We hear so much bad news these days. Many of us are having to live in lockdown, and that can feel quite depressing. We might feel helpless and intimidated in face of this current health & economic crisis. But there are many things we can do to stay strong even in times of Corona crisis. And, perhaps even more importantly, there are many ways to NOW prepare for the crises to come and build a resilient future.

So, here’s a colourful bunch of 20 ideas of how to stay strong & become resilient in times of crisis.

10 Ways to Stay Strong during this Pandemic

1. Be present

This time will never come back to you again. It’s a unique time, maybe a time to rest and reflect more than at other times. So, embrace it! Enjoy the sunshine, cherish the rain, from your window if necessary. Life can be so beautiful if we permit it.

Beautiful details that make life joyful. Photo by Naomi Bosch

2. Be healthy

We might not get a vaccine against Covid-19 that quickly. And we are not immune against viruses. But we can do everything possible to us to strenghten our immune system and stay healthy. Exercise, spend time in nature, eat healthy… Plants specifically contain loads and loads of substances that strenghten our immunity and protect our cells from negative influnces. Turmeric, garlic, ginger, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, wild herbs…

Many of these “superfoods” grow right at our doorstep!

 

3. Pray

Call it prayer, meditation, talking to God – whatever. Call for help if you need to, pray for others, pray for yourself. Be thankful for what you have.

On April 8, more than a million people from all kinds of denominations or none joined virtually in Germany to pray together. I can hardly believe that the following figure is a coincidence, where you can see the number of people who recovered from COVID-19. On April 8, about 4 times as many people recovered than on other days. I’m not saying that you should just pray enough to get healed (or get whatever else you want). But I certainly believe there’s a Divine Power (God) who’s answering prayers.

Number of recovered from COVID-19 in Germany per day, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute.

4. Help

If you know of a person who’s old or alone and cannot go shopping at the moment, offer to go for them. Offer an attentive ear, a helping hand, an understanding voice to someone who needs it at the moment. The Red Cross is also an excellent place to offer your volunteer services.

Many poorer countries around the world might not be as well equipped with medical supplies, food, hygiene etc. as we are. You can donate to various charities or, if you know how to sew, you can help sew masks and feminine hygiene articles for those living in less affluent countries.

5. Order

Many bars, cafés, restaurants, canteens, pastry shops etc. were forced to close down during this pandemic. All across the world, small businesses are struggling financially at the moment. As an alternative to direct selling, many businesses and caterers now offer deliveries. Make use of this possibility if you are able to – it not only saves you the time of baking/cooking, but helps small business survive in these very difficult times.

For example, my family chose to order & collect pastries from our local pastry shop on Easter, instead of baking our own Easter bread, cake etc.

And I know there are many coffee shops now delivering coffee beans. There are many possibilities here 🙂 A good place to look for such opportunies are social media like facebook and instagram.

Pinca, the traditional Croatian Easter bread which we bought from a local pastry shop. Photo by Naomi Bosch

6. Buy local

In some places, farmer’s markets had/have to close down. The farmers usually selling their produce there might struggle to find buyers now.

Our local farmer’s market luckily closed down for a week only. But we still wanted to support them during this time, so we drove to the nearby farm and did the week’s shopping there. Maybe you have the possibility to do that, too. And fresh produce is simply the best and healthiest there is! 🙂

Here are some cool resources connecting farmers and consumers during this crisis (for the UK).

Fresh produce from my local farmer’s market. Photo by Naomi Bosch

7. Harvest

Another group of farmers affected by the current Corona pandemic are those who rely on foreign workforce that is unable to travel at the moment due to borders closing. For example, this is the case on most German strawberry and asparagus farms. These farmers are desperately searching for helping hands now. Germany has established an online portal connecting farmers with helpers. Maybe that’s possible in your country, too?

8. Run

If you are a runner, you probably very aware of the fact that many sporting events had to be cancelled this year. That’s a heavy financial setback for the organisers, as well as the charities supported by many of these events.

Luckily, there’s an alternative now: virtual runs! (this website is in German, but maybe you’ll find something similar in your language, too)

9. Reconsider

In these unusual times, we had to abandon many of our daily habits, while new habits have made their way into our daily lives. Items that we took for granted, shops that were always open and available to us are not accessible anymore. Take time to reflect now: which habits do you want to keep after this is all over, and which ones do you want to let go? What do you really need, and what could you do without?

10. Understand

Our relationship with the environment shapes what kind of world we live in. Treat it with respect, and it will live and grow in abundance. Disrespect the harmony of nature, and it will spell imbalance into our own lives.

In fact, the destruction of natural habitats is tightly linked to the emergence of pandemics such as the one we are facing now.

“As more and more forest is cleared around the world, scientists fear that the next deadly pandemic could emerge from what lives within them” (November 22, 2019 – Katarina Zimmer) 🌿

 

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I spend many hours every week researching and writing about farming, climate change & biodiversity, both for my blog and for my bachelor thesis.🌻 On the one side, it makes me happy because nature is not only the basis of our existence, it has so much to teach us! But on the other hand, it is devastating to learn about it. 😞 If the corona pandemic is a threat to humanity, climate change, biodiversity loss & soil degradation are even more so. It’s just that its consequences aren’t as apparent as those of our current crisis. But what will we eat when all of our fertile top soil is wiped out? 🌱 Not to mention that the destruction of natural habitats is linked to the emergence of pandemics such as the one we are facing now. 🌳 “As more and more forest is cleared around the world, scientists fear that the next deadly pandemic could emerge from what lives within them” (November 22, 2019 – Katarina Zimmer) 🌿 The worst that could happen to us after this is all over would be to carry on with “business as usual”. I believe it’s time to pray, repent and act. 🙏

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10 Ways to prepare a Resilient Future

Now is also the time to prepare for future crises, because crises will come. That’s for sure, even more so with climate change & biodiversity loss advancing. Wee need to build resilient communities, resilient ecostystems and resilient economies. And we need to become resilient individuals (but more about this theme in another blogpost coming soon).

How can we envision such a future? How can we live sustainably on Earth? How can we be respectful with planet & people? Here are 10 things we can start doing now to counter the crises to come.

1. Cultivate a garden

If you’ve been following my blog for the past few weeks, you might have noticed the design pattern centred around local food. So, if you have land you can call your own, grow as much food of your food as you can! Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still grow a good bit of vegetables in your apartment or on your balcony – salad and tomatoes being the simple classic.

Here’s my guide on eco-friendly gardening to get you started!

2. Green city

Go beyond your garden and your four walls. Grow food on every corner of the city – many towns have shown the way to us already. The next crisis could well be a natural disaster affecting our food supply.

Find some inspiration on urban gardening here.

3. Join a CSA

Probably the best way to supply yourself with fresh, local & organic produce, and to create a fair & local economy is to join a Community Supported Agriculture project. We can’t all be farmers, but we can create a kind of just, down-to-earth system in which producers, consumers and nature can equally thrive.

4. Find a community

With many living in lockdown, it’s becoming obvious how much we actually rely on other people for a healthy and happy living. And we are meant to be interdependent beings! We need each other to sustain a healthy, functioning society. But also on an individual level, we are meant to live in relationship with others.

I’m going to experience this on a very real level once I cross the border to get back to Germany soon – I’ll have to live in self isolation, alone, for two weeks… Luckily, I have a family in my town! Not a biological family, since my parents live here in Croatia. But I have friends from my church whom I can absolutely rely on, even during times of a pandemic. Those are people who live in my neighbourhood and whom I can truly call my family! People whom I can serve with my talents and whom I can trust.

Now is the time to embed yourself in a close-knit community. A community of friendship, a community of giving and receiving.

5. Invest

Billions of people around the world are born into heavily indebted countries. They are raised in poor families. And they strongly rely on a healthy environment for their income. Be it small scale farmers, fisher- men and women, indigenous peoples…

We can’t carry all their loads, but we can invest in a resilient, healthy future for them. There are many (local) organisations working in such communities, valuing people and their environment highly, helping them build a future of dignity.

Some organisations/companies I particularly love are:

  • A Rocha (a Christian environmental organization active in over 20 countries in the world, helping both people & nature thrive)
  • Plant With Purpose (promoting reforestation & sustainable agriculture in the most vulnerable communities)
  • Original Beans (a chocolate manufacturer planting a tree for every chocolate bar sold)

Resilient, sustainable communities will be able to better counter natural disasters & crises of the future!

6. Install a bidet

With toilet paper becoming a sought-after, rare commodity in supermarkets, we’re increasingly becoming aware of our over-reliance on toilet paper. What sense does it make to cut down trees for our convenience, anyways? Bidets offer a wonderful, environmentally friendly solution – no need for toilet paper anymore!

7. Store

Governments recommend storing some imperishable groceries in your house for cases of emergency. So, it makes sense, doesn’t it, to have at least a reserve of cereals, flour, oil and canned goods in your house. You can use up and renew these reserves continually, so they don’t spoil.

8. Buy fair

Clothes shops around the world are having to close down. What goes rather unnoticed is that garment workers in Asia are suddenly left pennyless and without income. While we cannot save the thousands and thousands of workers from unemployment now, we can rethink how we buy clothes.

Every year the world as a whole consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing – clothes that are quickly disposed of. It’s a terribly wasteful & unsustainable system in which we buy 2X more clothes than we did just 15 years ago. And this system builds on exploitation of labourers in poorer countries.

We can stop this vicious cycle by buying less, buying second hand or buying fair fashion. Because workers who are hardly paid enough to survive on will not be able to draw on savings of any kind once a crisis hits.

Second hand clothes are an excellent way to save resources, money and waste. Photo by Naomi Bosch

9. Care & diversify

I really admire Robert Bosch, the founder of the Bosch company – and not so because we share the same surname 😉 Robert Bosch was a true visionary and enterpreneur with sound ethical standards and a deep care for his workers that surpassed his desire for profit. He wisely understood that only by seeking the good of all will he and his company be able to thrive.

The common good includes people & the planet. We can’t live at the expense of others or nature in the long run.

Another thing we can learn from Robert Bosch was to ‘diversify your income’. The Bosch company always tried to offer a wide range of services & products in order to have a steady income even while times and trends change (and in order to always be able to pay its workers). Just like nature – it is full of diversity and colour, each creature with a purpose of its own. We need a diversified economy & ecology that will be resilient in times of crises – on an individual level, as well as on a corporate, global level.

10. Protect

With travelling becoming almost impossible at the moment, we are given the unique opportunity to reconsider which travels really are essential, and which ones are not. Which items we really need to buy and possess, and which ones are unnecessary.

The skies are clearing in many parts of the world due to industries & transport shutting down. Could we do with less of all this in the future? Could we build a local economy and a local community that doesn’t necessitate as much travel & transport & emissions?

Climate change, soil degradation and biodiversity loss will be a much bigger threat (and in some countries already is) than the COVID-19 pandemic. It will severely disrupt all life on Earth. It will leave many people homeless, without clean water, without enough food or without income.

If we don’t act now.

I hope we learn from this crisis. Because the worst that could happen to us after this is all over would be to carry on with “business as usual”


This list is of course incomplete. If you have any other ideas or resources you’d like to share with us, please do so in the comments!

How have you been staying strong through this crisis? And how will you prepare for a more resilient future?

I believe we all need some inspiration right now. Ultimately, it takes many minds & visions to build a resilient, sustainable & bright future for all.

 

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Strange things have been happening these past days (the Corona outbreak around the world, the earthquake in Zagreb), all of which just shows us how little control we have over life. 🌿 . While things will eventually return to normality again, nature reminds us that, from a non-human perspective, ‘normality’ never ceased to be. 🌊 . Bees and birds and butterflies are awakening, and the majesty of the sea reminds me that the One who created everything is still in control. He can turn the bleak and cold within and around us into life to the fullest again. Just like winter giving way to spring, and with it, to new life again. 🌿 . . “God of stilled waters,
God of calmed seas,
on a night of a difficult crossing
as your friends began to lose faith,
you awoke and hushed
the turbulent waves
with the power of unearthly peace.
May we respect the sheer force
of what we cannot control
and believe in the strength
that sleeps in this storm.” (Anonymous) 🌊 . Wishing you all this ‘unearthly peace’ in your life today. 🌿

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