How to help people during a crisis?
We exhibit all sorts of coping mechanisms during a crisis. It's natural. In fact, it's usually during a crisis, like the pandemic we find ourselves in, that we crave answers and solutions, knowing that they are few and far between.
Part of our best intentions to seek normalcy is to uplift people around us. We want to sound the 'positivity alarm' and remind people to: be upbeat; find alternative means of income; seek out creative endeavors (albeit in the home); use this time for self-reflection and learning; etc. But sometimes the crisis is too overwhelming. People tune-out because they can't tune-in to themselves.
Since the COVID-19 halted our daily functions, I've been asked to motiviate the public into seeing this time as a great learning opportunity for self-reflection and growth. But that can only work for some. Most people are struggling just to get up in the mornings. When we can no longer work, gym, travel, school, etc., we lose our sense of Self. We are no longer in control. Hence, it's easier to tune-out to the world around us.
So, how best to help your network of family and friends during this time? I offer two approaches: (1) Meet people where they are. That means, how ever someone is feeling or what ever their experience may be, acknowledge and honor it. No judgment. It's the 'I-see-you-and-hear-you-concept' that works well to let someone know you care. You'd be surprised how the simplest of approaches are the most effective. (2) Let go of your expectations. We place all sorts of inherit expectations on others: show up on time, come prepared, do the chores the way I like them, etc. If you turn your expectations to recognitions that acknowledge people where they are, it's more uplifting to everyone. Think about it: How do you feel when someone is disappointed with you? It feels like a burden and we tend to retreat.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping others during a crisis, but one thing is certain, everyone appreciates being heard. Approach the ones you care about with acknowledgment and recognition and see what a difference it makes for the soul.