It is fair to say that this year has rocked our little Long Island community.  January and February were especially hard for us, but as a community, I watched us all come together. I saw our town decorated in blue: the cars, mailboxes, trees, homes, local businesses and schools. People donated their money and their time to try to ease the horror of an unfathomable situation. And just when the sadness started to lift, we got hit with COVID-19. 

These uncertain times are causing turmoil everywhere. But we don’t live everywhere, we live here and here is where we need to focus on right now. 

These are my top tips for how you can help yourself, your family and your community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stay Home. Order online whenever possible, preferably from your local businesses. People will not take it personally if you are pea-podding it for a while. Staying home helps severely reduce the spread and contraction of the virus. Remaining home also shows appreciation, respect and love for those who cannot be home like our family and friends in the military, our nurses, doctors, our law enforcement and our grocery workers.

Stay home to be part of the solution. 

Shop Local.  How many times have you walked through our little town thinking about how much you love our shops and wished we had more? Well, our small businesses need help now more than ever. Believe me, staying open is going to be quite the struggle for many. 

To show your support now you can buy gift certificates for the business for later use or as presents for teachers, birthdays etc. You can see what sales they are currently offering and take advantage of those, you can grab take out from your local restaurants, and you can like, follow and share your favorite local business on social media for your friends to check out. 

Another good way to show your support is by leaving 5-star reviews for these businesses on google business, yelp or their Facebook pages.

Share.  Everyone is feeling cooped up, stressed out and confused. There are so many things we want to be doing, but sometimes we find ourselves doing absolutely nothing. When you share something fun or creative you have done, it inspires those you know to do it too. This helps get the mind to focus on something other than the current situation. 

Last week someone shared the chalk for your walk idea, where we decorate our driveways for everyone to enjoy on their walks. That was so fun, and I never would have thought of it on my own! Share your ideas, your projects and your pictures — it’s a great distraction and fun way to stay connected!

Stay Solution-Oriented. Currently, the only solution offered to us seems to be staying home. And while that’s accurate, there is more you can do! For starters, when it’s a necessity to go out, wear plastic gloves and when you are done THROW THEM IN THE TRASH! We shouldn’t be seeing gloves on the streets of our beautiful community. There are trash cans everywhere and if you can not find one put the gloves in your pocket until you do. 

Also, respect the 6 feet rule. If you must go out, stay 6 feet apart from others. Have some patience and respect for your neighbors, they are struggling just as you are, we are all in this together.

Another great way to stay solution oriented is participating in the COVID Cleanup. What a great idea, shared on social media. Grab your gloves and your trash bags, your kids, head outside on your surrounding streets and start picking up trash!

Covid Cleanup – 2 miles of the Panhandle trail and realized I had to carry it back. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. from r/TrashTag

There really are so many ways to make the best out of a difficult and scary time. We must support each other, check in on each other and respect that we truly are all in this together.