Toward the end of the worldwide shutdown — just as things were starting to crawl to a new normal of resuming living — I felt absolutely disconnected from everything and everyone.

We were all living in our own little bubbles.

In the past, I might have spiraled into despair and loneliness.

But my research and mastery in resilience over the past year has shown me another way.

We must reach out and we must reach up — and the two practices are not the same.

So, I reached out.

We spent a whole week preparing for and then baking dozens of cookies. I ordered fancy boxes. We used cupcake liners to nest the cookies and made little notes to tuck inside the boxes as well. We went with traditional cookies meant to bring comfort — our favorites like chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin.

Then, as a family, we drove around and personally delivered the cookies to the people we had lost contact with and who we knew were the most shut-in and compromised.

The smiles on their faces as we handed them a full box of cookies was priceless and memorable.

Reaching out to them felt so good.

That project was fun for our whole family and something we will keep doing from time to time.

Reaching out — for help or to help others — is a powerful resilience tool and one that is necessary to get through hard things.

Right now, as COVID-19 cases rise all over the world we are facing a challenging winter here in the United States. We are the leading nation in cases and deaths. And we are about to see our third peak hit.

We need each other more than ever.

Reaching out to help others feels good.

Reaching out to get help for yourself feels amazing, too. If you are trying to hold it all together on your own, please consider reaching out for help. Chronic stress doesn’t feel good and the minute you start to reach out for help it will release away from your shoulders.

But you also need to Reach UP — which is purely for YOU and YOUR well-being.

Reaching UP is all about surrounding yourself with people and goodness that is all about helping you thrive and flourish. Stop trying to do it all alone. You should reach up to someone who has the bandwidth to hold space for you and see your struggle with empathy and compassion.

Today, for this final day of this week’s challenge, Reach UP or Reach OUT. Ask for help. Offer help. Or reach UP to someone who can help you move the needle in your life, finally. If you reach out for help, reach out to someone who can truly help you. If you reach out and offer help, be sure you are in the right space to truly help. Or, if you decide to reach up, ask yourself this: How can this person help me thrive through this really hard thing I’m going through?

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