As the coronavirus has turned the world upside down with many of us staying indoors and working from home in a bid to flatten the curve, it has given a lot of us the time to think, to reflect on our lives and show us what is important.
For example, take a look at who we define as our heroes and celebrities now. Social media updates from celebrities and influencers mean less and less as the pandemic goes on, and instead, people are looking to posts from the heroes who are fighting to save lives.
YouTube’s newest star is A&E nurse John Campbell, who now boasts over 688,000 subscribers thanks to his videos, which address the realities of the coronavirus. Then there is Dr. Yale Tung Chen, an emergency physician at Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, who has gained over 67K followers on Twitter after he began sharing daily updates about his own Covid-19 symptoms.
On Instagram, a nurse working on the frontline of Italy’s fight against Covid-19, Alessia Bonari, has amassed over 120K followers after sharing a post outlining the realities of the disease.
The global pandemic has shown us what is important, and that it is those who are lesser-paid who are the ones on the front line. It is those people who are classed as “low-skilled” who are out there, carrying on with their work and putting their lives at risk. It is the delivery drivers, bin men and women, postal workers and supermarket staff who are keeping the countries running right now. It is not those highly paid actors or CEOs who are now working from home, enjoying spending time in their big houses and enjoying the beautiful weather in their spacious gardens.
The Coronavirus outbreak has also highlighted how important family and friends are. It is normal for us to take those closest to us and those who we rely on for granted, but that certainly won’t be the case anymore. People have realized how much they rely on the company their friends and family bring and the help and relief that grandparents bring when helping out with childcare. It has also brought a focus on mental health and how important it is to see friends, but while we can’t, we must stay connected and keep talking.
Finally, COVID-19 has also shown us how important it is to stay healthy, to look after the planet and to do good. It has changed our lives practically overnight and given many people a new perspective on life and what they are doing with theirs.
If you are one of these people who would like to do something more meaningful with your time, then there are some big changes you can make, but there are also some small things you can do which will make a real difference. It could be a career change you’re looking for or small changes you could make every day, whatever it is, here are three ways you can make a difference when the time is right.
Volunteering can be hard work, but it can also be seriously rewarding. Right now, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities to help vulnerable people get food and shopping while they are self-isolating. However, this shouldn’t just be something that people do during the pandemic; there’s no reason why this neighborly and kind behavior can’t carry on once life settles down. This could be part of the new normal that we will have to get used to in life after the pandemic. There are other things you can do, too, such as volunteering at an animal shelter, a homeless shelter or working with children. If you have some hours to spare and want to make a difference, then volunteering could be the perfect way for you to give back, and it can also make a real difference in your life too.
Think about the planet
COVID-19 has certainly made us travel less and reduced our carbon footprint massively. But why stop there? There are tonnes of ways you can do your bit for the environment and starting to use things with no packaging, going vegan, using paper straws when having a drink, or only using recycled paper. It’s a good idea to start with one small change first rather than trying to do everything all at once. So, for example, instead of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, use reusable food wraps. They are brilliant for wrapping fruit and veg, but also for anything you would typically use cling-film for such as covering bowls or plates or wrapping up sandwiches. Then perhaps once your shampoo has run out, you could buy a shampoo bar, which is just as good if not better than having a bottle of shampoo. Bottles of shampoo mean unnecessary packaging and ingredients that aren’t great for you or your drains. Other small changes you could make include not buying bottles water – which there’s really no need for now as there are so many cool reusable water bottles on the market now. You can keep it in your bag and refill it on the go.
While you’re at it, stop using single-use coffee cups too and bring your own thermos or reusable coffee cup.
Change Your Career
If you’re looking for a change on a bigger scale, then perhaps it’s time to consider what you’re doing as a career. Many people seek out a great career which, to them, means a big salary, an impressive title, and working in a modern tall building in the middle of the city center. However, for many others, a great career means making a difference in people’s lives and doing something worthwhile every day. Becoming a social worker can be a very rewarding job where you could be helping elderly people, adults with mental health issues, or adults with learning difficulties, or working with children in care or families in which there are child protection concerns. There are a number of roles within social work, so it is a very interesting industry to work in, and no matter what experience or qualifications you have, you will find something that will suit you if this is the kind of thing you really want to do.
From health information management degree programs to jobs in education, or the emergency services, there are many ways you can do something to make a difference. However, it doesn’t have to be something so obvious and hands-on. There are loads of other industries in which you could work and still make a massive difference all over the world.
You don’t have to be helping people directly to be helping them and making a difference in their lives. Think about scientists and what they do. Scientists help everyone and can make a huge difference to a lot of people’s lives. As a scientist, you could be protecting the environment in developing new drugs to ensure that products, foods, and industrial processes are safe. Similarly, working as an engineer can really benefit the public; for example, if it wasn’t for engineers, we wouldn’t have clean water, renewable energy, or buildings that are warm, light, and safe. Or perhaps working for your country in the Armed Forces and helping to keep your country protected is something you could do. It is not just a noble thing to do, but within the forces, there are many different specialist roles that you could do.
If you have the skills to work in finance, then, of course, there are tonnes of opportunities to be making plenty of money and helping rich people to get richer. However, there are also jobs in the charity or public sector body managing finances. You could get a job with an accountancy firm to audit these organizations and check that everything is above board, and the people in need are getting what they should be. This really will be putting your skills to good use and making a difference to thousands of people’s lives.
In today’s world, there is also a need for more and more people to be working in IT and to be protecting people when it comes to things like cybercrime. Or just like working in finance, if you have the skills, then you could work in IT for a charity or public sector employer to support its work and make all the difference.
Do it yourself
Alternatively, if you have seen a problem in your area or there is a problem close to your heart that you think you could provide a solution to, then why not take the initiative and start your own business or charity to meet that need. There is so much information out there on how to start a business or charity now that you can have a look online and learn everything you need to know. You can use social media to get the word out about what you’re doing, and even better, you can use the time you have during lockdown to plan your new venture to make sure you get it just right.