“Express your willingness to help.” With Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Vanessa Gordon

Express your willingness to help. It is not only about posting your social media feed that you are willing to help others, you also have to directly reach out to people. If you are not sure how to help, ask those close to you and or seek out local charities and initiatives and join in. […]

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Express your willingness to help. It is not only about posting your social media feed that you are willing to help others, you also have to directly reach out to people. If you are not sure how to help, ask those close to you and or seek out local charities and initiatives and join in.

As a part of my series about the the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa Gordon.

Vanessa Gordon is the Founder and Publisher of East End Taste Magazine. In addition to regularly writing for East End Taste, her writing has also appeared in Modern Luxury, the Independent Newspaper, Sag Harbor Express, Psychology Today, and many others. She also has a bi-monthly radio segment with Long Island Radio Broadcasting’s 102.5 WBAZ.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I recently transitioned my digital publication East End Taste to East End Taste Magazine as we are actively preparing to create print issues in the foreseeable future. Up until recently, my team and I were in the midst of planning for our annual summer event in the Hamptons with a new name and brand new concept, and some activations. For now, that planning is on hold and we are focusing on efforts related to stopping the spread of the pandemic and helping East End (of Long Island) businesses.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Yes: The Tipping Point and Blink, both by Malcom Gladwell. I read both of these books for the first time over fifteen years ago. Blink emphasizes the power of “thinking without thinking” or how we make oftentimes trying decisions in an instant. The Tipping Point resonates well with what is happening in the world now. It points to three “agents of change” within major sociological shifts in everyday life. They were recommended by my then psychology teacher in high school who had a positive and significant impact on my education.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

I am personally benefiting greatly from spending quality, uninterrupted family time with my two children. Like everyday before, we eagerly look forward to my husband (their dad) coming home from work. He works as a physician and is working longer hours at one of the testing centers. The time we have together has been very productive and positive, and we are reassessing our expenditures and future plans. There will be a lot to look forward to once this pandemic passes.

I have witnessed several self-starting projects and initiatives come out of this crisis. One in particular is supportrestaurants.org, a new initiative to help restaurants across the country to provide them with cash now. The program is called Dining Bonds, and more restaurants are encouraged to sign up.

People’s willingness to cooperate. Where I am in the Hamptons, a great majority are staying home and encouraging others to do so. New groups and forums have been created for East Enders to stay in touch and help one another.

Our libraries have formulated incredible online learning resources and tools for our children. They even have virtual story hours that my two children love tuning in to. Local museums have also jumped on board with this initiative.

One local venture I was really happy to see this morning was East End Cares and Clamshell Foundation coming together to support the local food pantries. They are encouraging everyone to spread the word and donate $5. More information can be found at clamshellfoundation.org.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

First is prioritizing the home and taking care of our immediate family. We cannot effectively help others until we have helped ourselves. (Remember to place your mask on first before assisting others!)

Make phone calls throughout the day. I call my 86 year old grandma in Florida almost everyday, as well as my parents. I find myself on the phone more often and for longer periods of time. FaceTime is also a regular occasion. I also reach out to at least five people per day that I may have not spoken with in some time. Their words of kindness also mean a great deal to me.

I have sent small care packages to my loved ones each week. These messages and thoughts of comfort go a long way. I have been sending wellness packages (scrubs, lotions, oils, etc.)

Express your willingness to help. It is not only about posting your social media feed that you are willing to help others, you also have to directly reach out to people. If you are not sure how to help, ask those close to you and or seek out local charities and initiatives and join in.

Don’t give up in your support. We all could use a friend now more than ever. There are many of us that feel very alone. You never know what impact you may have on someone when reaching out a hand to them.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

For any individual feeling stress and anxiety, I would recommend acknowledging what creates their sense of comfort and feeling of happiness. It may be speaking with loved ones over the phone or via video chat, doing a virtual exercise class, finding a quiet place to read and sip a cup of tea, or perhaps looking at picture albums and photographs. Creating a daily routine is also a great habit to follow, especially for when staying at home for these long periods of time.

My daily routine includes 5–10 minutes of meditation before my two children wake up, preparing breakfast, at least 30 minutes on my exercise bike, and so on. I always like to find time to make my daily cups of tea, and read exerpts from books around my home. I also love listening to my records from the 60’s and 70’s.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

I have heard countless times people say no one could have predicted things quite like this. I stopped predicting my own future several years ago. We never know what life will bring us but as long as we smile everyday and make it worthwhile, everything will fall into the right place.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Support and understanding for those around us, especially during these times. We also have to be open and flexible. When you reach out someone for assistance, offer ways you could be of help to them as well. That reciprocative circle will then expand rapidly. I hope that everyone around me knows I am always a phone call away.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

@EastEndTaste on all major social platforms including Instagram and Twitter and at eastendtastemagazine.com.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you!

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