How to be a Winter Friend from afar

With recent Government advice on how to deal with COVID-19 at the front of our minds, we have been thinking about how Winter Friends could help the more vulnerable people in their community. Your support may well be needed now more than ever. With the priority being on staying at home and keeping yourself and others around you safe, here are some ideas of how you can offer help and support from a distance:

1

Getting Groceries

If you’ve managed to secure an online delivery slot, why not check if a neighbour needs some things adding to your order to save them a trip to the supermarket?

If you do need to go out and buy food, you could offer to pick up a few essentials for a vulnerable neighbour or family member to help keep them safe.

One way to reach out is to print out our Winter Friends calling card and pop it through their letter box. If you don’t have access to a printer you could create your own card to let them know that you’re there if they need you. 

Remember to wash your hands if you’re planning on approaching someone’s door and before and after you drop off or collect any items.

2

Stay connected

If you know someone who lives alone, why not check in with them over a quick phone or video call to offer support and to help keep spirits high?

Start up your own Winter Friends buddy group on a messaging platform like WhatsApp or Facebook and add people who can support each other and share self isolation tips and ideas.

Positive social interactions are so important to morale and can nurture mental health and wellbeing too. Even if done remotely, a little kindness can go a long way!

Positive social interactions are so important to morale and can nurture mental health and wellbeing too. Even if done remotely, a little kindness can go a long way!

3

Become a Community Care Volunteer

If you’re looking for a way to help people in your community, and are classed as healthy and low risk, Doing Good Leeds have information on how you can become a Community Care Volunteer.

4

Share helpful information

If you, or someone you know, can’t afford food or access a foodbank right now, download and complete this form for emergency food provision. 

If you know someone who might need to get a prescription over the coming weeks, let them know about online prescription services. Check the NHS website for advice.

Pregnant women or breastfeeding mums may need some support at this time of uncertainty. If you have experienced this yourself you could offer some kind words to help mums, and those expecting, feel calm and capable. Another way to offer support is by sharing a link to an online group – there are many Facebook support groups out there, as well as a list of support networks on NHS Start 4 Life.

5

Look after your mental health & wellbeing

Lack of control and not being able to plan properly for the future can increase levels of anxiety, so plan in what you can and divide your day up into sections. You could include some mindfulness techniques and gentle exercise to boost your endorphins & mental wellbeing. Look up slow breathing techniques and grounding exercises if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious.

MindWell Leeds, Mind and the NHS have some excellent tips to help you look after your mental wellbeing:

6

Social distancing distractions

We might be social distancing, but we could all welcome some helpful distractions to help boost our moods. Here are a few ideas to add a little bit of happiness for yourself and for others in your community:

  • Start that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages.
  • Get creative! Drawing, painting, sewing, crocheting, knitting, writing a poem or a song - whatever you fancy, there’s no limits to your own creativity!
  • Sign up to an online course - watch some YouTube videos or online tutorials and learn a new skill.
  • If you have children to entertain, get them to show you their favourite game. Board games, card games, made-up games…keep the fun happening!
  • Make a list of things to be positive about.
  • Declutter! Use this time to clear out your cupboards and drawers.
  • Speak with friends and family and video call if you can - seeing someone smile can boost your own happiness and make you smile too!
  • Play your favourite tunes and have a good old dance around your living room to release those endorphins!
  • Learn a new recipe – bake your favourite sweet treat or have a go at making your own bread.
  • Share positive news and fond memories of happy times with loved ones and people you are supporting.

Stay home and stay well

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