You deserve a hug today! If you’re been around as long as me you might have that jingle from the 80’s in your head (You deserve a break today). Can you believe we’ve almost made it to the end of August? Next weekend is Labor Day weekend and then the beginning of a new school year. And all while being in a pandemic that has changed the way we work and interact with each other, amongst many other things.
Our focus for the September Positivity Project is the importance of social connection. Our national strategy to slow the spread of the Coronavirus is to wear face coverings and keep 6-10ft of physical distance from each other. This has been called “social distancing”. I’m hoping we can change those words to physical distancing because we need to stay connected socially now more than ever. There are many ways to stay connected that don’t involve being physically next to someone.
I received my first virtual hug the other day and it made me get the biggest smile on my face. It was a simple thing to do and meant so much to me. Whether it’s a Zoom chat, FaceTime, a Teams meeting or an “old-fashioned” phone call, staying connected has more benefits than just being fun. People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, studies show they also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them.
If you’re not sure how to begin forming social connections start by looking inward. What are your interests or hobbies? What kind of personalities are you naturally comfortable around? For now, there are many on-line and virtual platforms to find groups that have similar interests and are like-minded as you. When the time comes and it’s safe again to do so, devote time to becoming active in your community, volunteering, or joining a club or social organization and if you meet a potential friend, create an opportunity to spend time together.
What have been some ways you have stayed socially connected to friends, family and co-workers during this time? What’s made you smile? What’s the most unique or creative thing you’ve seen? Please share your stories by leaving a comment.