Social distance doesn’t mean isolation

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean total isolation. Working from Home doesn’t have to mean being completely alone.  We are all social creatures who require a certain level of personal interaction to stay healthy, happy, and with a good outlook on life.

Here are 12 small ways to help yourself and others in this time of social distancing.  Of course, use you best judgement about which will work best for your personal situation.  A brief reminder about the Basic CDC guidelines if you need.

  1. Host a WFH day at your house. Many people are being thrust into the world of working virtually for the first time. It can be difficult and makes people feel isolated. Host a day of working from home – but at your home instead of theirs. Set the start and end time (it doesn’t have to be a full 8 hour day either), make sure you are aware of their allergies (if any) and they are aware of your pets (if any) and talk about what the day will look like (i.e. an actual day of work not of talking). Make sure they have all the tech requirements they need and enough space to feel comfortable. Make it as much like being in the office as possible.
  2. Reach out.  If you know someone who is limiting their time out of the house or someone who is actually quarantined, call them.  You can have a virtual lunch or get on the phone and play a virtual game with them (i.e. Scrabble, chess, Uno).  Some suggestions: POKIPOGO .
  3. Connect each day. Reach out to those you know – via email, text, phone call, whatever. Make it a point to connect to someone different each day. Once you make contact, keep the conversation going, build a network of social interactions.
  4. Create a “Community Advice” email. Start by writing a piece of advice, talking about a resource that you like or just share some information you have found valuable.  Send that to a friend/contact (include yourself in the CC: field). Ask them Copy/Paste your list to their email and then add to the list and send it to a contact of theirs (keeping the CC: list inclusive). As each person adds to the list, everyone should get the new advice/information.  Repeat the process. Watch the list of shared advice and information grow as the days go on.
  5. Deliver a care package. It could be the just the basics, or a batch of cookies or a home cooked meal. Check with the recipient so make sure they are ok with it and when you should deliver it. Have a chat with them when you deliver it. Make sure they are doing ok.
  6. Send a card or a letter.  Email is great and efficient but we all love getting mail (well, anything that isn’t a bill).  It doesn’t have to be long or elaborate, just a quick “I am thinking about you” will do.  Don’t have a stamp?  The Post Office will deliver them to you.  USPS.com
  7. Host a virtual movie (binge) night or book club. Most phones can create conference calls. Someone in the group is likely to have access to a virtual meeting systems. Pick a movie (TV show) that all can get to via a streaming service, network TV, Cable, DVD. Set the date and time and have everyone click start at the same time. A book club is even easier as long as everyone can get and read the book in time.
  8. Take a trip to the grocery store together. We all need to go to the store sooner or later, why not go with a friend? Carpool to the store or meet there – whichever works best for you. Ask a neighbor if they need anything while you are at the store if they can’t go themselves.
  9. Host a small game night. 2 or 3 people and each can bring their own snacks if there is concern over food service. The games don’t have to be elaborate, remember – you are doing it for the social interaction and contact.
  10. Give blood. If you need a reason to leave the house, giving blood is a great one. The staff at the blood banks probably could use the interaction with people as well. More importantly, the current blood supply is down. Help someone with a different kind of need.
  11. Host someone in your house. Invite someone (or 2-3 people) to your house for coffee or dinner. If concerns about food service are an issue, have each person bring their own food or order take out. What you eat isn’t important, eating it together is.
  12. Go for a walk. With a friend, a neighbor or a local walking group. The exercise is good, being out of the house feels great but the interaction with another person is the goal.
  13. Create a “Write your own Adventure” email. Start by writing the beginning of the story, a few paragraphs or a full page. Send that to a friend (include yourself in the CC: field). Ask them to add to the story and then send it to a friend of theirs (keeping the CC: list inclusive). Repeat the process. Watch the story unfold as the days go on.

Whatever you do, make an effort to connect with someone in a meaningful way, every day. For your own sake but also for the sake of others.

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