Today’s blog is the final one in our series of 7 ways to stay healthy in 7 days. This one is about paying it forward. Which basically means responding to someone’s kindness by doing something kind for someone else. The concept is old by the phrase was coined by Lily Hammond in a book she wrote in 1916.

How does this help with MY health you might ask? Well, as lockdown looms larger every day, this is the time for us to act as a community. The bushfires showed us the best of humanity. The current crisis has already shown us some of the worst in terms of selfishness. But it’s not too late. By the end of this blog I hope you will see how paying it forward ties in with all other aspects of your health we’ve discussed over the last week.

Finding things REALLY inconvenient right now? (quite apart from the toilet paper thing) Your favourite yoga class cancelled? Gym closed? Can’t get your hair done? Nails? Massage? Botox? Your favourite takeaway won’t deliver? Well … tough. Can you turn this right around and think about the people in the world who never have any of this, ever! Can you sit with the inconvenience because you know it’s temporary and actually do something positive for those less fortunate around Australia or around the world? It’s time to donate. Declutter your house and donate to Vinnies or the Sallies. And if you’re not financially affected, dig deep and donate to charity here or abroad. Not just a few bucks. Get generous. Pay it forward.

 

Are you feeling worried and anxious? Take a moment to think about all the people who are terrified at the prospect of contracting COVID-19, especially those with an auto-immune disease, respiratory and heart problems or those having chemo treatment. You have the option to do everything you can to stay healthy enough to shrug off the virus should you catch it. Be grateful for that. If you know someone who’s really scared right now and with good reason, call them. Be a good listener. Pay it forward.

 

Are you wondering how you’ll cope? Take a leaf from those who lived through the Second World War and the Great Depression. They grew veggies and recycled everything (and I mean “everything”), they patched and made do, used their ingenuity and mustered every ounce of courage they had. They survived by pulling together for the common good – you can too. Help others. Pay it forward.

Are you feeling isolated and disconnected? I know I am. Here’s a job for all of us. Make a list of all the people you know who live alone. They will be feeling even lonelier than usual. Find out if any of them need help getting food or supplies delivered. If you can’t deliver things to them yourself, you could help them through the process of online ordering, or even do it for them. Call or text someone on that list every day. If they’re a real chatter just say you’ve only got a few minutes but you want to check on how they’re going. Send flowers, or a card, or make a card, write a letter, get your kids to do a drawing – and send it. Use skype, zoom or facetime. Help an old person learn how to use facetime. Be proactive and be helpful. You’ve already forgotten about writing the list, haven’t you? Do it. Please. The only way we all get through this as a community is to act like one. Put someone else first. Pay it forward.

I know that many people have lost their jobs, that many are experiencing real financial hardship and many are stressed to breaking point. I know that many of us feel like they don’t have anything left to give right now. “When you don’t have anything left to give, be the gift.”

Silver linings are hard to see when you’re surrounded by clouds. I don’t know who Leila is but I came across this message and it is the one I want to leave you with.

“I can’t wait for a year’s time when all of this is a distant memory and there is a corona baby boom because all the lovers were lovin.

And there is a rise in small business because all the entrepreneurs had a moment of stillness and creativity.

And all the children remember nothing but a time when all the mums and dads were at home drawing and playing board games and we remember it as the time we all go to stop and be present.

We will remember the time our health was our first priority and people learnt new ways to use fresh produce to feed their families and we were all forced to think outside the box and dream up new things and reinvent old ways and, for once even amongst the chaos, there was community. There was a global rise in togetherness and the streets were quiet but out homes were bustling with love and laughter.

That time is coming… soon. Just like other crises before it, this will all be a distant memory, a thing we listen to our children discuss in classrooms, a “once was” that we share with our grand babies.

So to you – I know it’s unsettling but focus on the silver lining. We are all in this together and there’s so much beauty to see.”

Leila