Speaking as an introvert, I can say that social distancing is challenging for all of us. It’s not quite as hard for people like me as it is for my sister, a definite extrovert who is seriously craving some social time right now. Humans are designed for connection. Social isolation can have negative impact on health, so it’s extra important right now to find ways to connect during social distancing.
I keep thinking back to my maternity leave a few months ago and how this feels oddly similar. (Except that my body isn’t in quite so much pain and we’re getting more sleep this time, thank goodness). We’re all at home together (Nate is working from home right now, too) and there’s no where to go. Although, maternity leave was due to healing stitches, and this time it’s due to social distancing.
Here’s the good news: we live in an era where social connection is easy. In fact, some of us have to do social media breaks in the past to not get swept up in it. But right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic when so many of us are stuck in our homes for the foreseeable future and we desperately want to gather with our girlfriends for happy hour, there are a lot of ways to fill the social void and keep our mental health in check by staying connected.
I’m going to be intentional about scheduling at least 2 social interactions each day. Whether it’s in the form of video, audio, or just words, it’s so important. Here are a few ways that have helped me feel socially connected during this time. I’ll offer them to you, too!
5 Ways To Connect During Social Distancing
1. Schedule a virtual happy hour with your girlfriends.
I’ve done two of these already this week (lol, the problem now is that I might run out of wine.) They are SO much fun! Start by reaching out to a group of 5-10 friends, and then see which of them might have access to some sort video conferencing programs, like Zoom. (My friend Dre is a coach, so she hosted a group of us on her Zoom platform yesterday for a blogger meetup.)
Everyone can bring a beverage of choice like tea, wine, or maybe get fancy with a cocktail. Enjoy seeing faces and hearing voices all while practicing safe social distancing.
2. Go on a (FaceTime) coffee date.
I love the coffee shop life, both for introvert time and for connection with friends. It’s pretty rare for me to go through a week without meeting up with a friend at one of my favorite Austin coffee shops.
Text a close friend who you usually see on a regular basis and ask her if she wants to meet up tomorrow morning for a virtual coffee date; FaceTime is an easy way to do this! Make a big cup of coffee, get all cozy on your couch, and call your friend or family member. Make sure that you connect with someone who is a positive light right now so the coffee date is uplifting. Now isn’t the time to suffer through an hour-long coffee date with someone who drains you!
And in case you’re looking to improve your at-home coffee situation, here’s a detailed guide to how I brew my coffee at home. It’s all a little bit extra, but it really makes me happy. All of my coffee tools can be ordered through Amazon. Click here to read it.
3. Text 5 people and ask for something encouraging.
Pick 5 people in your social circle (maybe 5 friends you know from college, 5 friends from work, or 5 friends you’re used to seeing on a regular basis) and ask them to tell you something positive. Try saying something like “text me something positive – anything!” or “I need some good news right now, what do you have?” or “Desperately in need of a funny meme right now..” and see what shows up! It’s not time consuming, but it will help you feel an instant jolt of happiness through a quick connection. And happiness breeds happiness, so if a friend sends you some good news, you can keep spreading that through your social network.
4. Do an instagram live.
This is a little bit scarier for introverts, but if you LOVE being in front of people and you just want to talk to people, go live on Facebook or instagram and interact with your friends and followers. This is one of the best ways to connect during social distancing if you loving being in a crowd!!
Here’s a tip to make this even more meaningful: rather than going live and talking about how bad these times are, complaining about the lack of toilet paper, or projecting your fears of the future, try to make it a really intentional live session and have a clear PURPOSE. What are you going to teach your audience? Or how will you make their lives better during this 10 minute instagram live?
5. Good ol’ fashioned walk and talk.
Lace up your walking shoes and pick up your phone and call your mom! Nothing fancy about this, but let me tell you this: old fashioned phone calls are going to make a comeback in the next few weeks. Texting and social media are quick fixes, but phone calls are a deeper connection and they really heal our souls.
If you’re anything like me (or the rest of the world…) you’re not very good at picking up the phone and connecting with friends around the country. Well, now’s the time to learn how! We all have SO much more free time in our days now. Bars and restaurants are closed, and we’re supposed to have no more than 10 people in one place. This is the perfect time to call your old college roommate, your BFF from way back in high school, or your grandparents. Connect.
How are you feeling right now in regards to social isolation? And what steps are you taking to make sure that you connect with other humans? It’s hard, but we can make conscious decisions to protect our mental health and show love toward one another. If you have any additional ways to connect during social distancing, share them in the comments with fellow readers! XO.