Physical distancing and shelter in place orders have made it hard for us to stay connected to family and friends. There can be an increase in feelings of isolation, sadness and maybe even worry. This is common and many of us are struggling with this. We all have routines that we are used to and we miss our people. The term “social distancing” is even hard to hear since, now more than ever, we want to be connected to others and feel part of a community
It is important to continue to stay linked with others. Being “social” is a human need that we all have. It’s important for our mental health to continue to reach out. We can also be of service to others when we do – not only helping ourselves but helping others.
Use social media
Engage. Challenge yourself to actually “comment” on people’s posts. We are used to just scrolling through media, not taking the time to read or even like posts. If we stop and engage with our “friends” it can help us feel more connected. If commenting feels too vulnerable for you, maybe start by liking, loving, or using emojis.
Find Groups. Indeed there is a group for everything. This could be a great time to find people who have your shared interest. From running to cooking to knitting – there is something for everyone.
If you are a little old school like me and remember being stuck on a landline to chat with your friends, this is the time to bring it back. Do not wait for someone to call you. Go ahead and give someone a ring. I like to start my calls by asking if this is a good time – remember, many folks are now working from home and might have the responsibility of helping their children with e-learning, among other things. Video calls are the next best thing. Group chats are also a lot of fun!
The excitement of getting something other than a bill in the mail is real. Send out a greeting or thank you note. Don’t have stamps? No problem! Send out an email expressing your gratitude or support.
You can move your body and practice social distancing. Get outside and go for a walk. You might run into a neighbor or friend that you can wave hi to from afar (keeping 6 ft of distance). I challenge you to greet everyone you see (“good morning”, “good afternoon”). Feels like too much? Just offer everyone a SMILE. Some might not return your greeting; for others you might make their day.
It’s OK to feel whatever you are feeling during this time. It’s new and strange. We only have control over our thoughts, feelings, and actions. I hope that some of these tips spoke to you. If you continue to struggle, it is also OK to reach out for help. I offer teletherapy sessions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org