If you are anything like me, this pandemic has taken your nicely perfected, tight routine and churned it into whitewash. Everything from the way we celebrate and gather, to the way we collect our children from school, has changed into an ever-evolving confusion of rules and boundaries. After months of not doing the basic things, I feel as though I’ve forgotten how to be a part of society; even a trip to Woolworths feels foreign, I don’t remember what card goes where; I can’t even figure out who is supposed to pack the bags.
It was only just last night when a friend I had not heard from in a while texted me a simple hello, that I realised how distant I had been. My friends that I had once connected with inside the school gates or in passing while attending to groceries, now, seem to be spread apart – each of us unable to keep up with the changing world around us enough to reach out for the simplest of catchups.
It made me wonder: how are we dealing with stress while our friendship support systems are impaired?
I decided to make a change, to find a way to make those connections that subconsciously release stress and tension; the very ones I didn’t realise I was missing until that text. So, I did what any good nerd would do. I channelled my inner Rory Gilmore and made a list.
Here are five ways that you can increase your social interaction while being socially distant, and keeping up with the demands of current life:
Something as simple as a walk around the block can make all the difference to your mental health, so why not join that up with a chat with someone you connect with in your street? Maybe it will be walking your kids to school and leisurely taking your time on the way back, or, maybe a daily power-walk whenever you can fit it into your day.
However you decide to plan it, making the effort with someone that lives close to you, increases your likelihood of a spontaneous walking buddy when you need a break.
Those usual catch-ups over coffee or drinks might feel a little out of reach at the moment. Take advantage of the great outdoors and enjoy some sunshine with a picnic. Meet up with other families or friends, everyone brings there own rug and food, it can be a great way to get everyone together and stay appropriately distanced at the same time.
Need some inspiration for picnic spots in Wollongong? Check out my article on the Top 10 Best Picnic Spots in the area.
Have you ever been waiting on the sidelines of your child’s training session, thinking of all the things you should be doing? Make the most of that time and invite a friend or fellow training parent to go for a walk.
It’s ok to walk away and not be the doting parent all the time. Take turns and every second week, take that hour to do something for yourself.
A 15-minute spill-session with a good friend can be just what you need to cope with anything the universe throws at you. Get up a little earlier and meet for some pre-office coffee, or make a lunch date to grab a quick bite to eat while you aren’t at your desk.
Remember, it is quality, not quantity, so be sure to take advantage of those moments during the week. It only takes a little extra effort and can change how you feel completely.
When all else fails, and you just can’t get together, make a phone call. Sounds simple right? But really, it’s something that modern society has done away with, replaced by hasty text messages on the go; we have forgotten the art of a simple, verbal conversation.
Make that phone call and strengthen your connection to the people you love. Even if you aren’t struggling with life at the moment, the other person might be.
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