Chances are, you’ve had some rough days lately, and it’s likely that your loved ones have too. If you know someone who lost their job, is living alone, is struggling with mental illness, or dealing with addiction, they need your support. Now is the time to stay connected to each other to make it through. Here are some ways you can do so.

Send a Gift

Getting a sweet and unexpected gift will make anyone’s day, and if that gift does a little good for the world right now, all the better. For example, Ocean Sole makes colorful handmade art out of flip-flops collected from the oceans. And right now, they’re including handwritten quarantine notes in every package they send out. What better way to make someone’s day?

Marco Polo

If you haven’t heard of it, Marco Polo is an app that lets you send a back-and-forth series of “texts,” but swaps typing for short video clips. Press start, record a little video of yourself, click stop and your message sends right away. You can even add effects or watch live. So much more personal than a normal text.  

Send a Care Package

You can still opt to put together your own care package and ship it, but realize that in order to do so you’ll have to make an extra trip to the store and the post office. As that has a higher risk right now, you can also order care packages online and not leave home. There are sites that offer curated care packages, like The Vanity Project or Box Fox. The more personal alternative is to find a site that lets you build a box yourself online, like Happy Box or Me to You.

Host a Virtual Celebration

Do you know someone celebrating a birthday alone? Did someone you know just get engaged, announce a pregnancy, or get promoted? Those moments deserve to be celebrated, even in untraditional ways. Plan a group video call to celebrate accomplishments and birthdays. Watch a favorite movie with them from afar. Toast and share drinks.

Reach Out, Even for Little Things

If you know a friend or relative is struggling, don’t let them forget you care. If they announce some news, reach out to congratulate them. Even the little things. If your friend is sober and in recovery, celebrate every day. If they share a new business venture or offer, share it and support them. If they say they’re feeling bad, put in the effort to talk. When they’re doing better, remind them that you care.

Send Seeds or Plants

This is a gift that keeps giving. Send an assortment of seeds–veggies, herbs, and flowers–and even some gardening supplies for your friends to enjoy having something to look forward to both when they open it and while they wait for them to grow, after all, plants equal joy.

Give a Gift Card for a Local Business

A two for one idea, you can cheer up a loved one and help a small business at once. Find a restaurant, online shop, or brewery they love in their area. Send a virtual gift card that they can use to shop online, order delivery, or save for later.

Make Something

Do something from the heart; there are plenty of virtual homemade things you can provide, using your own skills. Write them a story or poem. Make a digital illustration. Put together a slideshow of memories, or compile a video of your times together.

Make Future Plans

Having something to look forward to might be the easiest way to get through this thing. If you had a canceled vacation or event, channel your disappointment into planning something new and farther out. A little summer road trip you’ve always wanted to do? A holiday vacation? Now’s the time to think of future fun.

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About Annie Burdick

Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

View all posts by Annie Burdick

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