It’s been just over a month since much of the country went into social distancing isolation.

Some of us are working from home. Some of us are out of work. And some of us on the front lines in the medical field or providing essential services like groceries and supplies. 

Daily, we take in the news and updates from our country’s leaders and speculate when we will be able to return to “normal.” In the meantime, we’re left with a lot of unexpected time on our hands, and many of us are looking for a way to give back to the community. 

Here’s a list of some of the things you can do to be kind to yourself and others.

Take Care Of Yourself

Self-care is the most important thing that you can do at this time (and any time, really). Self-care can be anything from meditation, taking walks, keeping on top of your to-do list, reading books, talking with friends, or artistic endeavours.

There’s a lot of pressure on people to be productive during social distancing, but capacity is a personal matter and can’t be dictated by others. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty if you need a total Netflix binge one day… or many days. 

Take a look online for ways to help you relax or read this article by some of our Fusers. Personally, I like to use the Calm app to meditate each day and sometimes for nice background noise while I work or try to sleep. 

Photo of two canvases side by side with ducks painted on them. The left one is a red duck and the right one is a purple duck.
Fuser Melissa Parker is using her extra time to make new pieces for LondonFuse’s next “Bad Art Fest.” Photo by Melissa Parker.

I also stocked up on art supplies and have been “creating” for the next Bad Art Festival (and also doing online tutorials from a local business). There are lots of free yoga videos out there, and while we are encouraged to keep our distance, getting a walk in is always super helpful!

Take Time Away From Social Media And “Bad News”

It’s normal to want to know exactly what’s happening all the time, but all the “bad news” and growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths can be very saddening. Take time each day to make sure that you’re putting down your social media and the news. Take a cue from your self-care practices and disconnect. 

Sometimes, too, I find that all my conversations with people revolve around the latest developments and news. I’ve taken to looking for other ways to interact with friends by downloading apps like Houseparty where you can play games, Trickster cards and playing the home edition of Rock n’ Roll Bingo usually put on at Winks on Tuesdays.

Assess The “News” You Read

Listening to the updates on COVID-19 can be pretty harrowing. Make sure that you check the source of the “news” you come across. Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation out there that is aimed to provoke fear in the population.

You can check the bias and fact-checking of your sources at Snopes and at The Walrus Fact-Checking as well as Media Bias Fact Check. Save yourself some unwarranted stress and from hitting forward on an unfounded story. We’ve all fallen victim at one point or another.

Support Your Community

There are plenty of organizations out there that are always seeking volunteers. The problem with that is now we can’t quite do it in person. There are some online opportunities out there to give back, such as donating your time to Kids’ Help Phone or other local charities (Meals on Wheels volunteer roles filled up pretty quick!).  

A fun and wholesome way to bring happiness to your neighbourhood is to participate in the walking games that families play. For example, Bear Hunt has families looking for teddy bears in people’s windows as they go for a daily walk. It’s a nice distraction for the kiddos and fun for the family. On my own walks,* I’ve seen some lovely sentiments in chalk on the pavement and messages in windows to passersby. Spread some love from the comfort of your home! 

Photo of a house with a sign that says "Hi" with a heart next to it in the window.
Neighbours say hi to each other in creative ways, thanks to social distancing! Photo by Melissa Parker.

 *Another thing you can do on your walk is to pick up the garbage left on the ground. I picked up a trash-grabber device from Dollarama.

Donate

Donating financially, of course, is easier for some than others. Every little bit that is contributed means so much to the organizations and those that they support. Choose a cause close to your heart and make a donation if you’re in the position to do so. Using your social media to encourage your personal network to do the same can also make a big difference at the end of the day.

Some local organizations needing donations:

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, healthcare workers are looking for donations of masks and caps for their personal protective equipment. You can also make masks for your family and friends to help them stay safe when they need to venture out.

Not good at sewing? There are other options! A wonderful Caremongering group on Facebook posts daily about the help needed in our community and what we can do.

Support Local

Need to buy something online? Take a moment before hitting send on your Amazon cart and see if you can purchase what you need from a local company. We’re all being hit hard by this pandemic, but you can help ensure that the financial burden is somewhat eased by making purchases in our hometown. 

Try to order your dinner from a small restaurant instead of a chain restaurant and, if possible, look for their own delivery to make sure they get as many profits as possible. Another great thing that people are doing is buying gift cards from restaurants to use after quarantine. Maybe get a super head start on holiday gifts?

Of course, it’s not always the most convenient or price-conscious choice to go local – but in the end, it really means a lot to the health of our community as a whole. Here’s a list of some great local finds. 

And of course… STAY HOME!

So far, here in London, our cases of COVID-19 are relatively low compared to a lot of cities our size. And for the most part, our residents are adhering well to the social distancing regulations in place. The Middlesex London Health Unit has up to date information about our community and how to stay safe. 

  • Keep your distance in public – 6 feet or more
  • Wear a mask when you have to go out
  • Wash your hands
  • Try to go out for groceries only once a week during less busy times to avoid lineups – and only one member of your household should go at a time
  • Do not gather in groups of 5 or more (other than your own household) – it’s called social distancing for a reason!
  • Limit travel where possible

The police across the city have started ticketing those people that are not adhering to the regulations. Failure to comply may result in more Draconian measures or more drastic spread. For example, in the UK COVID-19 cases are much higher, and the public has stricter regulations for their behaviour.

A message written on the sidewalk in chalk says "April (social) distance brings May existence"
Ignoring the misspelling, the message is key! Keep your distance! Photo by Melissa Parker.

If you have concerns about COVID-19 order violations in the City of London, please email the City (email monitored 24/7) or call 519-661-4660 (phone line monitored Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). I promise, snitches don’t always get stitches…

Let’s do what we can to keep our community healthy and happy! 

Have more suggestions? Tell us how else we can all work together to keep London strong!

Cover Photo by Melissa Parker

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