10 Easy Ways to Make a Difference to Someone This Circuit Breaker Season

Published on May 14, 2020

With uncertainty, separation from our loved ones, and just staying within those same four walls all day, it's easy to feel out of control - despite the happy pictures we put on social media. 

Since it doesn't look like the current state of things might change anytime very soon, how can we fix this feeling that we don't have as firm a grasp on our lives as we might like? A possible answer: Make a difference in the lives of others.

There is a Chinese saying:

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.

For centuries, the greatest thinkers from around the world have suggested that happiness is found in helping others, and now science seems to be proving them right. There is compelling evidence through fMRI technology that giving activates the parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex.. except that it does so for a longer period of time. 

So while we might feel put out at at being unable to head over to the gym or to go to our best friend's digs for a recharging hug, what we can do is perk up the days of others who might be going through worse, and give ourselves a little lift at the same time. Here are some suggestions how.

1. Express your appreciation for those who have made a difference to you


Everyone knows people who have made the rock-bottoms of this Circuit Breaker more manageable; whether they're your family members, or even your housemates who help clean up, share their meals or rearrange their schedules so that you can take your work calls in peace. 

Why not do something to show your appreciation? You could cook a meal, write a letter, or - if they're comfortable with physical affection - give them a hug and say thank you. With so many plans derailed because of the virus, it's easy for people to question their own value, so if they have made a difference to you, it's important that you let them know.

Cute Cat Thank You GIF

2. Check in with friends / family not staying with you


It's easy to feel low when you haven't seen the friends and family for the past month; and they're probably feeling the same. Choose from your favourite communication options -  be it Whatsapp Video, Zoom or Houseparty - and take some time to just chat and check in with them. Tell them how much you miss hanging out, and let them vent about the messed up Mothers' Day food orders or tough WFH day. Just lending them a listening ear can make both of you feel supported and less alone.

Video Call GIF

3. Help elderly neighbours buy their groceries


Heading out to NTUC to buy groceries? Why not knock on your neighbours' doors to check if they need to get something too?

Another Chinese saying: 远亲不如近邻; or good neighbours are far more important than far-off relatives. If the uncle or auntie next door are getting on in years, it can be quite difficult for them to get the groceries they need, especially if they've run out of masks, can't figure out online deliveries or their children do not stay close by. Why not save them a trip and help them with some basic necessities?

Groceries Meme GIF

It doesn't take a lot of extra effort and will probably make a difference to them. You'll probably also have a better relationship even after this self-isolation period is over, which always makes for a more pleasant hood to live in.

4. Support local enterprise


With a large number of businesses unable to operate during the Circuit Breaker period,  many of the smaller ones - without significant reserves to fall back on -  are at risk of closing for good. In fact, a record number of businesses did just that in April 2020. So if you need something during this period, why not try doing your shopping with the smaller local enterprises to tide them through this unpredictable time?

Here are some great local businesses with worthy causes that we've actually tried and loved:

  • Crossings Cafe: An F&B Social Enterprise set up by Catholic Welfare Organization employing the autistic and disabled in preparing foods
  • Two Sisters Pantry: An organic health food store based in Singapore
  • Unpackt: A package-free zero-waste shop in Singapore
  • The Sustainability Project: A local online shop providing items to help you lead a greener life
  • Haikini: Singaporean swimwear brand that doubled sewing fees for their recent Ohana mini collection to support their production workers in Bali

The same thing goes for hair salons. We are personally mourning a few casualties in the hairdressing industry so if you need a haircut and know of a salon you want to keep alive, do make an appointment ahead of time so they know there is some income coming in. If you're not sure who to support, who will at the same time give you a perfect hairstyle, take a look at our list of top hair salons which are operating during the Circuit Breaker.

5. Personally pick up food from your favourite hawker stall / restaurant


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Yes, we know that GrabFood, Deliveroo and FoodPanda makes delivery a breeze but they also take a huge chunk of the income from your beloved F&B provider. So on the days you don't feel like cooking, why not order from your favourite neighbourhood restaurant / hawker stall and collect the takeaway yourself? This cuts out the middleman, saves you money, and helps businesses stay alive.

Tip: Bring along your own reusable containers to save on the cost of those disposable plastic containers so you can help save the earth at the same time.

6. If your circumstances allow, tip your delivery people


And when you do actually get food delivery, consider giving your delivery person a tip! These people braved the elements and the crowd, exposing themselves to potential viral infection so that you don't have to. They are earning a tiny wage from debilitating work, with many of them having gone into this line after losing their pre-Covid jobs, so if you are comfortable enough to help them out, do.

7. Fight on the Frontline 


With the tighter measures implemented when entering spaces like malls and hospitals, considerable manpower is required to keep everything running, from taking temperatures, to scanning ICs and now, swabbing people for COVID-19 tests. 

COVID-19 Swabber Job Application Singapore

If you happen to need some income and fit the requirements stated above, consider being on the forefront fight against COVID-19?

Some of these jobs offer very respectable remuneration, in the region of $3400. However, do consider that you will be putting yourself at higher risk of infection, so only apply if you meet the health requirements. 

8. Donate Blood


The high number of COVID-19 infections has increased the demand for blood at our Blood Bank. 

Donate Blood During Lockdown

As of 14 May 2020, blood supply for A+, A-, AB+, AB- are low. 

If you are in good health, consider literally giving the gift of life by donating blood. Do make an appointment before you head down to avoid waiting and support social distancing.

9. Donate to organisations that are helping to tackle COVID-19


Blood is of course not the only resource lacking in this fight against the pandemic. If you're financially stable, consider funds to charities or non-profit organizations including Red Cross who are under a huge strain to maintain their operations. Even animal shelters are affected during this period since adoption drives have had to stop, and they are bursting at the seams with stray or abandoned creatures who need food, medicine and shelter. Basically, there is an almost inexhaustible list of charities to choose from at Giving SG.

Even if you don't have a surplus of cash at the moment, many organisations could benefit from donations in kind. Try a Marie Kondo style decluttering to uncover items in good condition that others could benefit from. 

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Low income households, children's homes and especially quarantined migrant workers are in need of many items, from rice-cookers to mattresses to furniture, food, and sometimes clothing; and could benefit from items which might just be sitting around in your house and taking up space. Check out sites like www.passiton.org.sg/grant-a-wish to find out what these communities might require, and remember to only donate clean, sanitised items.

10. Acknowledge the value in yourself


While we're trying to help others, don't place yourself as the last priority.

Love Yourself GIF

If you run yourself ragged, the world won't be able to benefit from the unique magic that is you.

While working from home may have upset the work-life-balance, remember to give yourself some me-time every day, whether by going for a run, or taking 30 minutes before everyone else wakes up to drink tea, meditate, and look out the window.

Don't feel guilty needing to switch off, to treat yourself with simple pleasures like chocolate, flowers or a DIY facial you can do at home. 

Stay Safe, Stay Happy and Thank YOU for allowing us to share our thoughts with you today!

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