What a time to be alive, amiright?! I mean seriously, we live in a pandemic, we are isolated, people don’t want to be near people because they are afraid to get the virus, everything is virtual, there are riots about presidents, race, politics, etc. This is one sad generation and at times when we start to lose sight and feel vulnerable, we become bitter and start to feel swallowed by the chaos. This is a time we need people and human connection the most.
When I feel like this- swallowed whole and overwhelmed and isolated I just want to be around my family and friends and in this day and age we really can’t be like we used to. No more church, no more family dinners, no more reunions or family parties… it’s just sad. We can go to work and go to stores and go to the gym, but we are advised not to be with our family and in “large” gatherings?! I really can’t keep up with CDC recommendations anymore, but you get the gist. I feel like we are so heavily programmed by the negativity, the media, the people who are really sick instead of the ones who aren’t. Mental health is being neglected and we are drowning. This specific blog isn’t about politics or opinions or what or what we should and shouldn’t do. We have a right to our own feelings and perspectives. We are like little shiny stars in God’s universe with the right to our own feelings and thoughts and that’s a beautiful thing. But it shouldn’t take a pandemic to realize how important real life human connection is. I’m talking real deal hugs and kisses and tears and laughing together. Fuck zoom. Ok zoom is great and helps us all feel connected and be able to teach from home and have bridal showers and baby showers and family parties blah blah blah but I feel like I’m in a different planet.
I was at yoga last week and the instructor started talking about connection and how important it is for us to grow. Kids only know electronics and social media these days, but we know so much more. We know touch and real physical company. We know laughing together physically and eating dinner and celebrating fun things together. Introverts may disagree and believe me- there’s part of this “isolation chamber period” that I love. I love spending more time with my kids, working from home even though it’s like herding headless chickens, I love not answering to anyone all the time or always having plans….Research shows that human connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems… no matter how much some of hate being with people. I think pre-pandemic there was no balance. Everyone was working their asses off, herding their kids to the next destination, being too tired to even be with family. Now we get stuck in the tornado of covid and we can’t be near each other. By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk even more- irony? I think so.
During this pandemic I have never yearned for human connection so much. For years I feel like we have taken this concept for granted. Hugging friends, family dinners, going out to restaurants without a mask, working out with friends, seeing kids laugh… I miss all of this and what a sad thing that we can’t be with our friends and family when we miss them so much. Especially when we feel broken. I feel broken in this season and that’s okay. I hope to look back at this blog in post pandemic years and understand there is a bigger plan. A wake up to the world perhaps.
Our inherent need for human connection doesn’t mean that we automatically have to be social and be with someone all the time. Having human connection can look different for each person. It’s a core common need by humans and we need to get better at it. We don’t need to go back to the way things used to be. It’s time to get better at real connection that we have always taken for granted. I know I have. But I also learned about balance. Balance is soooo important for mental health- having boundaries, saying no so you can say yes to you, and finally realizing you don’t have to please anyone but yourself.
I have learned that solitude is just as important as connection. Balance is key. Your heart and soul always tell you what you need.
My yoga instructor was talking about different things she does to help her feel more connected, especially when you’re feeling sad or lonely. I started using an app called Marco Polo that makes me feel like I’m with my friends even though I’m not physically. Love you friends! I also started writing down 5 people who make me happy everyday- ones I’m grateful for. I also love teaching fitness classes online because even thought I’m not with my class in person, it’s such a nice feeling to work out with people. And the endorphins are like natures medicine. It’s the best feeling so thank you to my class who not only shows up to work out with me, but shows up to work out for you.
Your connections don’t have to be on hold while we are all self-isolating or trying to avoid the plague. Talking it out and finding creative ways to see my tribe has helped me feel even more connected than before. The fear and anxiety can tear families and friends apart, but there are opportunities for growing and deepening your friendships even in the midst of so much change and uncertainty. Here’s to a new way of thinking and cherishing the connections we have. No more taking this concept for granted. Love and connection is what makes the world go. We got this.