyone was quite as lucky. You suddenly have a deep, overwhelming desire to help. Are you wondering how to help during a crisis? Let’s explore a few ideas:
How to Help During a Crisis: Offer Support
You don’t have to be rich, an emergency responder or a brave, selfless soul ready to jump into the line of fire to help during a crisis. With a little creativity, you can make a big impact without even leaving your home.
- Offer an encouraging word- send a card, a text, an email, anything to let someone else know you are thinking of them.
- Make a stranger smile- write encouraging messages on sidewalks, leave encouraging sticky notes in public places, post encouraging messages on social media. There is enough negativity during times of crisis. Help people find the good.
- Stay calm- Did you know our brains communicate with of one another? In moments of crisis, if you are able to stay calm, you are automatically helping others calm down.
- Be gracious- A crisis puts all involved under stress. When our brains are stressed we tend to overreact or live in fear. Be patient with others. They aren’t at their best.
- Make something- make a meal for someone in need of a break, masks for medical workers, cards for nursing home residents, a care package, etc. Find a need and meet it using your own two hands.
- Be available- During a time of crisis, instead of filling your schedule to the brim, leave a little space for the friend who needs to talk through their feelings, the neighbor who is struggling or the child trying to make sense of it all. Have time to be there for someone else when they need it most.
How to Help During a Crisis: Give
If you have a little financial wiggle room during a crisis, why not use it to benefit someone else? According to Berkley, giving is good for your health.
- Donate to a food bank, crisis response team, organization, etc.
- Use your credit card points to get gift cards (without spending a dime) and give them to those in need.
- Buy someone’s groceries.
- Forgive a loan made to family member or friend.
- Pay someone’s bills.
- If you are a landlord, forgive the rent.
- If you are someone’s boss, give extra time off.
How to Help During a Crisis: Jump in
- Volunteer to help at the food bank or with the crisis response team.
- Help an overwhelmed family member or friend find the resources they need.
- Advocate for change. Stand up against unjust treatment or responses.
- Fund-raise for a person or organization in need.
- Donate blood.
How to help during a crisis: Take care of yourself
This honestly should have been number one but I knew that most highly motivated helpers out there would have stopped reading immediately and jumped to find another list.
After all, who has time for self care during a crisis??!!
If you want to be a helper long term, you, my friend must make the time.
As I mentioned in the beginning, our brains talk. Just like your calm will rub off, the stress of others does too. Eventually all that stress chips away at your calm (need a visual, click here) leaving you exhausted, unable to help anyone.
I’m not asking you do take a vacation or go to the spa during a crisis. Here are some simple ways to take care of yourself during a crisis so that you can continue helping those around you:
- Get enough sleep.
- Practice gratitude.
- Eat well.
- Do yoga, meditate or just take a few deep breaths. If you need some guidance on this, Yoga with Adriene and the Stop, Breathe, Think app are great places to start.
- Stay connected with friends and family.
- Find a hobby to relieve stress.
- Exercise regularly.
- Give and receive lots of hugs.
- Laugh often.
If you are reading this in real time and looking for some other tips for getting through the COVID-19 pandemic, check out Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19.
We are all in this together my friend. If you are in a place where you can help, please do. People all around you need it.
If you are in need of help, don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes people don’t realize you are in the midst of a storm until you let them peek into your world long enough to see the rain.