Yesterday I wrote about how the coronavirus has shown us just how connected we all are. Not only in our families, and immediate communities, but throughout the whole of the human world. Never before have social media feeds from across the world been so full of the same experience. People of all nationalities, faith groups, genders, political persuasions and all the other things that divide us are now experiencing the same things.

We are all scared, lost, lonely, confused, suddenly hyper-aware of our mortality. Wondering what happened to the life we knew. We are all experiencing this, to varying degrees of course.

Our different circumstances and life experiences will make this a unique experience for us all. But we are all together in that difference.

This doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Nor does it minimise our individual struggles through this.

I am finding it really hard seeing how some people seem to be having great fun in their lockdown, when I am struggling. Now more than ever I have to remind myself that what we see online is not a reflection of anyone’s reality. Even if it was, my reality is not their reality, and that is ok. My current circumstances and past experiences are shaping how this is for me, as yours is for you. Many other people have things far worse than I do. I see daily reminders that I have much to be grateful for as well.

While there are so many enormous challenges and struggles in this, so much pain, fear, grief and trauma, we are seeing clearly that there is no real separation between us. This virus has shown that no matter how rich and powerful you might be, you are still vulnerable. The spread of the virus across the whole world has shown us that national borders mean nothing to Nature. We are seeing very clearly just who are the vital workers in the world, what industries we really cannot live without and which we don’t really need.

We know that we can impact the lives of many people with a single touch. And I think we are all recognising just how much we need one another.

We are acutely aware how much we value the touch of another human being. How much we need to act with other people in mind not just in the time of virus, but at all times. The community spirit and compassion that is being shown around the world is truly inspiring. I have benefited from it myself, from both my friends and people I don’t know in my community. The smallest of gestures can mean so much, and can remind you that people are essentially good and caring.

We are truly discovering the value and necessity of the internet at this time. It has become the primary way we keep in touch with friends and loved ones. We are turning to online support communities in droves. Businesses are discovering that they can work online, and many employers are seeing that their staff CAN work from home and still be part of a well functioning team. We are lucky, if that is the right word, that this virus happened now at a time when we have the technology to allow so much of ‘normal’ life to continue, albeit in a very abnormal way.

Maintaining a connection with the outside world at this time is more important than ever.

Loneliness was a problem for too many people in the world even before this. It is really important now that we do all we can to maintain and even deepen relationships we have with other people.

I am really struggling with feeling lonely and isolated, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I am an extrovert, and very much so. While I enjoy my alone time now more than I used to before, I still need to interact with other people to thrive. I have my son with me of course, so am not totally alone, but I am feeling the strain of not being able to be with my friends and not able to meet other people.

But acceptance is an important lesson to learn as well, and one I will be exploring in my ‘lockdown journaling’.

In the spirit of accepting the situation we find ourselves in, how are you making the most of opportunities to connect to the outside world?

There are so many ways you can keep, and even grow, your connection to others at this time of isolation

9 Ways you Can Connect to Others in Lockdown

  1. Video calls. Has Zoom ever been so popular? Video calling, whether through Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or any other medium you might use, is a wonderful way to have virtual coffee, parties, family get-togethers and so much more.
  2. Drop a message to say ‘How are you doing today?’. This simple question might be exactly what someone needs, to know that they are not alone. Loneliness was already a problem, it is likely to worsen. Take a few minutes to message a few friends each day and see how they are.
  3. Reconnect with old friends. This is a great time to rebuild bridges. Check in with that old friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Just a ‘hello, how are you managing through this?’ might reopen doors that have been closed for years!
  4. Chat with your neighbours in the garden. Those of us with gardens are likely to spend more time in them now. This could be a great chance to get to know your neighbours a little better.
  5. Join local community support groups on social media. There are some great groups popping up on Facebook. People are offering and asking for support, starting conversations, and generally getting to know people in their community better
  6. Follow bands and other artists you like, and join their livestream events. You can be part of these events, chat to others also watching, and invite your friends to enjoy the event with you
  7. Smile and say hello to people in the street. You can still smile and greet people while maintaining a safe distance between you. This is totally normal behaviour where I live. Now might be a great time to start doing it in other places too (I’m looking at you London!)
  8. Even something simple, like displaying a positive message or, as many children are doing, a rainbow, in your window can give passers by a moment of connection and joy. 
  9. Share positive and inspiring memes, videos, and articles on Facebook. Create the positive connections you want to have with others by giving them something positive to respond to.

Following on from point 9… Conversely, don’t be afraid to share when life feels a bit crap. It is likely that a lot of the time, maybe even all the time, you aren’t doing super creative, fun things with the kids, learning to make sourdough bread, practising Yoga, learning to play the violin and all the other things that people are finding to get them through these times. That is ok.

When you feel lost, lonely and scared, reach out then. I did that recently and was blown away bt the love and support I got from my Facebook friends and group members. We are all in varying degrees of trauma at the moment, and, as any mutual aid recovery program will tell you, we heal best when we heal together. If you don’t feel like sharing it publicly on your Facebook feed, get in touch with a friend you know will give you the space you need, and talk. And if that isn’t possible for you, The Samaritans are always there for you

We humans are biologically wired to work together as much as we have instincts to fight one another. In times of crisis, we have to come together, to seek one another out, and to support each other as best we can.

My Space to Breathe Facebook group is here for you. I am offering live ‘5 Minute Breath’ sessions in the group daily, and am in often to share positive inspirations and offer support. Come and join us if it can help you.