If there’s one thing to remember during this time of quarantine, it’s this…
DO NOT isolate yourself.
We may be in physical quarantine from others during this time, but isolation is the practice of cutting yourself off from connection. And if there was ever a time that connection was needed, it’s now.
I’ve put together 5 ways that will help you to cultivate relationships during this time, even if you’re home alone.
Stay Connected with Yourself First
This is the first place to start. We cannot adequately connect with others unless we are first connected to our own voice and inner desires. When we’re taking care of ourselves, we’re in the best place to help take care of others.
It’s easier than we think for us to put our own needs and boundaries aside, especially in times of crisis. Many of us feel compelled to nurture and care for others, or to avoid “burdening” others with our feelings, but making sure we’re consciously taking time to stay in tune with our needs, emotions, and boundaries allows us to better be in tune with what is needed most. It’s valid to acknowledge our emotional needs. This is a hard time for those of us who struggle with anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Daily journaling, taking a walk, or engaging in exercise and meditation is a great way to connect with our own needs and feelings. It may feel like now we have too much time for self-care, but conscious care and self check-ins are crucial for us to help separate the intermingling feelings of boredom from our natural feelings of loneliness.
I love to journal daily because it helps me organize overwhelming feelings. When I take time to meditate or journal, I’m better able to chart out what kind of connection is most needed and will be most fulfilling, which in turn, helps me understand what to ask for and from whom.
Proactively Reach Out
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we push ourselves to be active in pursuing our need for connection. It’s important not to be passive and wait for others to reach out. A common pattern of thought we all are prone to falling into is that if others want to talk to us or connect with us, they’ll make the effort to reach out. When we all operate within this paradigm of thought, you can see how easily the desire for connection comes to a stalemate.
The truth is, we have to take the initiative and reach out. We’re all struggling in this time with a variety of responsibilities, lifestyle adjustments, routine interruptions, and complicated emotions. Just because someone isn’t proactively reaching out doesn’t mean they aren’t likewise craving connection with you. We all process on different timelines and deal with our struggles differently.
Make a list of people you feel comfortable and compelled to reach out to. Take time consciously in your day to reach out, perhaps while you have your morning coffee, or after you have dinner. Send a text, give them a call, or plan a time to video chat. The key is to not force anything and to be empathetic and flexible in your expectations.
We’re all dealing with different needs, and boundaries may fluctuate from day to day. If someone isn’t up to connecting one day, keep it light, and don’t take it personally, but don’t be afraid to keep reaching out.
If you are living alone, I am hosting a weekly Intentional Connection Group on Thursdays. This is a safe space for women to connect and uplift each other during this challenging time. To learn more and join us, click here.
We can become more creative when we have less to work with. When reaching out to your friends and family, explore your options. Now, more than ever, we see just how many options we have to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones. Connecting in person may not be possible for everyone at this time, but using Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or even chatting on the phone are great ways to get the human connection we crave. I know several people who are having Zoom dates with matches from dating apps or connecting with friends on group happy hours.
The channel through which we connect with others has changed, but in many ways, these tools allow us to have a sense of comfort and normalcy, and these tools allow us to make the best of a situation that is very much out of our control.
If a friend or loved one is having a birthday, there are plenty of ways to connect and show your care for them. Have a dessert or cake delivered to their home, or make a Happy Birthday video to send a personalized touch. Although we aren’t able to connect in the same ways, I’m grateful to be able to get creative in how I stay in touch with my community. Here are a few of my favorite tools:
- Zoom (for video chats)
- FaceTime (for Apple users)
- Google Hangouts (for video chats)
- Houseparty (video chat social networking)
- Netflix Party (lets you create a Netflix watch party with friends online so you can watch at the same time, even if you’re physically apart)
- Inkin (Fitness app that lets you compete against or workout with family and friends by setting fitness goals. You can check stats and compare with your friends, or work with your friends and family to complete the goals)
Connect with your partner
Use this time to reconnect with your partner. No one stays the same. Get to know them all over again and don’t assume you understand what they are going through. Create space to connect and be creative. You can still have date night.
Create an open dialogue to inquire about your partner’s needs during this time, as well as to communicate your own. Allowing space for creating boundaries is healthy and essential, especially when many of us are spending a lot more time together than under normal circumstances. It can also help temper expectations and prompt couples to still carve out dedicated and conscious time for one another. Not all time is equal, so allowing room for space while still prioritizing time to be fully present with one another is essential.
This can be really challenging for couples, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to honor each other’s needs and to take time to reconnect at this slower pace.
If you’re in a relationship that’s not working, this is not the time to sort through problems and create an environment of stress. It’s time to call a truce and find ways to be there for each other. Make space to have that conversation. Even if it means you’ll still need to be separated in the house you can come up with creative ways to honor space.
If You’re Single…. Try this
Dating isn’t dead, even if we aren’t able to meet new dates in person. Self-isolation is forcing us to get creative in how we connect with new people and it’s definitely changing the dating landscape. We have the opportunity to get to know someone on a completely emotional and intellectual level.
When we’re forced to use conversation to connect, versus having the added factor of physical connection, we get to know someone very differently. Use this time to update your profiles. Update your profile with your favorite self-isolation activities and selfies, or suggest a Zoom date. It’s a great time to see how creative you can be.
You can use your date as an opportunity to dress up in your own home and treat yourself. Cook a special occasion dinner to eat over your Zoom date, or order your favorite food for delivery. You can still share experiences with others, albeit in a very different way. If you’re an online dating newbie, this is the perfect time to jump in!
Online dating is the only way to date right now, so there truly is no time like the present, and it does feel less intimidating when we’re all in the same collective boat.