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The picture shows the text IF NOT NOW, WHEN? The lettering is written with a typewriter. It is the headline to a blog topic "Be good to yourself - care for others", in COVID-19 times and beyond.

Be good to yourself – care for others

The COVID-19 crisis has created a period of stress and anxiety for millions of people around the world. While this is definitely an unprecedented time for our generation, other crises that generate uncertainty may arise in the future. Many people are wondering how (long) they will be able to cope with their existing health problems if the support systems which they normally rely on are reaching their limits. During this time, anxiety can cause an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of the stomach. It also can create a sense of behavioral paralysis and a kind of disorientation. We now often hear how important self-care is, but distance and fear can make it very difficult.

If you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you can’t help someone else in need

This old airline cliché came to my mind. Most of us know that, metaphorically speaking, this is still one of the most difficult things to do. However, when we do take care of ourselves, we have more love and patience to give to others. This often means major life changes and hard choices. If we want to understand self-care in this context, then we have the chance to pass the test of resilience in any crisis.

Every morning a new chance

Every morning we get a chance to choose courage over cynicism. Gratitude over indifference. We can do that by being kinder towards others as well as ourselves. It is a great way to feel closer, rather than further away from each other. You probably already know this from your own life experience. Do you sometimes wonder what it would mean to be kinder and to be even more grateful? What is your experience so far when you applied it in your life? Now is the time to implement all of this and more in our present and immediate future.

Impacts of our actions

Be aware that your individual actions will have an impact on countless other people. So many people around the world have proven that they are able to quickly take action: people are now, during this crisis, helping to support their neighborhoods much more than they used to, in many ways. Supporting local retailers. Helping others without being in the spotlight. Volunteering to support people that usually do not get much attention. A phone call, a video call, even a written note or a smile can lift people’s spirit in difficult times. Any random act of kindness counts. Taking action not only gives us the feeling that we are in control, it also gives our lives more meaning. And you might have observed this already by yourself. Helping others fosters a virtuous cycle: you feel the impact on and gratitude from others. This empowers you and makes you even stronger which then creates more positive energy to support others.

Your commitment will be a motivation for others to follow. If we all do this together, each one of us in his/her own way will feel united and emotionally closer even in times of crisis. What I am offering here is an attitude and a practice, entirely based on reality. Be good to your precious self – and that of your neighbor.