March 20, 2020 — Pandemics such as the new coronavirus outbreak can breed anxiety and fear, as shown by hoarding shoppers with overflowing carts and long lines of tense people outside gun and ammo shops. But they can also fuel kindness, with neighbors helping neighbors and complete strangers lending a hand to those in need.
When Jeff Kaplan, 58, began working from home in mid-March instead of going to the office for his software sales job, he decided he needed to “repurpose” his commute time to help others. “We have a pretty tight neighborhood page on Facebook,” says Kaplan, who lives in Indianapolis. He posted about the possibility of helping around the neighborhood to cope with the need for groceries and other supplies. The response from others was instant — Ping! Ping! “I want to help.”
On his Facebook page, Help in the Hood, Kaplan directs those interested to the community he built with an online tool. Within a day after he posed the idea, 30 people had signed up. Other neighborhoods wanted in. As of March 19, more than 100 members in more than 20 different neighborhoods are involved.
Members report things like, “I’m at Costco, there’s no chicken,” so other members can stay informed. Kaplan got a request from one neighbor whose husband was traveling, and she had one sick child and another with special needs. He ran to the market to get her groceries. One member is “the store reporter,” telling others that the milk has come in at Kroger, for instance. The group uses Venmo and PayPal to pay for purchases — with no problems, Kaplan says.
Jaquelin Spong, 60, a physicist who lives near Woodstock, VA, in the Shenandoah Valley, was concerned about her neighbors and the potential for the epidemic to grow if people didn’t stay home more. “We are pretty isolated [here] and we don’t have any cases [of COVID-19]. People go to Walmart and say ‘What is the problem?’ “
As a physicist, she understands and tries to explain to people that the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is exponential. “If we don’t do something really soon [to slow the spread], we are going to be in a world of hurt.”
With others, she co-founded a Facebook group for community help. “It is not religious, not political, we are simply trying to solve the near-term problems.” So far, 22 members are on board.
“In the morning, someone says, ‘I’m going to Walmart,’ and people who need supplies can post. The group is relying on Venmo for payments; for meetings, they use Zoom so they can keep their social distance.
Melissa Marten, 69, of Los Osos, CA, is a Pilates devotee and was dismayed when her teacher, Peggy Jern, had to stop classes when the studio she teaches at closed. With another student, she came up with a plan to relieve at least some stress. “We usually pay at the first of the month, but we went ahead and paid for April,” Marten says. “We wanted her to know we appreciate her, we love her. She was overwhelmed.”
Jern, 61, had already offered students private lessons at home to make up for the last 2 weeks of missed March classes. Some took her up on it. Getting paid ahead for April, she says, “was a total surprise. It was great.”
Canadians have responded to community need by setting up Facebook groups and dubbing it as “caremongering” — the opposite of fearmongering. Sue Wilkins, 67, of Dunnville, a town of about 6,000 people 2 hours south of Toronto, is one of the people behind a group called CareMongering Haldimand Ontario Response to COVID19, now with 398 members.
“I have some disabilities, I’m immunosuppressed,” says Wilkins, a retired registered nurse. “I’m working behind the scenes, mostly.” She’s called the pharmacists in town to see if they are delivering free of charge or offering curbside pickup, and she posted those details, plus useful information about medications. Members can post requests of all kinds for help; other posts supply ongoing information about the outbreak.
Explaining the Outreach
“In a pandemic, we have more of an opportunity and more of a need to reach out,” says Danna Markson, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist in group private practice in Livingston, NJ. “I think the sharing and the generosity comes from an abundance mindset. More than likely, the person thinks, ‘There is enough of everything to go around, and the universe will reward me down the road.’ ” The abundance mindset, she says, is the opposite of what she calls the scarcity mindset, held by people not likely to be generous.
During this pandemic, with social isolation encouraged, and sometimes ordered, to slow the spread of the virus, reaching out is also a way to make connections. “Reaching out and helping people give you a sense of social connection, which is a basic human need,” Markson says.
A few days earlier, she says, “I was coming out of the supermarket and witnessed people sharing toilet paper out of the trunks of their cars. I thought that was really cool.” No money exchanged hands that she saw.
Fighting for a common cause — a stop to the crisis — “obviously brings people together,” says Talya Steinberg, PsyD, a psychologist in private practice in Santa Fe, NM, and an adjunct professor of counseling at Southwestern College there. Because the pandemic is global, she says, “we actually are all facing the same catastrophe. This is unprecedented. If we are all in the same boat, we want to help each other.”
The very mention of exams can make even the calmest person feel stressed. Add to that the unnatural events of Covid 19 this year and this adds to the stress. Most of all it’s the current added difficulty of managing online learning and uncertainty of exam dates and formats.
We have so many unanswered questions. We need to stay positive and control what we can control and work to the best of our ability. We need to take it day by day and know that it’s ok to have good days and bad days. Make sure you and the exam students in your home open up to your friends and family, they will be feeling similar.
‘Fail to prepare and prepare to fail’. This statement is so true.
Some basic rules coming up to exam time
A quiet place to study – A suitable environment to study is important to help concentration levels.
A balanced diet – Good nutrition is essential at any time of year, but especially during exam time. Batch cook some healthy meals and stock up on nutritious snacks. Having some of the student’s favourite dinner to hand is important too.
Omega 3 is essential to fuel the hard-working brain at this time. Keep brain and vision in tip top shape by making sure to top up your good fats daily. Consider taking Cleanmarine® Krill Oil High Strength. It contains 590mg of concentrated, high strength Omega 3 Krill Oil. This concentrated formula of EPA, DHA, Astaxanthin and Choline provides the essential fatty acids required for the normal function of the heart, brain and vision. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function and vision, the beneﬁcial eﬀect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg. Also eating 2 – 3 portions of oily fish a week will provides more essential fats for your body. Examples include salmon, mackerel and herring. Easy to cook in steam parcels in the oven with garlic, lemon and oil.
A good night’s sleep – Studying all night may seem like a good idea but if your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to forget the information or under perform. When your mind is buzzing with exam questions, quotes and scientiﬁc theories, having something to help you switch oﬀ, relax and support deep sleep is a must. Try Melissa Dream™ which contains all-natural ingredients including the herbs lemon balm (Melissa oﬃcinalis) and Chamomile in combination with selected B-vitamins, Magnesium and the amino acid L-theanine. Magnesium contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue while vitamins B6 and B12 contribute to the normal function of the nervous system. With no drowsiness or side eﬀects the next day, Melissa Dream helps you to wake up rested and full of energy.
Exercise – Even a 20-minute walk will help your child to relax and destress their mind, this will also help oxygenate the entire body.
Stress is the biggest obstacle to overcome. It’s so important to get enough B vitamins in foods like broccoli. Kale, spinach. Getting your 5-a-day is bound to be the least of your worries as exam time approaches; ironically this is when your nutritional and energy needs are at their highest. Make sure you keep your nutrient and energy levels up with One Nutrition® Organic Power Greens. This is a unique combination of nature’s ﬁnest green foods including kale, broccoli, spirulina, wheat grass and barley grass juice powders in a handy capsule or powder to add to your morning smoothie.
Take time out to do something you love such as walking your dog, reading a magazine, chat online to your best friend. Journaling is also therapeutic, to put your thoughts and feelings onto paper. Try family time such as playing a board game to distract your mind from the books for a while.
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Crohn’s was ruining my life… but manuka honey has saved me
FOR years Rebecca Jenkins could not take a sip of water without running to the
Food also ran straight through her — and she had to dash to the ladies’ up to
ten times a day.
Humiliatingly, sometimes she could not reach a bathroom in time, and the fear
of horrible accidents made social situations a nightmare to be avoided.
This was the grim reality of her life with Crohn’s disease and no
treatments worked — until she found manuka honey.
Rebecca, now 34, began taking two daily teaspoons of the posh spread made by
bees fed on highly anti-bacterial nectar from the manuka plant. And within a
month, it appeared to have cured her.
Now she is looking forward to her wedding next week — wearing the white dress
she once would have been far too scared to even contemplate.
Rebecca — who weighed just 6½st and wore a tiny dress size four when she tried
the honey out of desperation — is still symptom-free 18 months later.
She said: “I was sick of feeling terrible. I lost so much weight I couldn’t
keep anything down. I’d regularly soil myself and have to carry extra
clothes in case I had an accident when I was out.
“I read that a footballer who had a similar condition to mine had used manuka
honey to ease his symptoms. But I didn’t have much hope.”
But within a week, the symptoms that had crippled her life had subsided.
She said: “I’d gone from spending my days sat on the loo and resting in bed to
having energy for the first time in years.
“My skin had cleared up, my periods returned and I felt normal again.”
Rebecca is one of 90,000 people in the UK with Crohn’s disease — a
debilitating inflammatory condition.
According to Crohn’s And Colitis UK, the number of people being diagnosed or
hospitalised by the condition has soared in the past decade by as much as
300 per cent.
Freelance television executive Rebecca, from Long Stratton in Norfolk, first
showed symptoms in 2009.
She recalled: “I started getting intense stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
“I thought it was stress-related but when it didn’t go away, I knew there must
have been another reason.
“A week after symptoms started, I went to my doctor. He didn’t seem concerned
but things got worse.”
When Rebecca was referred to a specialist at the Norfolk and Norwich
University Hospital, she was spending so much time on the toilet she had to
turn down work.
She said: “My job is really physical and I spend a lot of time on my feet so
it was impossible to do it properly when I needed so much time in the
“I ended up losing thousands and thousands of pounds in wages.”
Stool samples did not show anything wrong with Rebecca but a further six
months of tests eventually showed that inflammatory markers in her blood
were sky-high, indicating Crohn’s.
She said: “Some of the tests were agony. Having tubes put down your throat and
up your bum wasn’t a nice experience at all.
“I had so much blood taken out of me I was surprised I had any left.But I was
desperate to know what was wrong with me.”
But the news she had Crohn’s disease came as a terrible shock. She said: “At
just 30 years old, it was devastating to be told I had this life-changing,
“While I had faith in my doctors, I also knew there was little they could do
other than help me manage the symptoms.”
But Rebecca soon realised how things could be far worse.
She said: “I was lucky that I didn’t need any surgery to have my bowel removed
and get fitted with a colostomy bag like lots of other Crohn’s sufferers —
although I was warned this could happen in the future.”
Between courses of steroids, Rebecca was given various autoimmune medications
in a bid to stop her immune system attacking itself — but they had
She said: “Some made me feel like I was dying. Some gave me migraines, others
stomach ache, and I was once whisked to A&E because I got such bad joint
pain I couldn’t move.
“At my worst my mum would have to shower me after I’d soiled myself because
I was so weak.
“I always had to keep a spare pair of knickers on me. I couldn’t eat or drink
water without problems, or go out.
“I was desperate to find something to help me — and that’s when I read about
At her worst, Rebecca was spending a week in hospital every month. The rest of
the time she was in bed or on the loo.
But taking two teaspoons of manuka honey — bought from online supplier the
Honey Doctor — before breakfast each day helped straight away. She said: “My
bowel movements were far less regular, the pain was easing and I felt I
could cope for the first time in years.
“Whereas before I would always have to dash to the loo mid-meal, now I wasn’t
even having to go after a meal.” Her hospital consultant was also amazed.
She said: “He was over the moon for me, and told me to carry on doing
whatever was helping.
“Tests confirmed my suspicions — my digestive system was back to normal.
“Although I have the occasional flare-up, if I take an extra dose of manuka
honey in the evening the symptoms quickly subside.”
She said: “Now I can drive long distances without panicking, I can socialise
with friends, I’m not in pain and even have the occasional alcoholic drink.
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