I want to start off this post by saying this is something that has been on my heart, and I have personally been working through it. I am not writing this out of a place of mastering the art of connecting but out of a place wondering and being challenged myself. Now that is out of the way, let's get started.
A couple weeks I got back from a wonderful girls' trip in Hawaii to what felt like a chaotic anxious mess. I had heard about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) before my trip, but it seemed that the pandemic hit a different level a couple weeks ago. One of the phrases that has popped up and continues to go around is this idea of social distancing. When I had first heard that phrase, I honestly didn't realize the weight of it and I saw it as more of a suggestion. However, as I have done more research and reading on this concept I have realized the importance of it and the crucial role it plays in stopping the spread of this virus. So when I started taking the phrase seriously, I started to stay at home a lot more and distanced myself from others.
However, as I started to physically distance myself I realized how easy it was becoming too emotionally and mentally distance myself as well. I have always struggled with connecting with those who aren't physically around me. When I am home I tend to hang out with my husband, rest, and stay to myself. So in a time when we are strongly encouraged to stay in our homes (some are mandated), I have found myself becoming isolated.
Social distancing had now become a reason and excuse for me to isolate.
Here is the thing though, I am a firm believer that we are not meant to live in isolation. Isolation breeds anxiety, depression, and unhealthy behavior. It is in community and through the connection with others that stifles all those things. So I am now in a place of having to learn to be intentional in reaching out and staying connected. If you are in the same place where you are slowly falling into the comfort of isolation or going stir crazy because you feel like you can't create connection then I am going to encourage you to keep reading and join me in learning how to do this better.
1. Create a Group Chat
Ok, I feel like most people have these, but I am going to encourage us to look at creating an intentional chat for this season (which you may have already created). Once we create one then we need to be consistent in reaching out. It may feel obnoxious or a little much (which is why it is important to have the right people) but it will help create conversation which will lead to maintaining community. Distancing doesn't mean we have to disconnect, and this is a great way to stay connected. Being intentional with who we put in the chat will also be crucial because those people will know how to respond, encourage, support, and be there when need be.
2. Create a Marco Polo with Family
The app Marco Polo has been around for a long time now, but there really is so much that you can do with it. I am going to encourage us to download this app (available on Android & IOS) and create a group with your family and/or framily. This is something that I have just started with my own family and it has been really helpful and fun. With the physical distance and barrier between my family, I have really slacked on checking in and honestly just talking to them on a regular basis. With this app it has allowed us to connect in a fun way and we have been sending videos, which is always fun.
3. Make 2 More Phone Calls a Week Than Normal
When I wrote this I think my blood pressure went up, because I am not a talk on the phone kind of person. If I am honest I dread talking on the phone, but I know now more than I ever that has to change. I can't allow the anxiety of talking on the phone stop me from being intentional with connecting. So when I say make 2 more phone calls, that literally means I need to make 2 a week. If you are one of those who loves to call, then props to you and please keep doing that.
4. FaceTime With a Family Member
Again, here is another way to see your families face and be able to stay connected. There is something about seeing someone's face and body language that allows us to feel really connected to them even when miles and states apart. It is times like this that really help us understand the importance of family and staying connected to them.
5. Set an Alarm
Lastly, the glue that makes it all stick and happen is setting an alarm to get these things done. Although we aren't necessarily as busy as we are used to, it doesn't mean our mind isn't staying active and we aren't forgetting things. So sometimes setting an alarm can help trigger the reminder to make that call and reaching out.
I hope these tips help us continue to create an atmosphere of community in this time of being socially distant. I truly believe that socially distancing doesn't mean disconnecting, and these are some ways to hopefully prove that.
Until Next Time