Let me start this article with a question and a quote. 

Question – Are you all safe and healthy wherever you are? 

“Empathy is a skill like any other human skill. If you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it.”

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Well, at the moment, we all are facing one of the biggest challenges we have faced as the human race – COVID19 pandemic. It has affected each one of us irrespective of our nationality, geography, or profession. Most of us are locked down at our homes and managing to cope up with the situation as well as possible. 

As I am writing this, this virus has affected around 28.26 lakh individuals across the globe, claiming close to 1.97 lakh of them (Source). Whoa, I cannot wrap my head around these numbers and the widespread of this pandemic. Along with the deaths, there are several other areas that the pandemic has impacted – widespread unemployment, shutting down of businesses, people depending on government stimulus funds for survival to name a few. 

One of my friends got infected and I could feel the pain he had to face. Thankfully he has recovered. Another friend of mine mentioned that his mother couldn’t the funeral of her own sister who has been sick for a while. These real incidents make one wonder when all this will be over and the answer is no one knows. 

 We have to be strong and support each other to get over this challenging period of time. That realization made me write this post on empathy. Empathy is one of those skills which we all possess that should be practiced a lot now. As you all know, empathy in simple words is your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand them better. 

There’s no better time than this to practice empathy. Do you want to be more empathetic toward others? Let’s see how can you do that.

Empathy For Your Parents & Elderly

Our elderly generation is the most vulnerable to COVID19 infection. Most of them will be already aware of this fact and be scared as well. We can be empathetic towards them by hearing them out and helping them whenever they need it. If you have your parents living with you, take good care of them and if they are living away, check up on them regularly. 

What can you do?

  •  Call your parents regularly if they are not living with you
  • Stay connected with family members via WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.
  • Offer to buy essential items for elderly living nearby
  • Offer to take the elderly in your neighborhood to the hospital if need be 

Empathy For Your Family

Your family members might be dealing with the stress of various kinds during these difficult times. Be it your wife with her work pressures and homeschooling of kids or your brother who has to work on multiple projects due to reduced manpower, be there for them. Talk to them regularly, try to understand their challenges, and help them whenever possible.

What can you do?

  •  Cook for your family whenever possible
  • Give your wife/husband a break if things are getting overwhelming for her
  • Share household chores like taking care of kids, cleaning, etc.
  • Video call your siblings and cousins if they live away from you

Empathy For Your Coworkers

Now, with everyone working remotely, the number of challenges faced can also increase. Managing office work, helping family members, and sharing household chores can take a toll on anyone. Be empathetic to your colleagues and help them whichever way possible. Check up on them and offer help whenever possible. 

What can you do?

  •  Offer help on your coworker’s projects if you have time
  • Schedule regular calls to check how they are coping up with the remote working situation
  • Suggest ideas which can be of help to your colleagues
  • Let them know that you are still approachable even though you are away from the office

Empathy For Your Neighbors

A happy neighborhood is built on the camaraderie of the members living nearby. Many of us don’t have the time or sometimes do not bother to say even a hello to our neighbors. This is the right time to start doing that – say a hello (maintain your distance though), ask whether they need any help, or even check on how they are doing. 

What can you do?

  •  Say hello to neighbors to start with
  • Offer them help with shopping while going for your own purchases
  • Offer help by letting them know that you are just a call away
  • Check up on them regularly and even deliver food if someone is unwell

Empathy For Random Strangers

The best part about empathy is that it can make someone’s day or even your day if you practice it. This is the perfect time to practice empathy with even random individuals you meet. Be it a delivery guy who is putting his health at risk to deliver your groceries or a shopkeeper who has kept his shop open for you to get your essential supplies. Being empathetic with random people will make you happy as well. 

What can you do?

  •  Tip your delivery guys and rate them well 
  • Help the elderly when you come across them at supermarkets etc.
  • Check on your vegetable and other vendors how they are doing
  • Smile at everyone who crosses your path (everyone needs it)

Empathy For Your Friends

Your friends (even online ones) can also benefit immensely from your empathetic nature. A random conversation with a Facebook friend can cheer him/her up or a quick phone call to an old school buddy might just make his/her day. Try that and you will also feel so much better once you do that. Everyone needs an empathetic friend during these difficult times.

What can you do?

  •  Call your old school buddies and reminisce old memories for a good laugh
  • Maintain regular communication and let your friends know that you are there for them
  • Say hello to your Facebook friends and check how they are holding up wherever they are
  • Join conversations and be positive with your messages for everyone

Times may be tough but being empathetic is not a tough thing to do. This is the perfect time to make your empathy muscle stronger and you may never know by the time all this is over, you might be a different individual altogether. Empathy can help you also maintain a positive outlook and face the events happening all around you. 

Let’s make our empathy muscle stronger by flexing it every instance possible. We can do this together and I believe we are stronger together as a group.

Love you all. Stay safe.