Photo by Benjamin Suter on Unsplash

A pandemic can bring out the worst and the best in people. With dramatic change comes stress, uncertainty, disappointment, and misplacement. For the past 10 months, we have all been living that way and it is exhausting. Often, those most affected by these emotions are essential workers: people who are just doing their jobs, trying to keep others safe and keep the world in motion. 

As a society, let’s do more to show our appreciation for essential workers’ efforts during the craziness that was 2020. In 2021, show some kindness and compassion by using some (or all!) of these tips to show essential workers you care! 

  • Creativity: banners, posters, and art! 

    • Make it fun, bright, and colorful — anything to stand out! Expressing appreciation and support through paintings, banners, and quotes and putting them on social media, along highways, and in windows is a great way to lift the spirits of essential workers on their daily commutes.

  • Send food or coffee to your local hospital, nursing home, or business

    • Gestures like these go a long way, especially for workers expected to stay on their feet all day!

  • Check-in with essential workers you know.

    • Essential workers have been working tirelessly since March, and they may be under more stress than they thought possible. Some may even be neglecting themselves amidst their efforts to care for others. So, check-in with essential workers around you and offer them a space to talk. It is so important for human beings to know that someone cares. Make them feel good as much as they make you feel safe!

  • Say thank you!

    • It is simple, sweet, and kind. And, since you can’t smile with your mouth, smile with your eyes!

  • Respect & listen to the guidelines.

    • When you do go out and about, make sure you are following guidelines and listening/respecting those who are tasked with enforcing the rules. It lessens the strain and stress of the situation for everyone.

  • Stay home as much as possible.

    • At the end of the day, staying home when you can is a great way to show kindness. It eases stress, risk, and strain for not only essential workers but also you!

  • Run errands for an essential worker you know.

    • Walk their dog, pick up their groceries, fill their car up with gas, or if they are a single parent, maybe even babysit their kid for a day or two. 

  • Leave tips!

    • If you can, leave a tip for your mail carriers, restaurant workers, and delivery people. According to NPR, tipped service workers are especially vulnerable during this pandemic. 

  • Practice patience.

    • Patience is certainly not easy, but we can all practice it more. The pandemic has put a halt to several aspects of our lives and, more than anything involved a lot of sitting and waiting. It is frustrating, but we are all in this together. So practice patience: in the end, the tortoise beats the hare!

Life is easier when we are kind to one another, so let’s make that a priority in 2021. Make sure to check out our 400th workshop on January 13th to hear directly from some essential workers about how to make their lives easier moving forward.