A word or two on staying happy, healthy and connected.
As life becomes uncertain and we commence operation ‘hunker down’ to deal with the pandemic we wanted to touch base to say you’re all very much in our thoughts. We know that each name on our order screens, each voice on the phone and each face that appears in our shops belongs to someone who is now trying to figure it all out, just as we are.
We’re doing our very best to do the right thing for our families, colleagues, communities and of course our customers. We never forget you’re the reason we’re here – that you are our community. We’re abiding by current advice and have put practical measures in place to ensure we remain here for you – the phones are on, we’re online and fully operational and our shops remain open – we’ll be staying in touch through this troubling time.
You may detect a change in tone, our focus during this period is on ensuring that although many will be isolated, no one feels alone.
With this in mind, we’ve scribbled a hasty list of things we can all do to help ourselves and others stay happy, healthy and connected in these uncertain times.
Exceptional times call for exceptional kindness – and action. Combine the two and we have the beginnings of a response at a human level to the nuts and bolts impact the pandemic is having on people’s lives. The Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK network aims to provide a grassroots response to questions such as if I’m self-isolating or at high risk, who walks the dog?
Initiated by kindhearted and well-organised individuals under the banner #viralkindness, the mutual aid network has outpaced the pandemic with groups springing up all over the UK and internationally. At it’s core is a postcard created by Becky Wass, a lecturer from Cornwall who began distributing her postcard around her community. It reads: “Hello! If you are self-isolating, I can help”
From this small act of kindness, there are now nearly 2,000 Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK networks in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. All co-ordinating volunteers and offering support to those who need it. Find a Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK group here. And access the postcard template to create your own group here.
Whilst it’s important to stay informed it’s vitally important to lighten the load mentally so find time to turn off the news and turn on the tunes. We’re sure you’ve seen the moving and uplifting footage of Italians singing across the rooftops and empty streets. Well, we all have the capacity to make a similar impact on those we love. Friendships and families are bound together by song and all the shared memories that can be called up by just a few notes. If you can’t visit those dearest to you, instead show you care by celebrating your relationship in song by compiling and sharing a private playlist.
Spotify, Apple Music, and most platforms have the option to create and share a playlist (follow the links to find out how). Maybe it’s the Driving to France 1989 playlist to your sister self-isolating in London or the Rugby Tour with the Lads to your mate working on the front line in the NHS – this is a time to stay connected in imaginative ways.
The necessary separation of the generations is one of the most heart-breaking aspects of the pandemic. To bridge this gap, our digitally-minded reaction is to leap online but often the older generation either doesn’t have access to technology or the skills to navigate it confidently. Even if they do, they may find chatting online an inhibiting experience, especially if their grandchildren pepper the conversation with an endless stream of monster/bunny ears/dog face filters – which let’s face it, most do! And even if they don’t, a conversation between children and their grandparents can be a strain on both sides.
So why not go old school and supplement your digital comms with a letter. Remember the joy of receiving a handwritten letter in the post? It is within your power to create that joy by writing to older or high-risk friends and family. Adults should feel free to let rip on a six-page epic but rather than endure the agony of enforced junior letter writing, why not go out to the garden, or for a walk and find a spring flower to press and send. Or ask your kids to draw a picture. Relate it to their home learning and you’ve killed two birds with one stone.
Public Health England has advised that it’s safe to receive both parcels and letters, and the Royal Mail has stated their commitment to postal deliveries. Read more here.
If you think this post may help or be useful to anyone you know at this difficult time, please use the social buttons to ‘like’ and ‘share.’