With COVID-19 sending millions to work-from-home and forcing businesses to temporarily shut their doors, nearly everyone is experiencing dramatic changes in their lifestyle. If you are one of the lucky few who have been able to adjust without major impact on your cash flow, there are a few things you can do to help those in less fortunate situations.
1. Buy gift cards to local businesses
Small businesses who rely on foot traffic or in-person interaction will feel the impact of mandatory closures much harder than large chains. As a way to show your support without physically being able to show up, consider buying gift certificates to your favorite local restaurants, fitness studios, boutiques, or salons. You can use the certificate once shops re-open while still providing them with revenue to help cover fixed costs like rent, insurance, or storage.
2. Continue to pay those who count on your business
Those who work out of people’s homes or who are paid based on the number of interactions they have with people will be stressed during this time. This can include everyone from childcare professionals, maids, fitness instructors and personal trainers, or personal care providers like your hairdresser. If you can afford to do so, consider:
- Paying your nanny even though you are home with your kids
- Scheduling a virtual session with your personal trainer or fitness instructor
- Booking a haircut, nail appointment, or massage in advance
- Buying merchandise or streaming content from up-and-coming musicians, comedians, or other artists
- Giving tips to delivery people, many of whom are waiters or otherwise out of work
- Refrain from freezing your membership if you attend a locally-owned fitness facility even if you can’t go
- Donate to wellness practitioners who are offering free resources such as meditations or yoga classes via social media or livestream
3. Invest to stimulate the economy
When there’s fear in the market, opportunities present themselves to those who are prepared. If you have extra cash to work with, now is an excellent time to take advantage of a low market while also stimulating the economy. If you’re a savvy investor and have been eyeing a certain stock for a while, now you can essentially get it on sale. If you’re new to investing and don’t want to invest time into researching, you can purchase index funds, ETFs, or mutual funds. Regardless of your strategy, ensure you’re making smart investment choices that take your goals into account.
4. Donate to non-profits or consider fostering an animal
Many non-profits are having to cancel events that account for a large portion of their annual donations. If you regularly attend charity events, consider donating whatever you would’ve spent there, or even just donating your gas money now that you’re not driving so much. For those who are working from home, this is the perfect time to foster or adopt an animal. Pets still need homes and many volunteers are unable to show up for their shifts. If you can’t foster, consider a donation to the rescue to help with supplies.
5. Reach out to those who may feel isolated, at risk, or overworked
Those who are most affected by COVID-19 will be experiencing high periods of stress, either because of the extra work forced on their plate or the bulk of their work disappearing. Reach out to those who may be struggling and let them know we’re all in this together. Even if you can’t provide financial support, sometimes emotional support can inspire people to stay positive. Some ways you can show your emotional support are:
- Email your favorite restaurant and tell them you can’t wait to come back
- Tell your friends in the healthcare industry how much you appreciate them
- Reach out to hairdressers, fitness instructors, nail technicians, or whoever you would run into under normal circumstances and see how they’re doing
- Email teachers about your children’s progress or let them know how much you appreciate the work they do
- Check in on those who are in the food service industry, working from home with children, living alone, elderly, or single parents
Showing support for our neighbors, friends, and family has never been more important. Do something kind, then spread the positivity by sharing it on your social media pages! These are the kinds of things people need in their news feeds.