How To Practice Social But Not Emotional Distancing

two women chatting at 6-foot distance

These are disappointing, jarring, and even traumatic times. Many of the events we were looking forward to this spring — such as graduation ceremonies, religious celebrations, conferences, reunions, and performances — have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us are living under stay-at-home-orders that significantly restrict our daily lives. To top that off, many of us are not working outside the home and have more time on our hands.

Even if you don’t have extra time on your hands, the requirement of physically distancing ourselves from others can take an emotional toll.

Thankfully, the human spirit is strong and finds unique and creative ways to overcome challenges. When the pandemic first hit, Italians were singing on their balconies together to lift their spirits. Some generous people have been providing free shopping assistance to seniors or child care for essential workers. There are even medical workers who are donating their time in New York City to help the sick, and countless people across the country are keeping food pantries open.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Even though our activities are severely limited, now is a great time to uplift others’ spirits.

Merely expressing your love and respect for another can be a great start. In some cases, acts of kindness require a bit of creativity or innovative thinking. If it is someone’s birthday, consider singing to them from outside the house or decorating their porch.

If you live in the same household with someone and aren’t physically distancing from them, do something unique like preparing a special meal or helping with a chore.

Connect in Around New Interests & Hobbies

Have you always wanted to try a certain activity but never did?

If you have the time, the pandemic is a great opportunity to try new things or take up a new hobby.  In many cases, you can connect with others around this new activity.  Consider joining a virtual meditation group, book club, or knitting circle. Some such groups are forming spontaneously and others as associated with libraries, churches, nonprofit organizations, or yoga studios. Deepak Chopra and Oprah have launched a free 21-day meditation, and many 12-step groups have virtual meetings for a variety of addictions.

Consider what materials you already have at home to avoid making new purchases and conserve resources. If you cannot find a group for your activity of choice, consider starting one with friends, family members, or neighbors.

Collaborate Online

If you want to help or connect with others, explore how you can do this while maintaining a distance.

Groups have been forming online to read stories to children, play games, and collaborate musically. If you have friends who are overwhelmed by lack of child care, find fun ways to help from afar like playing hide-and-seek on video chat with a younger child or tutoring an older child.

Write Letters & Send Care Packages

Although many are embracing virtual ways of connecting, don’t forget about the old fashioned art of letter writing.

Consider making a non-perishable food item or sending something like a DIY personal care product or craft project. If possible, avoid going to the post office or shipping centers by using stamps you already have at home, using a drop-off site, or scheduling a pickup.

How are you staying connected while social distancing? Share your ideas with the Earth911 community!

Feature image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

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