Social distancing (staying away from others) is absolutely VITAL to reduce the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). I myself am practicing this in my office – I bow to people I encounter rather than shake hands.
But it’s also VITAL to remember that we, as human beings, are social animals. Social distancing, quarantine and isolation go against the very nature of our being. And especially in times of crisis – time and time again we come together, across political/socioeconomic/racial divides, and unite for the greater good.
So what are we to do?
I’ve summarized some great tips from an article in Scientific American Magazine on how to connect without contact. (By Kasley Killam, 3/12/20.
Face-to-face from afar: The next best thing to in-person interaction is video chat. Play around with doing what you would normally do with others. For example, try having a digital dinner with someone you met on a dating app, a virtual happy hour with friends or a remote book club meeting.
One-minute kindness: When you find yourself scrolling through people’s posts, stop and send one of them a few kind words. Takes only a little more time than a like and can mean a great deal to the receiver.
Cultivate your community: The basis of connection is having something in common. Whatever your niche interest is, there is an online community of people who share your passion. There are also digital support groups, such as for new parents or patients with a rare disease.
Deepen or broaden: Get in touch with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken with in a while to deepen that connection. Or broaden your network by reaching out to someone you’d like to get to know.
Use a tool: consider using conversation prompts, such as TableTopics or The And, to spark interesting dialogue during a call.
Pick up the phone: Don’t forget there are many Seniors and other American’s who don’t use the internet. A phone call or even a letter (yes, Snail Mail still exists) could mean the world to them.
The coronavirus pandemic reminds us that human connection can spread illness. But human connection ALSO promotes wellness. Let’s take this opportunity to reconnect without physical contact.