How to nurture relationships while social distancing - GulfToday

How to nurture relationships while social distancing

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Picture used for illustrative purpose. TNS

Do you miss seeing friends and family? Few of us want to isolate ourselves and skip social activities. However, by using social media and technology, we can feel connected.

Getting even more creative, we can invent new ways to stay close physically. We can figure out what will and will not work.

“My friend and I walk on opposite sides of a trail in the park, about eight feet apart, three days a week,” says a retired high school principal we’ll call Kevin. “One of us walks over to the left and slightly ahead. We’re close enough to talk, but we honour the social distance rules, so we feel okay about this.”

Closeness with other people is a psychological need that’s undeniable. Every day, we can and should plan how we’ll connect with others.

Texting, emailing, and meeting online via chat rooms will all keep us somewhat close.

Other strategies include doing drive-by visits, having curbside chats at a distance, meeting at a park picnic table a few feet apart, and walking on trails six to eight feet apart.


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With creative thinking, we can invent new steps to visit with others and not harm our health.

It’s a proven fact that extroverts feel drained and lethargic when they can’t be around other people.

Introverts do much better, because they don’t share this need to socialise quite as much. But still, if you’re an introvert, or even a loner, you still need a social circle and conversation to thrive.

“I’m highly aggravated because I can’t travel to see my elderly parents,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Wyatt.

“Both my mom and dad miss me and my family so much,” he continues. “Virtual hugs are better than nothing, but it’s tough to keep my parents’ spirits up. They’re used to visiting their local senior citizens centre for lunch. They’re used to real hugs from their grandkids.”

To enhance connection with family, friends, and co-workers, try some of these tips:

Devote a specific time, if possible, to connect.

This creates predictability. For instance, call your cousin every Tuesday afternoon around 2pm. Or, Facetime your brother every Sunday night. Setting a true time frame builds up a healthy anticipation, like a face-to-face physical visit would do.

Share some good news.

It can drain your listener if you say, “Wow, this isolation is the pits. I’ve just lost my job. I’m depressed.” Say instead: “I love hearing your voice. Talking with you helps break the isolation. Hope we can plan an actual get-together soon.” Speaking hope will lift both your own spirit and your listener’s.

Ask for advice.

This empowers your listener, because he or she can offer creative advice to you. Feeling needed is a good thing. For example, ask for job advice this way: “I want to do some freelance work online. Do you know of any companies that are hiring customer support people to work virtually?”

An HR manager we’ll call Justin says three people in his family have lost their jobs. Justin helped one get a freelance job online in website design. He got busy helping the other two sell items for their neighbours online, for which they earn a commission on sales.

“Creatively helping other people will lower your pandemic depression,” Justin declares. “The world is not coming to an end! It’s just the beginning of new possibilities.”

Tribune News Service

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