8 Ways to Deepen Connections while Social Distancing
8 Ways to Deepen Connection While Social Distancing
By Dr. Gabrielle Francis
It’s Dr. G here! Meet my hairy little nephew, Captain. I went to visit my sister and her family today. I was just craving the connection. I get so much constant physical connection from my patients and practice. As the social distancing has set in, I was starting to literally have physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
One of the most profound learning opportunities of this Crisis for me has been to appreciate the work I do and importance of human connection and touch.
Now, that being said…I am fully behind the need for Social Distancing and Health Guidelines promoted by the CDC. This is truly essential for containing the situation and keeping people safe.
My first Perception shift has been to understand that Social Distancing is not a cold-hearted rule. Instead, is a sign of caring, love and respect for our fellow adventurers.
But truly, t seems like less human contact is the Last Thing we need in the World!
I believe that in the last decade there has been a loss of true connection to one another in our society. We have become “Human’s Doing, instead of Human’s Being.” We have been taken up by a whirlwind of social media and technological pseudo connection. We are racking up likes and followers, watching people’s lives on screens, looking down and texting while we walk, and eating in restaurants with one hand on the fork and the other scrolling on the phone. All the while there is less quality connection…. less calls, less listening, no time for real sharing. Our “friends” are 1000 miles wide and 2” deep.
Until now, that is…
Now is our opportunity to take the time being home bound to deepen our connections and get real with people and ourselves again.
I eagerly await the day we can all bond at parties, restaurants, concerts, and workplaces again. I can’t wait to hug my patients and family again. And I could never take such things for granted again.
But in the meantime… Here we are..
So, I want to share with your how we can Deepen our Connections while practicing Social Distancing.
But first let me talk about the Importance of Physical Connection, as we can look forward to that returning in the near future.
Let’s do this!
Did you know that physical and emotional contact is one of most important things that humans can do for improving their health?
There are numerous studies about the health benefits of physical touch.
11 Researched Health Benefits of Touch:
- Releases Oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Oxytocin is a narcotic like hormone that increases our overall sense of security, wellbeing, and belonging
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Reduces heart disease.
- Increases immunity and enhances our immune response.
- Lowers cortisol, helping reduce stress and anxiety.
- Encourages learning.
- Decreases violence
- Increases interpersonal trust.
- Enhances sense of belonging to a tribe or community.
- Increases feelings of emotional intimacy.
- Creates stronger team dynamics among groups.
AMAZING! I can’t wait to bond with other people again!
If you are home with your loved ones and pets, you have access to the vital touch. For others, the touch will have to be postponed. But do remember that the physical connection will be there when we lift the restrictions that are currently designed to help us be safe.
But what do I do now if I am feeling lonely and disconnected?
Glad you asked….I got You!
8 Ways to Deepen Connection while Social Distancing:
- Reach out to family members, friends and community members that are Health Care Workers and cheer them on for the brave and dedicated work they are doing for our world right now. This inspiration can help inspire them when they are exhausted.
- Greet your Local Police, Store Clerk, Mail Man, Delivery Guy, and Take Out Workers with eye contact. Ask them how they are. Thank them for all they are doing. They are keeping us stocked up and safe too. They are keeping the show going!
- Reach out to your Parents, Grandparents, and Elderly Neighbors by phone or in person if appropriate. This population often struggles to feel relevant in society. We live in a culture that doesn’t honor the wisdom and experience that comes with aging. These beautiful people are our Future Ancestors. Share with them, Yes! But even better, listen to them. They have incredible stories to share about their lives and adventures. You will be surprised to find out that many of them were much wilder than you thought. There are research studies that show that when elderly people recall memories of their youth, their health measurements reverse to the state of someone younger. Listen to their stories and watch them light up.
- Bring back the Family Dinner and this time leave the devices for after dessert. You will enjoy the closeness that sharing food and stories can bring to your family and inner circle.
- Hug a pet. These hairy little creatures are wonderful for making us feel connected and unconditionally loved.
- Spend Quality Time with Close friends, family members and people in your house. The people that we live the closest to are often the ones that suffer the most from our addiction to technology. We often take people we live with for granted. Now is the time to listen, laugh, love and bond with the loved ones who have become strangers under the same roof. Hey there! How have YOU been!
- Call, Facetime, or WhatsApp with you Old Friends and Distant Family which have become Facebook and Instagram Friends at most. We have time to really catch up on their lives and show that we care and miss them.
- And Finally, Reconnect with Yourself. Take an hour or two each day to write, meditate, read, take a bath, putz around in your jammies, sit in the sun, create art or music, exercise, and sleep in. Make it a healing holiday and a way to reconnect with important rituals that help you to stay healthy and centered. When you are centered and happy, you can share a better version of yourself with the people that you love.
Wow! Now who could have thought that a tragedy and crisis like this could bring so much potential for the healing of ourselves, our relationships, our families, and OUR SOCIETY.
You got this!
I am always honored to be part of your Adventure and Healing.
Love One Another
Take Care of Yourself
Love, Dr. G