Socially Engaged In a Physically Distant Time...



The world is urging us to separate and isolate, but what we need the most right now is to come together and unite. These are scary and unfamiliar days; as a society we have never found ourselves here before. We are all asking what does all of this mean, what will happen, what do I believe, when will life be normal again, will it ever be normal again? We are fearful, and yet we can’t look away. We are overwhelmed, and yet we can’t stop our curiosity to find out more.


In two weeks’ time social distancing has become the buzz word of 2020. You can’t seem to go a day, maybe even an hour, without being bombarded with it. We have separated ourselves out of fear, and out of precaution. But what are we at risk of shutting out in the process? The problem with social distancing is, while it is meant to create physical distance from others for health purposes, it actually promotes emotional distance, withdrawal and retreat instead. The physical distance, and intentional separation can help stop the spread of COVID-19, but we need to take precaution to not distance ourselves socially and emotionally. To isolate and withdraw. It is very easy to fall into the loneliness of isolation when all of our “normal” has been stripped away.


With Coronavirus impacting every aspect of life, anxiety and despair seem to be at an all time high. Anxiety and despair often breed isolation and withdrawal. We turn inward, and get lost in our hopeless thoughts. With constant exposure to the news and social media it is easy to become consumed in the hysteria of the times. It is easy grow more and more hopeless, adding up all we have already lost, and what we could potentially lose if things continue on this trajectory.


Now, more than ever before, we need each other. We need the support, friendship and community of our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers. We are better together! We are stronger together! And it is in being connected to one another that we will persevere! Through our social connectedness we will be resilient, and soon be able to recover.


Remaining connected – “together” – with the constraints of physical distance can be challenging, but it is certainly not impossible. We have been forced to halt our day-to-day routine, but it is truly an opportunity to dig deep, evaluate our lives, and return to what matters the most in our life – our relationships!



Here are some suggestions on connecting and surviving well in this time of quarantined days.


*Significantly limit your exposure to the news and social media

- set time limits and number of inquiries throughout the day


*Be intentional in taking time to call family or friends

- be intentional in talking about things other than the virus


*Identify what you have gained in this, and what you have to be thankful for

- not just what you’ve lost or are losing because of this


*Remember why you love and value those in your life, and tell them


*Write letters!

- send people notes of appreciation and encouragement

*Be gracious with yourself, and others, we are all navigating something completely new and unknown

- support, encourage, build up others… do not shame or put down, even when their choices of how to navigate this time differs from your own


*Be honest with yourself and with those you are close with about what you fear the most in all of this

- confront that “what if” until it no longer scares you. Be vulnerable!


*Embrace the opportunity for new things or to accomplish things you’ve been putting off

- ask a friend to hold you accountable to utilizing this time as a personal growth opportunity


*Hoard positive – not toilet paper. What you think on will impact how you feel and what you do

- focus on what you know, not what you fear or what you feel. And do your best to continually come back to what is positive! Engage with those family members or friends who point you in this direction, and limit your contact with those who don’t


*Pray!

- seek the Lord with your family or with your friends (virtually). When we pray with others we can experience deep levels of connection and intimacy. We can be known in the experience of praying together


*Memorize scripture verses with family or with a friend

- what we inundate ourselves with will become our hope and our focus. Turn to the true source of truth, and the better hope, which is only found in the Bible. Comfort, peace, and freedom can be found there!


*Start a virtual book club with your friends

- reading can transport you to a different time and place. Read something lighthearted and fun, and talk about it with others


*Workout together using FaceTime or Zoom

- exercise is a great way to fight depression and anxiety – so move!


--Amy Oliver


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