5 Mindset Shifts to Help You Navigate Connection Right Now
You finish your meetings for the day, but instead of closing your laptop and running to meet a friend for dinner, you open Zoom and jump into a scheduled happy hour with friends1 or “meet” with a neighbor, exchanging stories about your day across a patio, deck, or lawn. Maybe you sit down to write some emails, only this time, they’re to parents, children, and loved ones.
Right now, this is the reality of connection.
It’s an adjustment – a necessary one – and everyone will embrace normalcy once it returns, but can we learn anything from this period of maintaining connection, while apart? Are there lessons to be learned amidst the pause? Maybe you’re already learning? As your ideas and opinions about what constitutes real connection become disrupted, here are some gentle reminders to keep in mind while navigating these unusual times.
1. IT’S SOCIAL DISTANCING, NOT SOCIAL ISOLATION
Research shows that social connection is a critical component of mental health2 which probably explains why you – like everyone else – have exercised extreme creativity to maintain social connection during COVID-19. Even the most introverted have embraced social gatherings in the online space, highlighting the importance of connection even in the absence of a physical setting. This is not a time to shut yourself off from the world. You can still talk, laugh, and sing with loved ones, just using some unique strategies.
2. YOU’RE MORE RESILIENT THAN YOU THINK
If someone were to tell you in December that you’d be socially isolating during the first half of 2020, you may have thought it sounded like a movie script, but here you are. These unusual events have taught patience and resilience which can go a long way even after social distancing and stay at home orders end. As author Glennon Doyle reminds us, “We can do hard things.”3 If you take nothing else from this time, remind yourself of this often.
3. CONNECTION DOESN’T NEED TO BE IN PERSON
Sending a letter to a friend or loved one. Arranging for groceries to be delivered to an elderly neighbor. COVID-19 has encouraged connection in the most creative of ways, without requiring face-to-face contact. While you don’t need to rethink your entire business during quarantine, this can serve as a useful tool when it comes to how you work in the future. Can you offer more online appointments? Can you make your time more efficient and attend that conference virtually instead?
4. YOUR PRESENCE IS A PRIORITY
Since you no longer have conflicting midday lunch plans or multiple birthday parties to attend in any given weekend, this disruption in connection can lend to a review of your mindfulness and presence. Use this time to think about how you’re showing up for yourself and to others both now and when normalcy returns. Are you committing your full attention to tasks and meetings? Are you showing up where is needed or shying away? Use the time to think about how you can be more present.
5. THE POWER OF COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT
Even though you might be social distancing, community has never been needed more. From the frontline doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff to grocery store associates and essential government staff – there is a collective energy at work supporting you and your community right now. As renowned psychologist, Esther Perel reminds us, “We’re all in this together,”4 and there’s never been a better time to embrace a unified front.
Connection – as you know it – may be disrupted, but there are always lessons to be learned from change.
What other ways has connection transformed your life right now?
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the news and social media? Try these tips: 6 Ways to Disconnect From Technology & Reconnect Within.