The Dos and Don’ts of Human Kindness During Coronavirus

Colleen Markley
10 min readMar 25, 2020

And how to help yourself by helping others during a pandemic

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

We’re anxious. We’re uncertain. We’re worried. That’s all normal and important to validate. How do we alleviate that? Studies show it’s by helping others.

I’ve worked with nonprofits for decades, and recently gave a workshop about the personal benefits of volunteering. Volunteering is not just great for those receiving assistance, but also a huge benefit for those doing the work. I think this can be a great focus for everyone feeling anxiety about coronavirus right now. Yes, plan and prep for your family. But here are other things you can do to help others, and feel better in the process. There are so many ways to capture the impact of volunteering — the essential elements of kindness — even during a period of social distancing. You might not be able to man a soup line or fill sand bags or any of the things that we imagine is helpful during a crisis or disaster, but there are plenty of other ways you can help. In the days to come it will be our small acts of kindness that continue to help shape the stories and memories of this time.

Here are simple Dos and Don’ts to help demonstrate that humankind is actually kind.

Stay Home

Do think about public health beyond ourselves. Social distancing is really the only responsible thing to do right now. There are two fabulous articles in The Atlantic and Newsweek that explain this really well. The best thing you can do to be helpful is to make sure you’re not infecting others and creating a drain on the system. Participating in social distancing — the greatest social experiment of all time — may be the most meaningful act of kindness you can make in your lifetime.

Don’t think (or tell others) this is a hoax or a drill. It’s here and real and we need to be responsible humans and do the right thing. And when you don’t get sick and nothing happens? Awesome. It worked.

Support the Economy

Do consider buying some gift certificates for the restaurants and shops that you’d like to make sure are still in your town and thriving when this crisis is over. They could use the cash flow and…



Colleen Markley

Award-winning writer. Writing Instructor. (#amquerying a novel about the end of the world where only the women survive).