Staying Together While Apart
Maintaining relationships during times of social distancing
Habit number 7 is: Sharpen the Saw. Sharpening the saw is taking time to do what’s best for us individually, so we have the strength to give to others. Sharpening the saw focuses on four parts of self: physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional. Notice how social is tied with emotional as one part of self? That’s because it’s vital to our health that we maintain strong relationships. People are meant for people. So what do we do now that we’re all social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19? We need to plan time for others.
Plan Time For Self
Even though you may be together with immediate family more than you’re used to, it’s important that you continue to set personal goals and set aside time to work on them. You may choose to read a book, work in the garden, or take long walks—anything that will allow you to exercise, reflect, and refresh so you can support those you love.
Plan Time For Immediate Family
Your immediate family may still be living under your roof. If so, they may also be under your skin by now. That’s all the more reason to set aside time for each person individually. Even a few hours spread out throughout the week can mean a lot. Talk with them regularly to determine what’s on their mind. Include them in your weekly planning sessions and set aside time to help them with their goals.
If your immediate family has already moved out on their own, you’ll want to schedule regular contact with them so they know they’re on your mind. Be sure to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other events. It’s also great to call them just to say hello and wish them luck any day of the week.
Plan Time For Extended Family
Keep your parents and grandparents in close contact. Make sure they know that you’re thinking about them. Contact them before you go shopping so you can get what they need while you’re out. Set up regular conference calls, Zoom or Skype meetings to include them in your activities. Order food delivery to your home and their home, and have dinner “together” via facetime.
Keep in touch with your siblings and cousins via text message or video sharing apps like Marco Polo. When you can, schedule times to get outdoors together for a bike ride, hike, or fishing trip. If you aren’t in an area where that sort of activity is possible, plan time for conversations or even online gaming.
Plan Time for Neighbors
If your neighbors have a yard project, get out and help. You can do a lot in a yard while maintaining a safe distance. When appropriate, fire up the grill in your driveway and have a small neighborhood gathering. If it isn’t appropriate, call them just to see how they’re doing.
Plan Time for Friends
Keep up with your friends via video chats, handwritten cards, gifts, or virtual dinners. You may even want to set up a digital book club, or play games together online.
Relationships are valuable. They bring a sense of completion into your life. Being secluded from others can cause serious distress. Make sure you keep yourself whole by including others in your life—even if it’s only at a safe distance.