A Conversation on the Pandemic: Part 3

PC: Hian Oliveira

We have been asked to practice social distancing to protect not only ourselves but also our families, friends, and community (-ies). However, just because you have to keep your distance from other human beings does not meet that you cannot practice and keep social connectedness. Practice physical distancing, not social distancing. Reframe that thinking.

  • Have a picnic outside. Bring your own food!
  • Schedule time to catch over over the phone, video chat, text, whatever work for you.
  • Look into apps like Marco Polo (“video walkie talkie”) that allow you to have video chats with others. If you are wanting to feel connected, but are struggling to have the energy to engage in a full on phone conversation, apps like this will allow you to choose when to send a video, when to watch someone’s update, how long you want your update to be, etc.
  • Plan to watch a movie or a show at the same time at your own respective homes and chat about it.
  • Share how you are doing through artwork, memes, articles, etc.
  • Have a small bookclub within your group.
  • Plan to check in with each other if you don’t hear from one another for a while.
  • If you can afford to, send care-baskets, cards, books, new snacks, activity ideas/items, etc.
  • Talk about difficulties and challenges, but also share things that are bringing you joy, your small and big acomplishments, and things you are excited about.
  • Tell each other how much you mean to one another. Remind each other that you are loved.
  • Join an online group or community, be it a therapy group, book club, or one that revolves around an activity or a topic.

But what about the lack of physical intimacy if you are living alone or are in a living situation where physical affection is not possible or safe for any reason?

  • Check in with yourself for any difficult emotion you are feeling, notice where it shows up in your body, and just place a hand there as you breathe gently. You don’t have to try to change anything.
  • Give yourself a massage.
  • Give yourself a hug; squeeze yourself tightly and hold yourself.
  • Cuddle your pet(s); express how much you love them. If you don’t have a pet but are able to, adopt a pet or two. The companionship you derive from a pet can go a long way towards alleviating some of the loneliness you may be feeling.
  • Lie down and take deep, belly breaths. Place your hands on your stomach and notice it rising and falling.
  • Hold a pillow or a stuffed animal when you go to bed.

What ideas do you have for coping with physical distancing and/or the lack of physical closeness? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t, and what did you learn in the process?

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