Practicing Kindness in Stressful Times

Don’t let kindness become another victim of COVID-19. A kind word and a thank you to employees goes a long way in maintaining our humanity throughout this pandemic.

We may all be getting a bit weary in these constricted times with no sure end in sight. From the beginning of time, one surefire antidote to weariness has been kindness. Reminders as we weather this together …

Tips for a Great Shopping Experience!

  • Wear a mask. This is not about our individual rights but about collective health.
  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times — for your safety and the safety of employees.
  • Follow the instructions and signs placed in the store. These were installed for your safety and for the safety of the employees.
  • If you want to bag your own groceries, let the bagger know so he or she can step aside.
  • While shopping, move your cart to one side of the aisle if you need to stop and ponder (think pullout lane heading into Boston), and allow space for others to comfortably pass.
  • Create your shopping list in advance, which is a plan to reduce shopping stress.
  • Be imaginative and creative if an item is out of stock. It certainly isn’t the fault of employees.
  • Stay tuned as our curbside team puts final logistics into place for more pickup options.
  • Don’t go to the store if you have any signs of COVID-19.
  • If you have cabin fever and think a trip to the grocery store would be fun, don’t! Only go when absolutely necessary, once a week or maybe once every two weeks.

Many of us may remember Robert Fulghum’s 1986 book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by. Many of these same basic rules apply to the times we live in. I reflected on these as I witnessed a frustrated customer reacting negatively to a cashier this week at the Co-op. Here are some handpicked gems that seem appropriate in these times:

  1. Share — perhaps sharing a kindness or an expression of thanks to employees.
  2. Hold hands, stick together — perhaps not the handholding, but the sticking together with a common purpose.
  3. Treat others how you want to be treated — ahhh … more on this.
  4. Use your imagination — when the store is out of yeast, how else can you bake?
  5. Listen — have you ever wondered what struggles the person on the other side of the mask is facing?
  6. Live a balanced life — hmmm … what lessons are we taking from this pandemic?
  7. Things change and come to an end — yes, this will end, and we will be stronger and better for it. But, in the meantime …

Back to #3 — treat others how you want to be treated. This is a great one to focus on. We are all feeling anxious, stressed, and downright depressed by the state of events and the impact it’s having on our individual and collective lives. It’s easy to be caught up in tending to ourselves first and forget that the frontline workers who show up each day may be also be struggling.

Don’t let kindness become another victim of COVID-19. A kind word and a thank you to employees goes a long way in maintaining our humanity throughout this pandemic.

Be safe, be strong, be kind. Despite our fears and concerns, this is a time to remember our humanity. We have a choice — we can let the circumstances of COVID-19 make us increasingly fearful and unpleasant, or we can let it soften us and make us kinder toward each other.

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Ken Davis

Ken Davis is the Co-op's senior copywriter. Email him at