Revitalizing our communities
As lockdowns are easing, people are slowly getting back to their workplaces. Charities are opening up shops trying to get up and running to full speed. Things, however, are still not how they used to be. People are nervous about large crowds. Interactions with people are done from a safe distance and with a mask on. And, of course, the hand sanitizers in every corner of the workplace being used after every interaction with someone else’s property. Interpersonal engagement has changed and its time to revitalize our communities, adapting to the new way of socializing.
The new way we act around people is more distant than we were ever used to. It tends to make people feel more lonely and less connected with their peers. This creates prospects for a wide-spread mental health issue. People, as we know, are social creatures. And within a few weeks, everything that we used to take for granted, like a handshake when meeting someone, are no longer acceptable and safe. This has affected communities to varying degrees, but all have been impacted in one way or another.
How do we keep a community together when we can’t even gather or even be close to each other?
An obvious answer to the issue of maintaining a community is creating an online space. WhatsApp, Google Meet, Zoom, all good options for keeping in touch. However, many people are still missing the physical presence of people from their communities.
Taking action to engage the whole community
A good way of keeping a sense of togetherness is organizing events. Of course, they’d have to be considerate of the situation. A good example of a community taking action together is the UK local communities organizing a clap for NHS campaign every Thursday. It creates a feeling of belongingness, as everyone is a part of something bigger. Another good example is a friendly competition, where people show off their gardens. It is both an opportunity to engage the whole family, but also an opportunity to create a fundraising event to help local charities.
Local is a keyword. Local businesses, charities, residents and council should be working together to create an environment and processes that support everyone involved. Purchasing from local brands, supporting local charities, helping your elderly neighbours with shopping and assisting local restaurants with home deliveries. All of these steps, when supported by the entire community will make a difference for the future of your surroundings.
Lastly, saying a simple hello to your neighbours passing by your house and asking how their day was. If you happen to be by the window or just emptying the bins when a neighbour passes by, a simple interaction might make the difference to you and the person you’re talking to. Many people are living in isolation, alone and having someone express interest in them might be what makes a bad day a good day.
It is important to keep on engaging and supporting the groups around you, so take these steps and revitalize your community.