The challenges of this year have brought our vulnerability into focus. We’re contending with new and increased stressors that may persist for a longer season than we anticipated. In response, we may try to “hunker down,” relying mostly on ourselves to get through these challenging times. The realities of social distancing can reinforce a sense of isolation, which can impact our immune system, heighten our stress response, and is a risk factor of suicide. Connecting with others can help us to sustain ourselves and one other and grow our resilience during this time of prolonged uncertainty.
THE VALUE OF CONNECTION
Connecting can help us feel better. It can help to calm our nervous systems, lower our stress response, and help us to think more clearly in difficult times. It helps to foster a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves. Connectedness is considered a significant protective factor for those at risk of suicide.
WAYS TO FOSTER CONNECTION
Research indicates that any connection is better than no connection at all. The ways we connect do not need to be complicated or even require a lot of time. Here are some ways you can experience connection during these times:
- Call or write a family member, co-worker, or friend and let them know how much you care or that you’re thinking about them. You’ll be surprised at how much better this can help you feel, and it helps them feel better too!
- Try planning a group online activity with friends our families like a movie night, game night, happy hour, virtual book club, or creating an online playlist together.
- Volunteer to deliver food to people in need, walk dogs at a local shelter, or help a non-profit organization reach out to donors or constituents online. Doing something for others can increase our sense of connectedness with our communities, even from a distance.
- Consider joining an online class, support group, affinity group, or Employee Resource Group.
- Reach out to us to receive in-the-moment support from a Master’s level therapist or to become connected to counseling services for additional support and encouragement during this time. Deepening connection to ourselves helps us to build more connection with others.
Choose from these upcoming webinars. Register early for live interactive sessions as space is limited; otherwise, recordings will be available on-demand 48 hours after the live session.
Pandemic Loneliness: How to Seek More Connection
Live October 7, 2020
12:00pm – 1:00pm (PST)
Connecting With Your Wisdom & Strength: Tools for Persisting In These Times
Live October 27, 2020
12:00pm – 1:30pm (PST)