At the moment, very few aspects of daily life remain the same. We’re worried about ourselves, our loved ones, the economy and generally, about what the future holds. It can be overwhelming, but the fact that we’re all in the same boat creates a strange kind of unity. We finally have the gift of time to keep in touch with relatives, rekindle old friendships - and finally finish that scarf we started knitting that time, ages ago, when the Wifi was down.
The news reporting on the Coronavirus outbreak isn’t exactly helping with our anxiety levels. It’s so constant that it drowns out any other stories happening at this time. So, that’s what we wanted to focus on in today’s post: those few rays of sunshine that feel especially bright at the moment. Stories about people pulling together, finding ingenious ways of supporting one another. People that go the extra mile to look out for others physically and mentally, whatever way they can. These acts of kindness range from mundane, everyday things that create much-needed relief, to offering life-saving support and changing the world for the better. If, like us, you’re in need of a little light and hope right now, we’ve put together 5 stories that made us smile big recently. So read on, and take comfort in knowing that no matter what, kindness always prevails.
Mutual aid groups
All over the world, groups are springing up to support those vulnerable people in our community that can’t have access to things they need while self-isolating. The help they provide ranges from running errands to the shops or picking prescription medication, to providing a friendly voice of reassurance that’s there to listen. Lots of existing local charities and community groups are putting in place plans to ramp up trained volunteer support as we speak. Supermarkets have chimed in too: Waitrose, for example, only delivers to vulnerable people, or those shopping on their behalf, while Ocado and Sainsbury’s prioritise them when booking slots.
And it doesn’t end there: Becky Wass, a lecturer at University of Cornwall has created postcards people can fill in offering their support to those that need it in their local community. The message on the card reads: ‘Hello! If you’re self-isolating, I can help’ and you can download them, print them out, fill in your details and drop them off on nearby doorsteps. Talking to Cornwall Live, Becky said: “If just one person feels less lonely or isolated when faced with this pandemic, then I’ll feel better about it. Coronavirus is scary. Let’s make kindness go viral.”
Home workouts with ‘the nation’s PE teacher’
Two weeks ago, health guru Joe Wicks was due to start a nationwide tour of schools to promote fitness, but it got cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. How did he cope with that? He created The Body Coach TV, a YouTube channel with daily 30 minute home workouts for children and adults alike. Millions of people from all over the world tune in at 9am each day - with views averaging from 3 to 6 million per video!
But the positive effect of Joe’s videos goes beyond helping people keep active during the lockdown: he is donating ‘every single penny’ of the money generated by his online PE sessions to the NHS. He said: “I’ve decided that as long as I’m the nation’s PE teacher, every single penny of the money generated on these videos is going to the place where we need it the most right now. All of it is going straight to the NHS, to support the real heroes right now. You’re not only staying fit, you’re also helping raise money for the NHS.”
Retailers band together for NHS workers
Working from home can sometimes be a little too quiet - no more eye-rolling at colleagues’ loud conversations! Or, on the other hand, your other half might be chatting away on a team call in the next room, making it hard to concentrate. You’ll need a distraction, so put your favourite playlist on, which will make it easier to focus and go down your to-do list. If you’re struggling for musical inspo, reach out to your pals and ask who’s playing on their Spotify today!
Retailers all over the country have started offering discounts for NHS staff, as a way of showing gratitude for their daily sacrifice. Restaurants like Leon, Pret, Pizza Pilgrims and more are offering 50% off their menu, while supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Tesco open their doors an hour earlier, as a way of making shopping accessible for key workers. Hertz offers car rentals at £1 per day for all key workers, while Uber is giving away 200,000 rides worth up to £15, while Deliveroo sends out 500,000 free meals to NHS staff across the country. It’s uplifting to see companies big and small team up in recognition of the amazing work our doctors and nurses do every day.
Netflix viewing parties
Let’s face it, Netflix might as well be sponsoring our time on lockdown. The popular subscription viewing platform offers some much-needed escapism - but, as the ancient saying goes: has your jaw really dropped to the floor during Love is Blind, if there was no one there to see it?
Thanks to Netflix, you now can watch a movie or TV show with a friend, wherever you are. Install Netflix Party on your computer, a plug-in that synchronises video playback remotely, so you can start and end a film at the exact same time as your friend. Going against the age-old rule of keeping quiet during a film, Netflix Party makes it possible to rejoice in drama, laughter and suspense with your isolating pals with a sidebar for real-time chat throughout whatever you're watching. Want to scream in capital letters together during every moment of Tiger King, or weep over the moving scenes of self-realization in Queer Eye? You can do that, without having to take your eyes away from the screen - or leave your house.
Virtual concert live streams
With pubs, bars and music venues on lockdown across most of the world, it’s safe to say that every concert has been cancelled or postponed. For social distancing to work, it means we all have to stay home - and that includes your favourite artists too. Turns out, even rock stars are sat lounging around their house in their joggers! Luckily for us, they’re putting on amazing shows that you can stream from the comfort of your home, from bedroom gigs and garage band practices, to virtual DJ nights.
Concert promoters Live Nation have set up Live from Home, a series of amazing one-off performances by anyone from Dua Lipa to Metallica, so chances are you’ll get to dance out, chill out or rock out to your favourite performer on your phone, laptop or TV. Are you looking for something to tune into every day? Well, you’re spoilt for choice: on Instagram, Miley Cyrus goes live at 2.30 pm Monday through Friday, with a mix of music and interviews. Her guests, tuning in on video, include Demi Lovatto, Reese Witherspoon and Hilary Duff. Moving over to YouTube, where Diplo is live five nights per week, with live, themed DJ sets. He’s encouraged people to tune in as a way of supporting musicians, as the royalty payments they receive for every song of theirs he plays are their main source of income at the moment. But Charli XCX really takes streaming programming to another level. Every day at 3 pm, she goes live on Instagram, exploring a different topic. From vocal lessons, to life drawing, horoscope reading, makeup tutorials and even going through the ‘psychopath checklist’: her Instagram has it all.
But it’s not all pop: composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has been isolating by his piano, taking requests from fans and posting videos on Twitter. Whether it’s a song from Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar or The Wizard of Oz: you name it, he’ll play it.
With more and more artists on board the streaming train every day, there is no such thing as an entertainment shortage, even now. And, hey, since you’re getting all this good, live music and information for free, why not use the money you’d spend on a ticket to order merch from an independent artist right now?