Social Distancing. It is one of those phrases that we have invented in order to make big and scary events more palatable. Like instead of saying “I am leaving my partner, roommate and lover of the last ten years” or “The holidays will never be the same!” we say we are “consciously uncoupling” – as if nothing other than the “couple” part will change. As we know, everything changes when we “consciously uncouple,” just as everything can change when we are morally and legally obligated to stay at home for weeks on end.
These past weeks have been compared to those days between Christmas and New Year’s– where time is marked by Netflix episodes and the mandatory attire is sweatpants. But the time lost on our calendars is starting to set in, and for some, our minds are starting to spiral to keep from atrophying.
How long can I go on not working before my savings are completely spent?
Will my kids fall behind in their education?
Am I going to get laid off?
Will I be able to spend my Dad’s 70th birthday with him?
Will I be able to visit my mom in her nursing home before she completely stops remembering who I am?
Anxiety, fear, frustration, and grief can all be present while at the same time, you may secretly admit to yourself that you really needed this time off! Perhaps you feel numb to the whole experience because you have been inundated with news reels. Or perhaps your feelings and fears are so vivid, but you can’t share them because your best friend just got laid off and you feel you don’t deserve to complain.
The fact is, many of us are in crisis and we need to start talking about it.
Social distancing is not how we are going to get through this. In fact, let’s throw out that phrase all together.
Yes, we have to stay physically distant because we love each other,
but we have to remain socially connected because we need each other.
How to stay connected:
Whatever you are feeling– odds are, you are not alone. Thankfully, technology provides us with a lot of ways to stay connected. To begin, think about the things you used to do with your friends and family.
Schedule in weekly meals to have with your loved ones via Facetime. Perhaps even order from the same restaurant! Sitting down to eat a meal together will bring back a sense of normalcy and safety that is missing from everyday life.
Yes, yes, we know, video games rot your brain! But video games also have the ability to connect people virtually from all over the world! Miss your nephew? Maybe it’s time you learned to play Call of Duty! Regardless of if you are good at the game or not, you are making memories with the people you love.
Miss going to the movies? Rent the same movie as your distant family, Facetime each other, and press PLAY at the same time. Or coordinate going on a walk together, but from six feet apart! Or download the same YouTube yoga video and try out a new exercise together. Maybe you’ll kick start a new Saturday afternoon tradition.
Touch is an essential need to humans. And while you may miss out on hugging your 65 year-old mom right now, are you making up for that by hugging everyone in your house even more than usual? Check in with yourself. Because you have been sitting in the same tiny house with your kids for ten days, you may have forgotten to hug them for the last two. Live alone? Hug on your pets! Don’t have any pets? Perhaps you could reach out to a local rescue and use this free time to foster a pet? Physical touch is essential to feeling safe and loved. Remember if you got ‘em, hug em!
Despite all of our efforts, we may still need some help. In such uncertain times, we are more apt to become dysregulated and suffer from anxiety and depression. Take care of yourself and make your mental health a priority. We want to help. For those that are struggling with the overwhelming feelings associated with the COVID-19 quarantine, Brittani Persha Counseling is offering 5 telehealth sessions for a reduced rate. Our hope is that we can create a safe space and provide you with tools to decrease anxiety and to cope with uncertainty and isolation that is part of this global pandemic. Together we can make it through this.
How to sign up
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.