Michelle Wilson, wellness program manager
Social well-being in the time of COVID
We are social beings. We are hard-wired with an instinct to connect with other people. Some of us are introverts and like having plenty of time to ourselves and some of us are extroverts and love filling our days with social activities, but we all share a common need to connect with others.
The coronavirus has changed so many things about the ways we connect with one another, and health experts are telling us that we will need to maintain physical distancing measures for months, if not longer.
How do we take care of our need for human connection during this time? How do we find ways to be social and feel the warmth and security that comes from our close connections with people we care about when we can’t always be physically near them? We are all finding different answers to these questions and learning as we go. Here are a few things to consider as you focus on your own social well-being during this time.
Start close to home
If you live with other people, this is a good time to pay attention to routines and the ways you relate to each other each day. Are you taking advantage of the increase in time you are spending together to create new ways to deepen your relationships? This is a good time to plan daily family meals together, play games, garden, and have family reading time. What other things can you do? What can you do today to have more quality time with those in your household or others you are able to see in person right now?
One thing that this virus has done for the world is show us even more ways that we can use technology to connect with each other. If you haven’t already tried Zoom, FaceTime, or other online platforms to have video meetings with other people, take a few minutes to download one of these and invite people you care about to an online lunch date. Check out some of the great videos online that feature groups of people singing songs together and feel connected to the larger world out there. Plan your own video songfest or story-telling event. Remember those who may need help using technology to connect with others, including elderly family members or young children, and offer your support for their social well-being by helping them connect online.
Plan a front yard party with your neighbors where everyone brings their own food and sits at least six feet apart to ensure safe physical distancing. Write letters to friends and family members and mail goodie packages to each other. Think about people who have meant a lot to you over the years and create a new photo album of memories. You can also just take the time to look at old photos of people in your life and feel the connections that are always there, even when we can’t be physically near each other. What other creative ideas do you have to connect with others?
Think about others and reach out into your community
A great way to feel more connection with others is to reach out to people who may need our support. Some organizations in your community may need volunteers now. You may know of friends, neighbors, or family members who are especially vulnerable right now to feeling lonely and disconnected. Reach out to them and ask if there is anything you can do for them. One of the best things we can offer each other is the gift of our time, offered in a caring, loving way. Reach out to others and your own social well-being will improve.
Tip: Choose two of the ideas in this blog and commit to doing them in the next week. Do one of them before you go to sleep tonight!