My mother used to say that life is not a dress rehearsal. It made me wonder how many chances do we get to get it right. It doesn’t seem so pressing when we are young, invincible and time is doomsday. Then all of a sudden, what really matters can turn your world around. That’s after your stomach does a belly flop and you keep wishing for a do-over.
I can still hear my mother’s chilling promise, as I rushed our conversations to the finish line, “You never have time to speak to me. One day I may not be here for you to talk to.” Ouch. That really hurt. But it’s nothing in comparison to my longing for her right now. What I wouldn’t give to hear the phone ring and know that she was on the other end.
Your Presence is a Gift
Being there. Nothing replaces just being there. I mean being present and available and meaning it. It’s all those little moments that make a difference in a lifetime—a birthday wish, accompanying a friend to the hospital, listening to a loved one go on and on even when you think you can’t listen anymore, an honor, a celebration, a toast, having a shoulder for someone to cry on, checking in, cheering on. Showing up.
My job doesn’t take care of me when I’m sick (though the writing is so cathartic.) My husband does. He worries. He comes home early from work and brings me cold tea. (Ok-it’s the thought that counts.) My sisters and brother and cousins listen and want to help. In a heartbeat, they are there. My friends show concern. They call and they check-in. My children rally.
And my mother… no one took care of me better than she did. I only had to look in her eyes to know that she’d rather be the one in pain. She nursed every fever, held my hand when my wisdom teeth were pulled, escorted me to more doctor appointments than I can remember and calmed me through every miscarriage. She would sit by my bedside for hours waiting for me to heal. What I remember most is that she was always on my side.
Staying in Touch during Times of Crisis
Stay in touch. Today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is too long and maybe too late. Tell your friends and family just how much you care. Unconditionally. It can change. It can all change in the blink of an eye.
I’ve lost three precious friends this year and I adored each one. Most recently, I lost a friend the other day to the Coronavirus. It seems so unfair that the finest human being has been taken from us. Maybe it’s true that this unforgiving disease just plucks without discrimination. Remarkable character and sensitivity don’t get a pardon.
Things are happening in the world that are beyond our control. We have no say in the outcome beyond our own small sphere of influence. Make no mistake, staying home, practicing social distancing and self-isolating completely, make a difference. It can save lives and show the ones you love that you care about them. But it can feel lonely too; especially when accompanied by the fear, anxiety, and grief associated with this situation. In that case, the absolute best thing we can do is connect with others. Seeking connection is a basic human trait and is more important now than ever before. Connection does not require physical contact to be meaningful. There are many different ways to stay in touch. Not only is it good for your health and overall well-being, but it will make a difference in the lives of those you love as well.
Whether you just pick up the phone, send a voice note over WhatsApp, or schedule a Zoom video call, the simple act of staying in touch is a kind gesture we all need right now. With so many different ways to communicate with family, friends or your community, there’s no reason to feel alone.
Check-in with Those Most at Risk or Vulnerable
A good place to start while staying in touch is to make sure you check up on those most at risk or vulnerable during the pandemic. I’m talking about the oldest and the youngest members of the family.
Although children are not as badly affected by the Coronavirus, they are negatively affected by the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty of the situation. If you’re not with your children for some reason, or can’t visit your grandchildren or see your young nieces and nephews, then make sure you’re there for them in other ways. Ensure face-to-face communication with video calls and offer them age-appropriate information in order to alleviate their fears. This lovely workbook is available in many different languages and can be read and completed together with children up to age 7.
The elderly who are most at risk during this time also crave the comfort of human connection, so make sure to stay in touch. Reach out regularly to inquire about their health, their well-being and their state of mind. Staying in touch with elderly family members, friends or community members is a way to support them when you can’t physically be there. You owe it to them to stay connected and provide help where you can.
Staying in Touch is Good for Your Well-being
Human beings are hardwired for social connection. In our current forced isolation existence, being socially connected to loved ones is more important than ever. You don’t need to physically connect to reap the benefits; staying in touch any way you can is enough. Staying in touch is good for your health and well-being in the following ways:
- Improves Quality of Life – the quality of each of our lives has been greatly impacted during this time and the separation from our social circles is making it even more difficult. By staying in touch you still get the benefit of having your support system. Without that connection, it can be detrimental to your health causing problems such as obesity or high blood pressure.
- Boosts Mental Health – our mental health has been severely affected by the current global situation which means boosting our resilience is more important than ever. Staying in touch will help increase your feelings of belonging and purpose, increase your happiness levels and reduce stress. On the other hand, the lack of connection can leave you feeling anxious or depressed.
- Increases Immunity –having a strong immune system is extremely important; especially if you’re infected with the virus. Studies have shown that social connection can help you live longer as it boosts the immune system. Whereas, isolation can have a seriously negative effect on your physical health making you more susceptible to illness.
- Makes You Happier – these uncertain times can leave us feeling sad or down if we don’t find ways to connect with others. Staying in touch with those you love is a great way to boost your personal happiness. Social connection gives you reasons to laugh or wake up with a smile while also making your heart happy.
Staying in Touch Virtually
We’re lucky to live in a modern world full of useful technology that can help us stay in touch during this enforced isolation. Social distancing and community lockdowns may keep us apart physically, but there are plenty of ways to stay virtually connected.
Although social media, phone calls, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime are the usual methods of connecting, there are a bunch of other options. The following ideas offer truly unique, fun and creative methods of staying in touch from the safety of your own home:
- Netflix Party – a solution for movie night during the pandemic. Choose a movie and share it with family or friends so that you can watch it ‘together’. The group chat feature makes it super interactive and allows you to communicate while watching.
- Houseparty – this free app is the best way to have a social gathering at the moment. There are plenty of features to make the experience more entertaining than your regular video call. Games such as Pictionary, Heads Up and Trivia are available to play during ‘parties’.
- Digi-Dining – video chat apps previously used for video conferencing by businesses are being repurposed for people to do the things they normally would, but virtually. Many families are using this technology to enjoy a meal together each night as a way of catching up with each other and offering support.
- Virtual Play Dates – your kids may be feeling lonely and frustrated too being unable to spend time with their friends. Many moms are arranging virtual ‘play dates’ for their kids via Zoom or Skype. This way your kids get to enjoy the social interaction with their peers as well.
As bad as things are, I always like to look for the silver lining in a negative situation. And the current pandemic comes with many silver linings – all you need to do is look for them. Although we may not hug our friends or even hold hands in solidarity, it has become clear that we’re all in this together. This virus and its negative effects do not discriminate and people have noticed.
For every negative story on the news, I’ve seen a positive one on other media. There are just so many beautiful examples of unity, collaboration, harmony, and just plain old human decency during this global crisis. Despite the need to stay apart, we are finding ways of staying in touch, reaching out and connecting with each other.
Some lovely examples include families having Passover Seder via Zoom or celebrating Easter with a group call.
There are the children who are making get-well cards from home to have distributed to people fighting Coronavirus in their neighborhoods.
Or the elderly man who visits his wife who is in a nursing home by holding up a sign outside the window proclaiming his love.
There are the communities using their neighborhood WhatsApp groups to identify and then rally together to collect donations for local families or people in need.
Or even the ladies making homemade face masks to share with people who don’t have or the medical professionals they know who are risking their lives to save people.
There are many more examples of our fight for connection despite our separation. By being denied the connection some of us took for granted in the past, we are being reminded of its importance. Stay in touch. Reach out. Connect.
In light of the current situation, I would like to offer my support in any way possible. You can help me by heading over to my new Resources Page and clicking on the affiliate links to my favorite stores for organizing products and other useful items. All proceeds made by readers purchasing products via my links will be donated to Feeding America to buy food for those in need. Thank you for your support. Together we can make a difference!
How are you staying in touch with loved ones?
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