With the coronavirus pandemic growing more and more serious, it’s easy to get caught up in an anxiety spiral that leaves you feeling helpless. Luckily, there are plenty of concrete things you can do to help others (and yourself) during this time. Social distancing is number one on the list, of course, but we’ve rounded up more small actions that can make a big difference, from ordering take-out food to making donations and reaching out to others that don’t have access to a health safety net. Read on to get inspired.

Donate to your local food bank

It’s an especially difficult time for families dealing with food insecurity. Check out Feeding America to donate money to food banks near you. If you don’t have symptoms and aren’t immunocompromised, you may be able to volunteer to help get food to members of your local community.

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Help families in need

Got a stash of diapers that don’t fit your kiddo anymore? Or just grabbed a few extra at Costco? You may be able to donate diapers or wipes to a member of the National Diaper Bank Network—or, better yet, donate money directly on their website.

Check on your neighbors

If you have neighbors who are vulnerable or elderly, give them a call to see if there’s anything they need. Maybe you can grab a few essentials for them at the grocery store or pharmacy or provide some impromptu tech support. Meals on Wheels America is working hard to help vulnerable seniors and can always use donations as well.

Support small businesses

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Luckily, the shelter-in-place orders issued in several states still allow for take-out and delivery from restaurants. Local Facebook groups are popping up with lists of restaurants that are still open for business, so do some research, and pick up a meal from your local mom and pop restaurant—a generous tip doesn’t hurt either! You can also support your favorite spots by buying a gift card. That way, they’ll have the money right away, and you can enjoy a meal when the dust has settled.

Give blood

As the pandemic continues, the Red Cross has reported a severe blood shortage, which could affect a broad range of patients, from victims of car accidents to people needing emergency surgeries. If you’re healthy and willing, look up blood drives near you to lend a hand. The Red Cross has upped their safety protocols at this time, allowing for plenty of space between donors, thoroughly disinfecting equipment and screening donors.

Check your facts

We’ve all seen it happen: misinformation can spread like wildfire on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, so always check your sources before sharing. When in doubt, seek out information from major media outlets and government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Get outside

Thankfully, social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t step foot outside. Take time every day to get outside, whether that’s reading in your backyard, taking a walk in your neighborhood or going on a hike. Just be sure to keep the required six feet away from anyone you don’t live with.

Practice self care

It’s easy to get caught up in the constant barrage of news notifications and panic-inducing headlines, but it’s important to take a moment and step back. Pick up an abandoned hobby you’ve been meaning to get back to, treat yourself to an at-home facial or try out a meditation app like Calm or Headspace. More time at home doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

Take a break

Between managing kids’ schoolwork, working from home and keeping everyone fed, being quarantined isn’t a walk in the park. Give yourself a break, whether that means bingeing a tv show, having a dance party in the living room or watching a movie with the family.

Move your body

With gyms closed, it’s still important to find ways to move your body. An at-home workout can give you a welcome boost of endorphins. On YouTube, check out Yoga with Adriene or Bad Yogi Yoga for soothing stretches and calming movements, or Fitness Blender for a mix of intense cardio and bodyweight exercises.

—Susie Foresman

 

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