Distant Connection and Our Social Wellbeing

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By Shantelle Dedicke, CMP

Introvert or extrovert, humans are social by nature. We crave social connectedness and historically, tribal disconnection has held serious ramifications. It is no surprise that during this time of social isolation, many are experiencing higher levels of depression and anxiety. The good news is that we do not have to struggle in silence; technology offers solutions and opportunities to create, connect, and engage. Here are a few ideas as you seek to be social.

Virtual Calls: Pick a platform, any platform and you can instantly connect with your friends and family via mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Zoom and FaceTime emerge as popular choices due to accessibility but there are others out there – a quick Google search will bring forth a plethora of options.

Write a Letter: Newsflash, letter writing is not “old school;” it’s a common courtesy and one that deserves a resurgence. Bring back the pen pal revolution, pick someone, and begin a distant conversation. Feel free to go off-road here and send your favorite quotes, excerpts from a beloved book, jot down a list of memories, or begin a plan for the future. There are no rules here – go crazy!

Tap into Your Talents: More than likely you are brilliant or at least good at something that could help or benefit someone else. Make a list and reach out! Are you a musician? Offer sessions for your listeners and have fun while doing it! Are you an empty-nester and missing your grown children? Why not reach out to a friend who is now homeschooling their children and offer to take over a lesson or a story reading session? Small offers to assist offer big rewards to everyone – including you!

Help Someone Get Connected: Reach out to elderly grandparents, neighbors, etc. and ask if they need assistance with technology and social connectedness. This is a bit more challenging as you’ll need to walk them through the steps over the phone or across the fence line, but be patient and know that you are helping someone else connect to their loved ones. My Memaw says, “I taught you to use the toilet, you can help me with my iPhone.” Fair enough.

Start a Social Community: Need a tribe? Take to Facebook Groups and start a community of like-minded people. Miss your book club? Take it to social media and begin a virtual book club. Don’t be afraid to think small here—you don’t need the next brilliant idea to begin a social community, and most people are looking for a place to belong.

Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation and there are numerous ways to connect while adhering to safety recommendations. Check on your people who are “essential” employees, text or email an old friend or family member, have a long phone conversation (remember those?), write a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in your life, offer to connect people who may be able to help each other, and look for your own ways to connect.

Ironically, this is a time to open up our minds and focus on our social well-being. There is so much pressure to emerge from this with a grand new idea; maybe all we need to worry about coming out of this ordeal with a lesson on how to make one or two new friends.

Shantelle P. Dedicke, CMP, is President and Chief Creative Officer of Frances Roy Agency. Visit the website at www.francesroy.com or text her at 307.631.7644.