There are these two terrible, competing realities happening at the same time right now: people need help more than ever, and we are the most limited when it comes to helping others than we’ve ever been. We all are. I want to reach out to people and touch them figuratively at a time when I literally am not allowed to do so. People need each other to survive. I remember once, in a science class in middle school, our teacher was educating us on the basic things humans need to survive. We guessed the obvious ones like food, shelter, and water. Then my teacher said we’d missed one. I asked what it was. He started to take slow steps towards me. Closer and closer until he was standing on my toes. I still didn’t get it. “Space” he said. “We need space. Think about it.” Ah yes, he’s right. It’s the reason Indiana Jones fears for his life when a boulder chases him down a hallway – there’s only room for one of them there. There isn’t enough space for them both.
But I may argue something else that we need to survive: not too much space! And right now, we have too much of it. We are forced to stay apart. We have plenty of space and yet, we are finding that that actually poses a risk to our wellbeing. So much of what we want and need to do relies on our ability to come together. And now we can’t. As a direct result, a lot of people are in need. People are suffering, because we can’t come together, and then, for that same reason, we are limited in how we can help each other. What a terrible cycle.
If you feel stuck when it comes to how you can help others right now, don’t. There are ways you can touch each other, without actually touching each other.
Give a colleague a vacation day
Maybe you have more vacation days stacked up than you will get around to using, and know a colleague who could desperately use one. Maybe a single working mom who already burned all her days staying home to take care of her sick kids. She never got to use a vacation day to take care of herself. Ask your supervisor if you can gift her one of your days.