As you know, we are navigating this COVID-19 crisis globally. And if you are like me, then you have probably limited the amount of news coverage you allow yourself to see each day. I want to stay informed about what is going on. However, I have made a decision not to become indoctrinated by toxic news media stories. We can agree that many of us are ready to be able to enjoy some of our favorite activities again. However, safety has to come first and we are seeing a rise in new cases across the country. We have had to put vacations on hold, rearrange our schedules and inconvenience our lives. This crisis has taught us many lessons but one of the most important lessons is not to take anything for granted. More importantly, we have all gained a greater appreciation for the value of relationships in our lives. I want to share a few insights with you about maintaining connections in a socially distanced world.
This crisis has challenged our relationships.
Marriages have been challenged. In addition, the relationships between parents and their children have been both challenged and strained. Employers and employees have had to work extra hard to maintain communication and strong connection as we work from home. I know we are all missing the deep and enriching conversations, hugs, and even the ability to see your coworkers and friends on a regular basis. While we have adapted to Zoom and conference calls, nothing can replace personal connection and communication. I believe that we have all been challenged in our relationships and we have to adjust to a new normal in every area of our lives. Things are not the same but it does not mean that you have to miss out on great connections and meaningful relationships in your life. I encourage you to take a moment and assess the relationships in your life. Then take a moment to write a strategy for how you can adjust your relationships and still remain connected in this time of crisis. Connection is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Without connection, we lose the sense of community and family which is so important to our sense of belonging and our sense of purpose.
Do not fall into the trap of technology.
While it is easy to jump on Zoom or Facetime, I encourage you to pick up the telephone and maintain a sense of personal connection with the important relationships in your life. It is easy to send a direct message on social media or to talk on Zoom. However, technology has a way of taking away a sense of personal connection and intimacy. It is necessary to gather everyone on these platforms to remain productive and committed to organizational objectives. At the same time, you need to set aside the time to speak with your family, friends, and colleagues beyond online meetings. You will be amazed at what it does for you just to hear their voice and to give yourself a break from all the responsibilities of work and home during this chaotic time. I know that many people are opposed to calling a person on the phone anymore. However, I believe it is one of the best ways to stay connected to the most important people in your life during this time.
Prioritize health and well-being during this time of crisis.
I am sure that some of you are wondering what this has to do with connection. However, I have seen many online groups formed around health and well-being over the last few months. In fact, I have even seen groups starting blogs and video series chronicling their daily walks, exercise routines, and spiritual practices. You may not be able to get with your running mates but you can all stay connected through group chats and video as you work on your fitness goals. During this quarantine, it can be easy to abandon healthy habits and just start stress eating because of everything that is going on in the world. However, it is encouraging when I see groups checking in with each other daily, holding each other accountable, sharing tips, and celebrating each other’s progress and accomplishments. This is a powerful testament to the power of community. It is a great distraction from the chaos that we see happening in the world around us. Running clubs, hiking groups, and other forums are popping up and I think it is so necessary. You may not be able to physically connect with your groups but you can virtually connect and stay on track with your goals. Never stop making your health and well-being a priority.
Virtual counseling is in high demand during this unprecedented time.
I have several friends that are psychologists. They have seen a tremendous increase in new patients during this COVID-19 crisis. So many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, and the uncertainty of this time. It thrilled my heart to know that many counselors have been able to still interact with their clients virtually. One thing I know about crisis is that it is draining. It takes a toll on you physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. Talking with a counselor virtually is a great way to check up on your mental state, have a safe space to talk, and to have a trained professional to help you sort through the myriad of different emotions that you may be feeling during this time. Your mental well-being is essential to your personal well-being, physical well-being, emotional well-being, and spiritual well-being. It is dangerous to isolate yourself from the world during this time. We have talked about reaching out and checking on other people. However, you also need to reach out to check on yourself. The separation, isolation, and loneliness of this time can become overwhelming for some individuals. Reach out for help and know that you are not in this alone. Community is so important to your peace and your well-being.
Do not stop cultivating your relationship with yourself.
Over the last few months, I have spent a lot of time checking on other people. In fact, I check in with people every single week without fail. I want to know how they are doing personally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and economically. I set aside quality time to do this and it is always a joy for me. However, I also take time to continue developing my relationship with myself. So many people in the world today do not have a healthy relationship with themselves. Honestly, they do not really like themselves and therefore it is impossible for them to love themselves. What do I mean by cultivating my relationship with myself? I take time to sit, reflect, reset, and release. More importantly, I have learned how to enjoy my own company. I may spend this time enjoying my favorite snack, journaling, or even spending quiet moments in prayer and reflection. Regardless of what your practice is, I want you to continue to cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself. While we may be limited in the activities we can do at this time, I want you to find time to do one thing that you like to do. Devote some time every week to your personal growth and development. It will do wonders for you and nourish your soul in ways you could never imagine.