Maintaining Social Connectedness in a Time of Physical Distance

Tom Herzog - 4/6/20

Now more than ever we need to ensure we stay socially connected. We should be intentional in our words and deeds–taking time to connect beyond a task to just ask the simple question of “How are you doing?”

During times of change, it is natural for psychological challenges to arise or heighten, which can challenge our mental wellness. It is certain we are all experiencing a wide array of emotions as COVID-19 has found its way into our conversations. Awareness is key to developing a plan, and tools are needed to help us manage forward at home, work and our community.

We’ve been asked to minimize face-to-face interaction. Many people will feel unsettling effects of isolation and the changes to our daily routine. It’s important for us to not only check on the physical health of others, but their mental health too. While it’s in our collective interest to abide by the order to shelter in place and physical distance, we MUST maintain a social connection through phone calls, video chats or other forms of communication.

Aside from staying virtually connected, what can we do to keep our mental wellness at the forefront during times of uncertainty? Most important is to be intentional about managing the stress and anxiety often found during a traumatic event. Here are some things we’ve been talking about as we navigate forward:

  • Routines are important for us, our families and our work teams
  • Prioritize the use of video with family, friends and colleagues
  • Schedule a virtual water cooler meeting to just catch up
  • Go outside, take a walk, take some deep breaths
  • Healthy eating and sleep are fuel for the day
  • Balance inputs by listening and reading for enjoyment
  • Laughter is good for the heart and mind

I received a call from a friend the other day. They had not heard from me in a while, just wanting to ask how I was doing. We took time for a virtual coffee break–sharing the challenges of the day and a few laughs as well. There was nothing needed, each of us grateful for the time, helping one another forward. We are all working to balance and prioritize right now. One thing that has certainly not changed is that community is about people helping people… we are now reminded of our essential role in making that happen.

Originally printed in the Overland Park Chamber April 2020 Newsletter