Check in on your neighbors, friends, and those at risk for both physical and mental illness. If they need help, there’s a new Helping Hands resource that matches needs for food and medication delivery with people who can help. If you have friends who have struggled with substance abuse, food issues, depression, anxiety, or other issues, know that this might be an especially trying time for them. You can connect them (or connect on their behalf) to free resources through NYC Well. For those folks who may be at risk for domestic violence and abuse, here are resources. There are also a number of apps you can access from your smartphone for help coping during COVID-19.
Check in on your baby groups and friends who are new or expecting parents. New parents may have expected help during the first few weeks of their baby’s life, and this unforeseen reality, along with social isolation happening right now, can manifest itself in anxiety and depression. Folks who are growing a new life may be worried about becoming ill. Reach out to Seleni, The Motherhood Center, or Boober to tap into expectant parent, new parent, and mental health resources.
Keep up the Clap! Let’s keep thanking our nurses, doctors, FDNY, ambulance drivers, and hospital staff. I’m hearing over and over that the 7 pm clap is being heard and is helping, so set a reminder at 6:58 pm so you can join in. These folks are working in extreme conditions every day to help very sick people. If you have healthcare workers in your social circle, send them your gratitude and funny memes with a quick text that reminds them they are appreciated. You can also submit digital artwork to Operation Feel Good and we’ll make sure that your creations get to as many hospitals as need them! Make artwork and post it in your windows. If you see someone in scrubs, tell them thanks!
Gratitude for the current “normal.” Let’s also say thanks to all the people who are keeping our lives as normal as possible. This is everyone stocking the toilet paper, delivering our mail and packages, collecting trash, bringing our groceries and meals, and more. Let’s acknowledge that these folks may not really have a choice to stay home. It doesn’t do any harm saying thank you too often (see this piece reminding us that social distancing is a privilege).
Appreciating our teachers (including preschool and daycare workers). Our teachers are doing their best with remote learning and virtual fun. DOE teachers are caught in the crossfire of trying to attain (arguably unreasonable) standards while at the same time wanting to tell parents that they will catch their children up next year. They really do get how this is not the best environment for learning, and much of what they’re doing is CYA. Take an extra minute to acknowledge and appreciate their hard work and diligence, knowing that they have their own lives, their own bosses, and likely more than 20 kids per class that they are managing.
Masks. If you have N-95 masks to donate, here’s where you can find a recipient. If you’re making masks and need places that accept them, try MaskMatch. The PSP Crafting group has been getting together and having Zooms while we craft. Join us if you want to get involved! We’ll help you find the best and easiest patterns.
Getting exercise. It can be hard to get out with all that’s going on, which is why PSP is hosting businesses to help us get fit with virtual classes, such as Pilates, Fit4Mom workouts, and the Soup Can Workout. Check the PSP Calendar for dates and times, and let us know if you want to donate a workout to our members. If you do make it out, please practice safe social distancing. This recent article says that more than six feet is necessary between runners, and even more with bikers. The wider the better. Also, be diligent if you’re out in the park (we've gotten a report of a mugging in an NYC park).
Social distancing. I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking me to remind people to social distance, especially in stores and on sidewalks. So yes, keep social distancing by going early or late to shop, walking in the streets rather than the sidewalk, or stepping back and waiting till you can safely pass. I also read somewhere, “the longer you don’t comply with social distancing, the longer we're going to have to do it.” We also know that the vast majority of shops in Brownstone Brooklyn do not easily lend themselves to social distancing. For people who find that it’s overly anxiety-producing to go out and shop, please take advantage of free delivery services like Helping Hands. Your mental health is important, and so is lowering everyone’s anxiety!
Helping families and others in need. While it’s important to support our essential workers, other not-for-profit organizations are also hurting in these trying times. Helping to get diapers to families in need, contributing to our local soup kitchens (like CHiPS), or even dropping off individually wrapped sandwiches, snacks, and baked goods can help (details on their website).
You may also be in need. I’m hearing that many of you have lost jobs or fear that your jobs will be ending soon. Thank you for sharing that. Know that the PSP Career Networking Team is researching different ways to help people make connections to future jobs, organizing webinars for those pursuing career opportunities, and brainstorming how PSP can best help. On that note, if you need us to help you stay a member, let us know. Likewise, if you’re able to help someone stay a member, you can leave a little extra when you renew, or reach out and we can help you give.
Check in on your nannies and house cleaners, past and present. My former nanny knows of four nannies in her social circle who have passed away during this crisis. She had another friend who had coronavirus whose friends and family thought it was a nervous breakdown. Help nannies and house cleaners by sending them deliveries of food so they don’t have to go out. Ask if they need information about symptoms, need help gaining medical treatment and support them with their own coping and mental health. Remember that they are missing your children, the routine, and the social interactions in their lives too.
Pay your nanny/house cleaner if you can. If you’re paying on the books, you can get tax credits if you continue to pay your nanny. You can also help your nanny apply for unemployment benefits if you know you won’t be able to retain them. If you’re paying your nanny off the books, you can pay taxes retroactively and then get tax credits for paying them or ensure they’re eligible for unemployment. You can find more information on paying your nanny during coronavirus from the webinar PSP last Sunday. The most important thing is to let your nanny know you care and want to support them.
The beauty and irony of Green-Wood Cemetery. I’m thrilled that so many people are falling in love with a place that I’ve loved since the spring of 2002 when I first walked there with my then six-month-old. If you love it, consider making a donation. It’s amazing that such a beautiful place also focuses on death. Remember that Green-wood is an active cemetery (more active than usual right now) and that people are visiting their deceased loved ones (especially around these religious holidays). Please show respect and teach your children to respect this space too.
Be counted. It’s now more important than ever to fill out CENSUS 2020 which you can do online.
Support your local businesses (if you can). Shop online from stores in your area, buy gift cards, follow your favorites on social media, leave positive reviews, send encouragement and thank yous to places you love. Remember places your child had a birthday party, after-school programs, party entertainers, cake bakers, clothing boutiques, coffee shops, nail salons, dog walkers, and anyone else you can think of who might need to know they have fans. There are lots of lists of places that are open; we think the job that the 5th Ave BID is doing on theirs is great. There’s one for 7th Ave as well.
Hang in there. Remember that NYC and the world is going through a collective trauma. We’re experiencing restriction on our freedoms, a massive change in our lifestyles, and uncertainty about the future. It’s no wonder we aren’t being our most productive, compassionate, and understanding parents and workers. Cut yourself, your kids, your family, friends, and strangers on the street a ton of slack right now. Take a deep breath before you react, and give other people the benefit of the doubt, since they may be dealing with all sorts of stressful things and not thinking clearly themselves.
Hugs to those who are grieving. There are so many of us who are experiencing personal as well as collective loss (see That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief). For the majority of folks, loss will be a sad part of life, but not something that will manifest into depression or other issues. However, these are not normal times, and you may experience more complicated grief. We’re working on resources to help you, but, in the meantime, check out the Center for Complicated Grief, What’s Your Grief, and the resources already on the PSP website to help you cope. Hugs all around on this one.
Your kids are going to be okay. Really. They will learn how to handle stress from how you handle stress. They will learn strength, and resilience, and hope from how you show that to them now. Think about how you want to remember this time and strive to reach that goal. You may fall short on some days, but practice self-care, meditate, and exercise to help you be the parent you want to be.
Practice mindfulness. When things seem overwhelming, focus on the here and now. Journal, blog, make videos of what you’re feeling and how you are coping. Take a shower that is longer than normal and just breathe. You can download a number of mindfulness apps, such as Headspace, for free. Use these on your smartphone for ways to stay calm, cool, and collected.
Add to the PSP Hope Huddle. The healthcare workers at Lenox Hill Hospital do a Hope Huddle that talks about the success and uplifting stories related to their day. I’d love to do this with Park Slope Parents. I know of a PSP dad who spent 10 days in the hospital but came out on top and is now home with his family. Another 20-year-old with COVID-19 was having a lot of problems but is now stable. If you have stories with HAPPY ENDINGS, please post these (as well as funny videos, jokes, and memes) to PSP.
Adding some fun. Easter is coming up, so we put together a little guide with ideas for hunts, coloring pages, and links to fun events. A little creativity will go a long way toward having fun during these unusual times.
Spring will help us get through this. Spring is a time of new beginnings and new growth, and we will emerge from these colder days to the warmth of spring and summer. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a page of what’s in bloom if the view out your window is less than optimal.
With much love and virtual hugs,
Park Slope Parents