Don’t Stand So Close To Me – What I’ve Learned About COVID-19 And Human Behaviour
I read an article online earlier today (April 2, 2020) that listed some things you should or shouldn’t do at your local grocery store. It made a lot of sense but as far as I was concerned, it left out a few things and made me think that maybe an article on how to treat each other made more sense and instead of trying to hunt for one on the internet, I would just go ahead and write it myself.
So here it goes.
Both my wife and I are immunocompromised. That means we don’t have immune systems that function quite like healthier people and that could mean we would get sick before someone else. That is why we are taking the COVID-19 coronavirus situation very seriously, even if maybe you don’t see it as much of a threat. What has amazed both of us is what has been happening around us – both good and bad. That is primarily my inspiration for this list.
1 – Don’t Spend So Much Time Online Looking For (Fill In The Blank)
The internet is a funny thing. There are a lot of misinformed sources being shared by people who believe them to be accurate, true and factual. I am a freelance writer. Some of the jobs I have been hired for in years past are to write reviews on products I have never owned, touched or used. The internet is full of so-called “experts” and you need to be careful what you read and believe. Reputable sources are safe. These would be media outlets such as your local, regional and national government sites, the BCCDC, IHA. Places like these.
2 – Restrict The Time You Spend Online, Anyway
Nothing is going to mess you up more than spending all day reading what others are saying and complaining about. Sure, there are some very valid points about how long it took for some measures to be put in place to try to “flatten the curve” but think about it a moment…would you have done any better in that role? I am grateful that there have been strong measures taken by both the federal and provincial governments and that municipal governments are also on board. I can’t bring myself to complain about it online because that won’t change things.
3 – Take A Walk Outside And Get Some Fresh Air
We are fortunate to have a large enough backyard that we can go into it and spend some time doing light-duty yard chores. Sure, it hasn’t been warm enough and we still have piles of snow in places, but we have done a few things out there. I’ve even gone for a short walk to the Similkameen River (about 300 yards from our home) for a break. The sound of the rushing water was relaxing and I needed that. I didn’t see anyone on my way there and had a short conversation with a neighbour on my way home – with social distance and a fence between us.
4 – Take Social Distancing Seriously, Please
Sure, the term is more accurate if you say physical distancing, but call it what you want, it’s 2-metres or 6-feet. You should have at least that much space between you and someone else at all times when you venture out in public. I was in two different downtown businesses over two weeks ago. One was enforcing physical distance and the other one wasn’t. I felt pretty good in the one that was following protocol because it showed me that they care about their staff and customers. That doesn’t mean the other one didn’t, but in one it showed.
5 – Be Nice To Each Other, This Will Eventually End
One thing I have heard every so often (and read online) is how we are treating each other at times. I get it. This is a trying time for many of us. It’s frustrating to not be able to find some products in the stores that are still open. It’s difficult to follow all the physical distancing guidelines with parks closed and children who want to be with their friends. Many of us have never experienced a virus of this kind so we are not used to what is going on around us. That doesn’t make it okay to treat others poorly. We’re all in this together, after all.
6 – Check On Someone You Haven’t Seen For A While
This is where we get to show off how good we are as citizens. If there is a neighbour or friend you haven’t seen for a while, why not give them a call to see how they are doing? We had a neighbour check on us the other day which was a nice gesture that we appreciated. We’ve also had two neighbours offer to do some shopping for us. These are the things that will get us through the craziness. Just by reaching out, you tell that person that you care and sometimes that’s all we need to have happened to get through another day of self-isolation.
7 – Support The Local Businesses That Are Still In Operation
I know, I saw the list of what is considered “essential services” and shook my head at some of the suggestions. However, we also live in a community where the majority of businesses that line the main streets are owner-operated. This means these business people are hurting particularly badly at this time. If you can show your support in one way or another, it shows you care about that business and that you don’t want them to have to close. Oh, and if you experience exceptional service, receive quality products or whatever, don’t be shy about raving online about it.
8 – Be Patient, Be Kind And Understanding
It bugs me that I can’t just hop in the car and take my wife out for coffee and a muffin like we used to do weekly. It bothers me that I can’t do a lot of things spontaneously right now. But I know it won’t be like this forever. I understand why I can’t do a lot of the things I used to take for granted and I know that at one point I will be able to do the coffee and muffin thing but I’m not going to make any noise about it. That’s because the inconvenience I am experiencing is very minor compared the what others are dealing with today.
9 – Don’t Point Fingers And Lay Blame
I get it. Politicians are targets. I’ve known that as far back as I can remember when I first entered the media industry. But I am also capable of pushing my political feelings aside and seeing some things objectively. Let me give you an example. I’m going to talk about someone I’ll name Herman. Herman hates the federal government with every cell in his body. Herman also owns a business that had to shut down due to COVID-19. Herman is going to apply for assistance from the CERP Fund. Herman won’t complain because he is being objective. Be like Herman.
10 – Say Thank You A Lot More Than You Have
I can’t believe how often I said “thank you” the last time I went grocery shopping. I thanked each staff member I encountered. I thanked the lady in line behind me for giving me 6-feet of physical distance between us. I thanked the checkout person for bagging my stuff. I thanked someone in the parking lot at random because I was on a roll. I thanked the guy who offered to take my buggy after I was done with it. I also thank you for reading this far.
11 – Show Your Appreciation In Whatever Method You Like
Many different movements have surfaced with the COVID-19 situation. You’ve probably heard of some of them or participated in one or two. There’s “Hearts In The Windows” as an example. We’ve joined the horn-honking parade at least once to show our appreciation. I’ve also posted raves online. As I’ve pointed out a few minutes ago, this is a tough time for a lot of us but we still have to show our appreciation. Doctors/nurses, truckers, grocery store staff, whatever your list contains, show them you know they are working for you.
There is no doubt in my mind that COVID-19 is serious and the situation it has put us in globally sucks. It could take months and years for things to get back to whatever normal is. But in the meantime, we all have to work together as a team to get through the tough times. Pay attention to social/physical distancing, do something nice for yourself or someone else, stay home if you don’t need to be out and remember, do the right thing.
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My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.