Quarantine. Social distancing. Shelter in place. Self-isolation. Lockdown.
These buzzwords have become synonymous with masked faces, limited physical interaction, and an overall effort to cope with current circumstances. In other words, our new normal tends to have one overriding feeling: loneliness.
Even if you live with your family, with roommates, or surrounded by neighbors, the current pandemic likely has forced even the most introverted of us to long for more human interaction than we are currently getting.
Nobel Prize winner, humanitarian, and foundress of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcultta, India, Mother Teresa has often said, “Of all the diseases I have known, loneliness is the worse.”
So how do we, as people of pro-life conviction, battle this epidemic of loneliness? How do we live out our pro-life conviction in the midst of a crisis requiring us to love one another by separating ourselves physically?
Take Care of Others
The pro-life movement centers around the Truth that each person has value worth recognizing and defending at all stages and circumstances of life. As the US Surgeon General has said, “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” O
Here are some ways to help those around you during this time:
- Write letters to local nursing homes. Almost all are closed to any visitors, but letters from the outside telling uplifting stories of your family are a welcome change!
- Donate diapers/formula/etc to the pregnancy resource center closest to you (or check to see if they have a greatest wish list on their website). Sometimes you can purchase items on Amazon and have it shipped directly to them!
- Bring sight to blind and low-vision people through Be My Eyes, a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.
- Give blood (while maintaining social distancing) through the American Red Cross.
- Know any high school or college seniors? This isn’t how their last semester was supposed to go. Write them a letter of encouragement, sharing how proud you are of their accomplishment!
- Find a mutual-aid network in order to help your neighbors by running errands, assisting with technology, and more.
- Donate food or time to local food banks or organizations providing meals to school-age children. Visit Feeding America or Food Pantries to find an organization near you.
- Write a letter of encouragement to service men and women through the USO, many of whom are serving in COVID19-affected areas.
Prefer to volunteer while staying at home? Check out AllForGood.org for other service ideas.
Take Care of Yourself
If you recognize the worth in every person, that certainly includes yourself. Self-care may seem second to personal survival at this point, but taking time to check your mental and physical health will help with feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness.
- Plant flowers or herbs at home. (Did you know some are saying there are true benefits from gardening right now??)While those with yard space have taken to starting “coronavirus Victory Gardens,” those without yards can create indoor vegetable gardens or learn which are the best 10 herbs to grow in apartments.
- Prioritize healthy choices. Make sure you’re eating properly (maybe try a new recipe perfect for a time of quarantine), try to get enough sleep (but not too much!), and create a routine that includes physical activity, like walks, kickboxing, or yoga. We particularly enjoyed this Scripture-inspired HIIT workout!
- Reconnect with things you enjoy. Did you try calligraphy once, play guitar in your younger days, or pop and lock in Zumba classes before the gym closed? Try them again in your free time using free and online resources. Or just chill out and spend time in your hammock or listening to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.
- Reach out if you need personal connection via FaceTime with family and friends, or teletherapy if you need professional help for mental health issues heightened by the pandemic. I’ve loved using Marco Polo to stay in touch with friends in town and out of state, and people tell me Netflix Party is super fun. This link can help you or a loved one find online/phone counselors.
- Be realistic. Yes, this is an opportunity to do any of the things you’ve had the slightest desire to try since you likely have more free time. But slowing down and doing less things may be just what you need right now. And that’s ok!
This is a time to be intentional with what you put into your day and try and remove some of the excess you’ve never really enjoyed.
Some of us are still working outside the home, others are working in the home with children running around, and some of us don’t have the opportunity to work anymore at all. Regardless of where you are, know that we are praying for you, for your health and safety, and for you to continue to build the Culture of Life even amidst the current crisis. Be blessed!
Note: please be sure you are following CDC recommendations for social distancing and sheltering in place, all to “flatten the curve” and take care of self and neighbor. That, too, is being pro-life!