Like you, I'm filled with worry and uncertainty. Life has been upended.
At the supermarket several days ago, it was eerily quiet despite being crowded. People weren't talking or making eye contact. Shelves were empty. Anxiety was palpable. And I wore gloves.
An elderly woman stood in the frozen vegetables aisle looking stunned. A father kept yelling at his daughter, "Don't touch anything. Keep your hands in your pocket." Two people who knew each other waved from a distance without uttering a word, turning the corner quickly into another aisle. I'm sure you've seen much of the same.
Many people are reaching out to their local communities via social media offering help. Help to get groceries. To walk dogs. To babysit. To make pharmacy runs. Local restaurants are offering free prepared meals so their existing food doesn't go to waste. People want to help their neighbors, communities and strangers. We're helpers by nature.
Many people are also sadly hoarding. I saw one person whose shopping cart was filled to the brim with canned soup, canned vegetables, and ketchup. I saw another person who took 18 bottles of water, cleaning out the entire stock. Local supermarkets cannot keep disinfectant wipes at their entrances anymore because they're being taken. And toilet paper? Another story entirely.
Everyone is standing on unsteady ground. People are out of work and losing jobs. Parents are facing homeschooling along with working from home. People are posting online desperate for a job...any job. We have to take care of ourselves and our families. So do others.
And even with this crisis upon us, people want to help others even with limited access and for many, resources as well. Fear and worry are driving us to do things we typically wouldn't do. We need to be safe. We need to have what our family needs. We need to remember that everyone is in the same place. Coming to the middle matters more than ever.
I'm not a psychologist, yet know that fear impacts not only our emotions but our decision-making as well. At this incredibly difficult time, please try to be a helper in any way that you can and not hoard. Someone else is going to need what you do as well. We need each other now more than ever.