Contrary to popular belief, even our most annoying friends are important.
While we are being encouraged to maintain physical distance from each other, it is more important than ever that we connect. Our emotional needs are the same as they were during prehistoric times. Tribal people herded together for safety and other practical needs. We still need our Tribe, even the annoying ones!
There have been many studies illustrating the power of connection.
One of the most tragic is that of the Romanian orphanages. Babies were dying even though there was no sign of disease. Their physical needs were being tended to; they were being fed and diapers changed, but they failed to thrive. The orphanages were short staffed, and the government agency responsible for them believed that it was unnecessary to hold the babies. Eventually, the staff figured out that it was the need for connection that was missing.
This sad story clearly demonstrates the power of attachment.
We all need to love and to be loved from the moment of conception. Several studies show that more than any other lifestyle practice, the need for close emotional ties is the most important. This is as true for seniors as it is for babies. We all thrive in a climate of love and connection!
Yet, because of the Coronavirus, it is more challenging than ever to get together.
Grandparents must distance themselves from their grandchildren. Friends are unable to socialize. Schools, restaurants, parks, churches sports arenas and beaches are closed. Travel has come to a halt. We are confined to our homes, only leaving for essential needs. Parents are on duty for 24 hours a day. Many are working from home while trying to home school their kids. Many people have lost their jobs, and not sure when their next rent check is going to come from. Still others are working, but worried about their vulnerability to the Coronavirus.
How do we not only maintain but build deeper ties during the Coronavirus?
It is impossible to be depressed when we are thinking of ways to boost someone else’s mood. While we are not able to connect at a physical level, creative people have found ways. For example, some in my family are using online video to read stories to their grandchildren every night. My neighbours host daily Happy Hour in their driveway. I have attended two online parties in the last month, complete with games. Others have created drive by parades for birthday parties.
I also have several different groups of friends who meet together weekly online.
We take turns sharing where we are at emotionally. Sometimes, we need help, and we discuss ways to support ourselves and others.
Other ideas that have lifted me up are:
- taking the time to appreciate and enjoy my husband. We are both less distracted and have more time for each other. Extra cuddles, foot massages and prayers have taken on new meaning as we appreciate the small moments together.
- funny videos, trying some new venues and talent.
- online courses; yoga, dance, musical instrument, language, hobby and educational.
- daily walks in which I exchange greetings from at least six feet away. I always encounter someone who is willing to stop and chat for a few moments.
- special dinners; I am blessed to be married to a man who loves to cook. He has taken extra care with our meals, ensuring that they are especially healthy. I particularly enjoy and appreciate that extra garnish or colour that makes the meal not only delicious, but visually appealing.
- Pot banging. Although it has taken me awhile to participate, in a strange way, it connects us all as we yell and scream at 7:00 every night.
- Sidewalk art and window decorations. I love to walk around the neighbourhood and see the beautiful art that people have made. I allow myself to feel the love that went into creating these masterpieces.
- Making at least one phone call or video call every day. I love receiving these, and look forward to hearing the voices of those I love.
- Parking lot meetings where everyone stays in their cars.
Make the effort to stay connected works. It really does!
I am sure that there are many more ideas out there. Please share them, and I will include them in an upcoming post. Until then, reach out and love someone today.