Creating Stronger Connections at a Time of Social Distancing
April 13, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Approximately a fortnight into an island-wide lockdown, those of us who thought we’d handle it well are beginning to crack and those of us who panicked from the get-go have been in a snack food, post-Netflix binge limbo for longer than we’d care to admit.
You may be relieved to hear that you’re not alone in your sentiments, whatever they may be. Introverts and extroverts alike need some kind of social interaction—it’s one of the pillars that define us as humans. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to overcome loneliness during this time of social distancing.
First, simply to make an effort. Every day, we take for granted that a lot of relationships are based on the convenience to strike up small talk with family, a co-worker or classmates. That’s not to say that those relationships are shallow, but that we aren’t accustomed to making a great deal of effort to form them. Reach out to your friends and check in on relatives. Effort > Proximity.
Maintain regular contact. This should be pretty straightforward. Be generous with your time. We are blessed to live in a technologically superior era where it has never been easier to commit to regular contact, be it a video call, phone call, messenger conversation or a simple, “just checking in, hope you’re okay,” message.
Define your own meaning of “quality time.” Get creative! There are many things you can do with your loved ones over a video call, like cooking and watching movies. Sacrificing the in-person aspect of your interactions doesn’t mitigate the value of your connections.
If you have the added responsibility of taking care of children at this time, create a routine, a sense of familiarity and stability. It’s important for children to appreciate their individual needs. That doesn’t mean creating more work for yourself, but realizing through collective vulnerability that they are individuals with different needs. So even if you are working with a routine, alternate the activities and give them options as they would normally be given.
Talk about how you feel and support one another. It’s safe to say that everyone is probably feeling some type of anxiety over the instability of this time but by talking about this, you may be able to alleviate someone else’s. Whether you need to open up to someone, or someone is opening up to you, stress can always be alleviated by friendly distractions.
Self-care. We’re spending far more time with ourselves than perhaps we are used to so, instead of wallowing in loneliness when we aren’t able to reach out, shower yourself in the same love that you normally give others. If you’re also an emotional support system for someone, you may feel a weight on your shoulders. Taking time for yourself to process those feelings and decompress ought to be essential to your quarantine routine.
Make plans for “in-person-time.” Although things may seem uncertain right now, we can’t allow ourselves to give up hope and stop ourselves from looking forward to better days. Just because we can’t make plans to meet up right now doesn’t mean we have to stop making plans for when we are able to. It may feel like we’re living in ground-hog day, but we must allow ourselves to look forward to the day we go back to some semblance of normality.
At the end of the day, what is normal? Even in this new normal of social distancing, we can continue building strong and meaningful connections.
About the Author
Katrina Marshall is a JRP Facilitator and an ESL, Business English, Cabin Crew English and Aviation English instructor in Enderun Colleges since 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts at Maryknoll College and Business Management at De La Salle University with a Master’s degree in Marketing at Bournemouth University in Cambridge, UK. Ms. Marshall specializes in Voice Communication, Visual Poise, Image Makeover, Power Dressing, Etiquette/Social Graces and Eye Contact.