Hey friends. How are we all doing? One thing I’ve come to learn very quickly during this time: it’s okay to not feel okay. And it’s also just fine if you’re in high spirits and feeling hopeful. And you’re allowed to change your mind as often as you want. However you feel during this time, it’s okay.
Your range of emotions are valid, and it’s important to remember that we can’t possibly be expected to know how to handle this situation having never experienced it. So, let’s extend grace to ourselves and others as we navigate our emotions and our new way of living.
The piece I was originally slated to write this week was around “how to give thoughtful compliments.” And while that’s a conversation worth having (and we will later), it doesn’t feel right at this moment. Instead, I’m sharing with y’all how I’ve been staying connected to friends and family during my quarantine and self-isolation. And, I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve never felt more connected to everyone than I do now. It’s a mix of the realization that I can’t see any of them in person for a while (miss you Mom & Dad!), paired with the fact I truly do have all the time in the world (minus my 9-5.) We really are all in this together, so it feels like we’re coming to our moments of virtual connection with similar thoughts and feelings on our minds.
I’m sure that many of you have been using similar methods to catch up and stay connected, but here are a few things that have been helpful through this — and how I’m making a few small pivots, too.
The obvious one, right? I’ve been working from home for over a year and have used Zoom everyday, so this one wasn’t too new for me, but it was for a lot of my friends. Never did I think my Zoom skills would actually come in handy for the on-boarding of new friends, but here we are. I’ve had everything from Happy Hours, wine clubs, family catch-ups, and breakfast over Zoom. I think I’ve gone to more Zoom happy hours than regular happy hours in all of 2020. The best however, was celebrating my Dad’s birthday over Zoom and having 2 hours of wine and laughs. Really showed me that we can have just as much fun over video, even though I would’ve loved to be in person.
Because I’m on Zoom all day for work, then typically go into a friend Zoom hang in the evening, I’m finding I’m not actually getting much time for myself, so I’m setting some boundaries around screen time. This week that looks like 2 weeknight Zoom hangs, and one on the weekend. I’m sure this boundary will constantly evolve as we remain quarantined over the next month.
Another concept I’ve been utilizing for over a year, so this didn’t change in my world much, but would be remiss not to advocate for it. My Texas-based therapist moved to Hawaii last year, and thankfully continued her practice to Texas clients via video calls. She utilize the Doxy.me telemedicine platform, and it’s been really great and easy from a patient perspective. I almost cancelled my session with her this week because I thought…”what’s there to talk about in the midst of a pandemic? I feel anxious, fearful, calm at times, able to find humor and then guilty for finding humor when others are suffering… what can we possibly solve today?” And it was a nice reminder that we don’t solve anything in one session. We practice listening to our emotions and honoring them. It was nice to be able to be so honest with my emotions and stay connected to the person who has gotten to know me and my patterns well for the past 2 years. So, if you are able to continue therapy right now, I encourage you to stay connected and try utilizing video while you’re staying at home.
I’ve been making a list of every single person in the hospitality/restaurant/service, and medical industry that I know and have made a concerted point to reach out to them and check in on them. I don’t necessarily come to conversation with a solve for what’s happening in their world, but I do ask how I can help, in any way. Most often it’s a request to purchase a gift card to their establishment, grab takeout if they’re open, or if it’s my medical friends, another reminder and plea to stay at home for anything other than the essentials. At the very least, it’s important to me to know that I am thinking of them, and appreciate their work and sacrifices many have made and are making.
Venmo + Support Local
I’m thankful that I have a job right now, but so many of my friends and former colleagues who worked for big events or in the hospitality industry have been laid off in the past two weeks. I’m donating where and when I can, and that includes directly to my friends who won’t have an immediate paycheck. Even $25 to a friend can lift their mood. If you have anything to spare, I encourage you to support your pals and their line of work if their industry is suffering, especially our small biz owner friends. Everyone is taking a hit with this pandemic.
Grocery Runs for Older Neighbors
This was truly prompted by a Facebook message I received from an old college friend who lives close to my parents. She reached out to remind me she lives close and that she’d be happy to make grocery runs for my folks who are in their mid-60’s, so they didn’t have to go out. It was the kindest and I reminder I can do that too. I have an older neighbor in the building who always checks in and invites us over for cocktail hour or cheeseboards or holiday gatherings. Her family is in Dallas, so the least I could do was offer to grab groceries when she needed them. If you’re in a place where that’s possible, I encourage you to stay connected to your elderly and/or immunocompromised neighbors.
Online Workout Classes
I’ll be honest, my best life is not working out in the place where I also live and work. I get major cabin fever, and truly have to force myself to get outside and move more than anything. But knowing so many of my friends in the fitness industry have lost a lot of work and regular clients, it’s even more important to me to support their work. Whether I’m catching a free yoga class on Zoom, or turning to Instagram Live and dropping $$ in their Venmo account, it’s my small way to show up for my pals, and invite other friends all over the world (yes, even friends in Italy!) to join in on the workout. Kind of cool to really feel globally connected in that way. I also finally purchased a Peloton last week. I’d wanted one for a while, and because it doesn’t spin classes will be available anytime soon, this felt like the right move. When I move, my mind and body is much more at ease.
Friendly Wave While Walking
Hear me out here: I am not saying gather your group of friends and go for a walk, even walk at a 6ft distance. Go solo. Please. But do text your friends when you’re out on a walk or trail, and if you’re in the neighborhood, walk past ’em and give them a wave or friendly smile. I’ve seen a few friends while out on the trail out of sheer happenstance and it’s felt great to see a familiar face. That kind of human connection at a distance feels so great. Truly pals, I repeat, please do not get your friends together and go for a walk even if you can maintain 6 feet apart.
I’d love to know the fun things you’re up to right now to stay connected with your loved ones. I hope that the next time I get to check in with y’all, we’ll be in a different place, collectively. Let’s follow the rules so we can do our parts to make it happen. Sending each of you love and patience during this time.