I’m not a toddler but it’s like I’m in time-out. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues,  many of us feel like we’ve been told to sit in the corner, with nothing to do. Even so, I continue to reflect on how can I care for others, and, “How can I care for myself?”  Here are four examples of ways I have been able to still care even while being in “time-out” due to social distancing.

Tidying Up Helps Me – and Others

Here is an idea that at first doesn’t seem to help people. Or does it? I have a closet over-flowing with clothes. Collecting clothes must be my hobby.  This situation is nudging me (could it be the Holy Spirit?) to reduce significantly. Organizing expert Marie Kondo, host of the Netflix series Tidying Up says, “By [tidying up] you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” To which I add, “Others will value their chance to have some nice outfits.”

Maybe during this time-out, you could follow Marie Kondo’s ideas of decluttering and organizing, which would certainly provide a pick-me-up.  At the same time you could give gently used books, clothes, toys, and household items to those who need them.  Wow! By the time this virus is destroyed, my whole house may be decluttered, AND the items which I treasured and let go of have helped others who do not have an over-flowing closet and home. (At the time of publication, most organizations are not accepting donated items due to pandemic closures. Perhaps you can use this time to set aside items you no longer need for a time when you are able to donate them.)

Give the Gift of Reading

A few days ago, I de-cluttered my bookshelves. I put a box of books at the end of my driveway with a sign: “Take. Read. Pass the Book On. Be Safe.”  Because of the mandate to stay home, there are so many people out walking (Isn’t that great!) Many people stopped to peruse the book selection; some took a book or two. This was a way to care by sharing with others, and it felt good.

Spend Time with Family the Social Distancing Way

One of my biggest challenges during this pandemic is not seeing and connecting with family members. It was a real blessing when Kim, my daughter-in-law, set up a Zoom “cocktail hour.” Through the power of technology, the Zoom conferencing app connected us with five of our adult grandchildren as well as our son Michael and Kim. We were able to spend time with loved ones who live in several different cities; it was wonderful!

Later in the weekend, Larry and I went to a bonfire at our other son’s home and stood around (six feet apart) and enjoyed sharing feelings, news and stories.  Larry and I ended the day feeling relaxed and blessed.

Find Unique Ways to Honor Family Traditions

My family calls me the “Cookie Grandma” because I host cookie-making parties for my grandkids and great-grandkids. So even though Easter will be different this year due to the mandate to stay home, I resolved to continue my cookie-making tradition, but in a safe social-distancing way. Here’s what I did: I gathered up all the supplies that I intended to use for our annual Easter cookie making gathering (Easter cookie cutters, glitter and so on.) I put the supplies in a box, drove them to my granddaughter’s house and left the box on their porch so that she and her daughters can still enjoy making cookies.

Well, there you go: four more ways I can share and care. Since so many of us are currently in time-out perhaps you will join me in reaching out.

Remember:  Mary Poppins advises us to remember that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  Even in a terrible pandemic there are ways to connect, laugh and find moments of joy.

For more ideas on how to care while staying safe during a pandemic, see our articles on social distancing.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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