My writing friend Joy Newswanger dislikes the term “social distancing,” and I agree with her. What we’re doing to protect ourselves and our communities is physical distancing, not social distancing. In some ways, we’re connecting socially more than ever before. John and I are trying to call or email or write friends and family to check on them. Visits on Zoom (coffee Zooms, meeting Zooms, and cocktail hour Zooms—affectionately known as “quarantinis”) have become so prevalent that we’re now hearing complaints about “Zoom fatigue.” As we move into colder weather here in the United States, we’ll be challenged to find safe ways to visit each other without coming indoors where experts agree, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is significantly higher, even with masks.
If you live alone, you may either be finding that life isn’t much different or you may be feeling intensely isolated. It’s crucial that you take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself, and reach out to others if you need more contact. You may feel you have nothing to complain about when so many in the world are hungry or homeless or worse. But what we’re experiencing is real and involves grief and loss, so it’s best to acknowledge that and learn to adapt.
Some families have begun a “round robin” newsletter with each family unit adding a little bit about their lives and sending it on to the next. There’s interesting research showing that it’s easier to know what to talk about with someone if you’ve been in touch more often. That’s counterintuitive, but I’ve found it to be true. What creative ways have you found to stay connected?
Face the fact that we’re in this for the long haul, even if our communities open up in various ways. Until there is a vaccine (and that won’t be before 2021), there is not going to be life post-coronavirus. It will only be life with coronavirus.
This will test our resilience, but we can do it…together.
[A shorter version of this post was originally emailed in my Compass Points newsletter.]
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