The Importance of Maintaining Connection Right Now
“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to…”
Many people around us have been using this time to consider the kind of world they hope to live in. The values they wish to see and the aspects they hope to leave behind. Life as we know it has been stripped back to basics, and we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to only layer back on the parts of the world we collectively hope to see. But while all of this is going on, there is one part we don’t want to let go of - and it’s more important now than ever.
Maintaining a connection with each other is one of the most vital things we can be doing in these times to nurture our minds, bodies, and spirits. As we retreat indoors, spend less time at work or getting a morning coffee, and the doors close to our favorite hangouts, we lose the opportunity to connect with our world. For those living alone or without loved ones around, it can be an incredibly lonely time. For those with partners and families cooped up in a small space, it can be an incredibly arduous time. For most, this period of isolation can trigger our inner child’s fears of abandonment and self-worth.
It’s difficult to comprehend why our brain works in this way. We know that social distancing is crucial for keeping coronavirus at bay, but we’re still our here playing tricks on ourselves. Too long spent alone with our monkey mind can be a powerful thing - but we don’t have to retreat there in solitude.
What we do need to do is find new ways of maintaining connection. Teach your grandparents how to use FaceTime and wave to your neighbors more. Smile at the strangers you pass in the shops. Let someone merge in front of you on the roads. Right now, it really is the little things that matter the most.
While one household may be filled with excitement and life, another may be empty or maybe filled with tension and violence.
We know that those most at risk with mental health issues are not reaching out like they once were. Experts have said that while them staying inside and not getting in touch may make it seem like they’re okay if they are suffering from depression and anxiety, it could mean quite the opposite. They may be feeling more alone and vulnerable than ever before.
If this is you, don’t be afraid to reach out. Great steps have been taken to ensure you get the professional help you need. Telehealth consults and zoom opportunities are available in place of face-to-face meetings, and around the world, funding is being prioritized for these supports.
If this is someone you know, remind them that you’re there for them - even if you can’t physically be. A good morning message or a phone call in the evening. You could offer to deliver some groceries if they’re unable to get out, or depending on your local recommendations, invite them for a gentle walk in nature. You know your loved ones best, ask them what it is they need. And if professional support it is, don’t be afraid to help them get it.