If you have an essential worker in your life, you know how they care for others before themselves. They keep us safe and healthy, and prevent the economy from coming to a complete halt — often at considerable risk to themselves and their families.
That’s why support for essential workers is an important part of life during the pandemic. Here are just a few ways you can say thank you.
1. Stay In Touch
Sometimes just knowing there’s someone out there who has your back and cares enough to reach out is reassuring and eases tension. This is true whether we’re in the midst of an outbreak or relaxing restrictions. Essential workers still need to know they are seen.
Put a thank you sign in your yard, window, on your door, or the side of your house. If you really want to have an impact, get your neighbors to post thank you signs, too. Signs can be small and simple or big and flashy. Either way, signage can really lift someone’s spirits as they drive by or arrive home.
Do you live in a cul-de-sac or somewhere where it might be harder to spot the sign? Consider putting it on a prominent corner within your city if the HOA doesn’t mind. Lowe’s has a fun inspiration and how-to page for DIY signage.
Sometimes taking a call adds to someone’s stress, particularly if they are trying to rest or get some quiet time. Instead, a quick text to offer thanks or recognize their hard work can make their day. Remember not to expect a response. You might even say in your text that no response is needed. Just let them know you’re there, and you support them.
Send a Letter
You can send an email if that’s more your style but nothing says, “special” like a hand-written note or a postcard. If you live nearby, leave it on their door, windshield or in their mailbox. You can also add a stamp and mail your thank you. It doesn’t have to be wordy or more than a few sentences. The act of noticing them and sending proof of that is enough.
2. Carry Their Load
When the stress of work piles up, chores and other everyday activities can seem overwhelming. Essential workers need mental health time to unwind and decompress. Try taking on some of these chores for your local essential worker.
Yard and Housework
Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and maybe even pulling weeds can be weekly chores that you take on. If they are accessible, you can also take the trash and recycling barrels to the street on pick-up days if you know the schedule. If you live with an essential worker, do more housework to give them a little more ease in their life.
Pay Attention to the Details
When you want to support an essential worker that you’re living with, start by paying attention to their needs and helping them through their day. Stress can have a funny impact on things like memory; without pointing out their recent faults, just pick up the slack. Put their keys by the door where you know they’ll be looking for them. Replace personal items like deodorant and soap when you see them getting low. And stock some of their favorite healthy foods, so they don’t have to reach for junk food when they’re too tired to cook.
3. Recognition Gifts
Who doesn’t like to be recognized with gifts? Send useful gifts for workers that they can appreciate right away, not when this thing blows over.
Check out these small gift ideas that can keep your essential worker stay healthy, safe, and well aware of just how appreciated they really are.
Gift Thoughtful Essentials
Essential workers need the essentials, just like everyone else. Put together a gift basket of items they can use to pamper themselves, as well as day-to-day essentials such as hand sanitizer, heavy-duty lotion for over-washed hands, and even a fun new mask to add to their rotation.
Gift cards and deliveries
Send an afternoon latte to your essential worker to let them know you understand the weight of the afternoon energy slump. Order food for them if you know they left the house without food or will arrive home late and need a meal. Unsure of what they like or what time to send something? Send a gift card for their favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or even their delivery app of choice.
Help Them by Helping Yourself
The gift everyone can give to our essential workers is that trifecta of preventive practices: stay home, wear a mask when you do go out, and practice social distancing the right way. Essential workers are placing themselves in harm's way by working. Whether in high-traffic areas or not, minimize their risk by doing your part to keep yourself and others safe.