by OKA’s Harris Fanaroff
My fiance and I were weighing the options of clicking “continue watching” on the Apple TV, going for a second walk of the day, or starting happy hour a little early. Our conversation shifted, and the two of us started discussing thoughtful ways we could connect with families and friends while quarantined.
Wouldn’t our time be much better spent bringing smiles to their faces? These days, even small gestures make a big difference, ironically, these actions would also make us feel grateful and uplifted as well.
I searched online for creative inspiration, and while ideas for keeping yourself and your children occupied were in abundance, I found very few suggested kind acts to support neighbors, family and friend while quarantined, so I decided to start a list of my own.
10 thoughtful things you can do for other people during this pandemic:
1. Create a personalized mask using special, unique or valued fabric. My future mother-in-law made me a Washington Nationals mask and made my nieces pink polka-dot masks.
2. Write an email/letter to one person a day detailing 5 things you’re grateful for. This could be a family member, mentor, mentee, colleague or friend–anyone. Be sure to share with them that they are one of the things for which you are grateful.
3. Create a picture book or collage for someone you care about. My fiance has done this for me, and while they can be time-consuming to create, they are so thoughtful, and the impact is amazing! She uses Shutterfly.
4. Create a video series of 15-30 second clips for someone you care about. Have all the grandchildren send you their favorite grandparent stories, and put them all together for one special video.
5. Get someone you care about a random gift–something you know they’d enjoy. I just ordered my fiance a jigsaw puzzle from our honeymoon spot.
6. Organize and create a virtual game with friends over Zoom. Each week a different friend gets to be the host and decide on the questions. For instance, the host could choose a music game and play a song for 5-10 seconds and the participants have to guess the title and artist (1 point for each). Another option is a general trivia, where participants each come with a half-dozen trivia questions prepared to challenge the other people playing the game–questions like, “What is the least populated state in the US?” or “How many basketball championships did Michael Jordan win?”
7. Send a video/picture of a fun time you had in the past to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Send them the picture or video as a reminder and then check-in to see how they are doing through this craziness. My buddy recently sent me a video of us celebrating the Washington Capitols winning the Stanley Cup in 2018, and it brought a big smile to my face.
8. Organize a weekly dinner with someone who you know is sheltering in place. My grandma is quarantined alone, so we’ve decided to do Wednesday night dinners with her every week over Zoom. We have dinner delivered to her, and we eat “together.”
9. Offer your expertise for free for individuals in need. I am offering (and have seen other coaches offer) free coaching sessions for those in need.
10. Write a review about someone who has impacted you on LinkedIn and/or endorse them for a specific skill. LinkedIn is the powerhouse of workforce social media, and taking the 2-3 minutes to endorse someone for a skill or even writing them a review can go a long way.
This is not an exhaustive list, so add your own ideas and please share list with anyone else you think might be open to it. If there is something we at OKA can do to help you or those you know get through these challenging times, please let us know. We at OKA hope to see you–in person or online–very soon.