Today was full of simple pleasures.. soul food type of stuff. With the rapidly changing law of the land, we’re all living with heightened levels of uncertainty – so stopping and doing things that soothe us is incredibly important right now.
The highlight of my day was walking along the beach with one of my favourite friends in the whole wide world, Bron, and her gorgeous daughter Skylie. It was SO good to be with them – out in the sunshine, breathing fresh air, swimming in a crystal blue ocean, but most of all connecting. I have known Bron since I was 17 and our friendship is like a well-worn item of clothing: saturated in love, comfort and great memories, not to mention too valued to ever part with! Being with her and her family feels so good it’s like being with my own.
Of course being March 2020, much of the conversation that permeated our beach walk was around a nasty little virus named COVID-19.
Now I have a lot of bones to pick with COVID-19, but by far the biggest and ugliest one is how it is singlehandedly forcing us into isolation, disconnection, and most probably for many of us, loneliness. Not only that, people I love (including those I don’t even know for that matter) are losing their income and businesses and must feel so incredibly alone as we all self-isolate and stay away from each other.
The thing about us humans is, at our core, we are pack animals. Connection and socialising are what keep many of us healthy, happy and sane – especially in a time of crisis. And as during any time of crisis, there are many stories of acts of kindness, thoughtfulness, and people shelving old gripes, simply because we’ve all had a massive kick up our butt when it comes to perspective!
We all get to choose how we want to be during this time.
So as Bron, Skylie and I walked along the beach this morning, we talked through ways of how to show the people we love that we’re thinking about them and that they’re not alone – even if we are self-isolating or social-distancing.
Here are our top four:
Snail Mail Brings Love
How good is to receive a letter or package in the mail? And honestly, it’s pretty rare these days. For those of you in countries where you are already in lockdown, this ship will have sailed, but if you are not there yet, put pen to paper and send someone a note or card with some kind words in it. If you’re already in lockdown, start writing so that when you’re allowed out, you can swing by the Post Office and get mailing!
As we talked this one through, I loved how Bron really pimped it up with her photo/book suggestion (seriously, this is why this woman is my bestie!!). She mentioned that she intends to go through cupboards and give everything a big spring clean. That meant coming across books that she loves but no longer needs and sending them to someone who would really appreciate them. As well as that she suggested finding some old photos of special times that can be sent to the people featured in the photos, hence triggering the special memory and brightening their day.
BONUS: the postal service of your country (like many other businesses and services) needs all the help it can get right now. If you can put just $5 into mailing something now or in a month’s time when lockdown is over, then you are helping not only the economy but your immediate community
How many ahhhhh-mazing people do you have in your life that you simply never call on the telephone? It’s probably not for lack of wanting to, but you know that it’ll be a good hour-long chat at a minimum – and between the kids, work, and getting dinner on the table, you can’t find the time so you keep putting it off?
Well Hello, Lockdown!! I predict that cleaning, watching Netflix, and chatting to the people you talk to every day is going to get a bit boring after a while, so our next idea (which I LOVE!) is the perfect solution to variety and newness. That is to make a list of people who have been important to you at some stage of your life. I’m talking old friends, old work colleagues, your uni roommate, a primary school friend, your old neighbour from when you were growing up, your old boss at the cafe job that got you through uni, the chick you used to do water aerobics with, your old mate from your travelling days – which ever apply to you. Now, pick up the phone and………ring them!!
Talk to them and find out about their current life. Ask them questions and reminisce about old times. A phonecall like this out of the blue could make the difference between a crap day and a brilliant one for that person, and will no doubt make them smile. At the very least it will distract them from self-isolation-life for an hour!
An unexpected gift of thoughtfulness and connection that leaves everyone winning!!
Get Your Bear Grylls On
Now, I am not going to ask you to survive on the fruits of your back garden alone, but just have a think about what’s there that you could use, and even more thoughtfully, what you could share with others around you. Many of us have hidden gems in our garden that could be such a source of joy when shared. For example, I reckon a bag of fresh basil on your neighbour’s doorstep will make a huge difference between a simple, bland pasta and a real authentic Italian experience!
If you have a lemon tree and it’s fruiting, how about bagging a few up and leaving them on your neighbour’s doorstep with a note? Or a lime tree (I know my Lockdown G&T tastes WAAAAY better with my fresh lime in it!).
And what about that aloe vera plant you’ve got that has four hundred shoots sprouting from it? Separate them, plant them into a pot, and pop a note on it listing what it can be used for (click here to find all the uses) along with a little message of support.
If you have one of those beautiful gardens full of flowers and leaves, what about making a bouquet and giving that to your neighbour? Something so simple could truly make such a difference to helping someone through the day.
If there is nothing in your garden, what about your pantry? Is there one thing that you could leave on your neighbour’s doorstep that would brighten their day? I’m thinking of popping some corn if they have kids, or sending over a DVD that you won’t watch again and don’t need. How about a portion of that massive pasta bake you knocked up last night? Or even one of the ten facemasks you have stashed in your bathroom cupboard with a card inviting your neighbour to relax, pamper themselves, and step off the planet for 20 mins?
Rock Around The Clock
As crazy as it is, sometimes it takes a crisis for people to get creative and generous, and I am SO loving that heaps of artists and DJs are giving shows and concerts over the internet at the moment.
Last night I came across Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman’s contribution to this and I’m not kidding it bought tears to my eyes!
So here is my suggestion: call up your bestie, your mum, or anyone you love really, and ask if you can go to a concert with them. I have no doubt they will readily agree (they’re mad if they don’t!), and then send them the link and revel in the fact that whilst both of you are physically distant in your own living rooms, you are both still dancing around to the same music at the same time! Then collapse on the couch and debrief your fave tracks!
Now I know some of you are thinking, “Kato, that is ridiculous” but guess what? So is the supermarket running out of toilet paper, 90% of the aviation industry being grounded, and the death toll of this shitty virus reaching almost 20,000 at the time of writing this. This is not the time to think how we normally think, rather this is the time to simply find a solution and remain connected.
Click here to check out the Keith Urban concert that was on Facebook yesterday.
Here are two other links to great at home music events:
So my lovely Friends far and wide, please stay safe, stay connected, and make sure you ask for what you need from the people around you. We have been given a unique opportunity (if in a somewhat crazy and destructive package) to be kinder, more thoughtful, more resilient, more creative, and more loving to not only the people we care for, but to our neighbours and greater community as well.