Social Distancing. It’s a phrase that none of us would have understood two months ago but is now our new normal for the foreseeable future. It’s necessary, it’s important, and we are all doing our best to flatten that curve. We are staying home, missing school and sporting events, avoiding gatherings, having groceries delivered, and spending a whole. lot. of. time. with. our. kids.
I don’t know about you, but the first week was pretty glorious to me. It was really nice to have no plans, no expectations to meet, and a whole lot of free time to rest and catch up on projects around the house. But as the second and third and fourth weeks dragged on, I started to feel like my social distancing was turning into isolation. I started to feel myself lose it a little bit. I bet you did too. Want to know why?
Because we weren’t made for isolation.
Human beings are social beings. We were made for community. We were made to do life together, to help each other, to encourage each other, to work together, and to enjoy one another. The phrase “Better Together” isn’t just a cheesy term, it’s true. It’s where we thrive. But this is really hard to do when we are asked to stay home indefinitely. One week of staying home is a good chance for rest and rejuvenation. Multiple weeks (and more to come) of staying home without outside interactions can lead to feelings of isolation. Feelings of loneliness, insecurity, fear, and anxiety. Feelings of despair. These feelings are not healthy and not ones that we want to get comfortable experiencing.
So what do we do? How do we distance ourselves during this worldwide pandemic, protecting those around us (especially the most vulnerable), while not giving way to isolation and feelings of despair? Here are a few suggestions:
Technology has its downfalls, but in a time like this, isn’t it incredible to have such a handy resource? Facetime and apps like Marco Polo are a great outlet to have during the day when you just a need a break. You may not be able to skip off to lunch with a friend or joke around with your co-workers, but you can send a quick video recounting the potty-training victory you experienced with your toddler or the total failure that art time turned into. It may not be instantaneous conversation, but it will add some interaction and comic relief to your day.
Not only is Vitamin D good for your body and soul, seeing other human beings will brighten your day! You might not go to a play date, but you can take a walk around your neighborhood and pass several neighbors (at least 6 feet away). When you pass those neighbors, you can smile and wave, creating a social connection in your day. You may not know those neighbors, but just the simple act of passing other human beings that do not live in your house will add a little more depth to your day.
Make a Habit of Drive-By Socialization
We’ve all seen the viral videos of teacher parades and birthday drive-by celebrations. These posts have been heartwarming to the core and reveal just how much a smile and a wave can do for our well-being. So why not make this a normal part of your week? Pick a day each week to drive by the houses of your friends or the houses of your children’s friends. All it takes is a quick text saying, “Look outside!” Now you’re not only boosting your own spirits, but also the spirits of others!
Have a Virtual Girl’s Night
Some of you may be completely sick of Zoom by now. Between meetings for work and keeping up with your kids’ school assignments, you don’t even want to read that word. BUT, it’s a way to see the people you love! It’s not as good as an old fashioned girl’s night, but it’s a great way to socialize, catch up with friends, and unload after a long day. You could get creative with this: start reading a book together and have a book club, have a virtual game night, go through a stack of conversation cards together, or just simply chat about the day. Either way, form a group and get to chatting!
This is an important time to maintain connections. Be creative! How are you distancing but not isolating?