Staying connected with family and friends, and creating new connections within our community will help keep us strong.
A virus we can’t see has changed our world. All of sudden, events are cancelled and places we counted on are closed. Individually, our physical world is quite small, as we take on social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine to protect ourselves, our family and our community.
This strange and unfamiliar situation has people seeking new ways to connect while being apart. We’re fortunate, we have the advantage of modern technology to help us. Though this can raise questions about connection itself. How can we connect through technology? What is a true connection? Is it actually connection when we are not physically with each other? Some may find themselves asking “just how connected are we really – in our community, our country, across the world?”
This global pandemic is bringing tremendous loss. There’s no question about that. But it also has the ability to teach us about many things, including connection. For example, how to care for each other, how to slow down, and how to be with ourselves.
What I have noticed over the past few weeks, as the virus has made its way into our daily lives more and more, are the big feelings people are having around what is happening. These may be big feelings about restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centres closing temporarily. It can seem like the very heart of our community has closed. And for many people, their fears, such as fear of not having enough, can feel very real.
These feelings on top of anxiety, depression, grief or other losses we may already be dealing with can potentially become quite crippling. But we can combat these feelings with connection.
By creating and maintaining our connections with others, we give ourselves and each other the “space to be held” – the space to be there for each other and help each other through.
We need this space more than ever before. We need the check ins, the walks, and little texts from people we love reminding us we matter to them. We all need these touchpoints to remind us that we are OK and we are loved. We need to feel the warmth of a hug, even if it’s from a distance – on the phone, in an email, in social media or on a video call.
I encourage you to send that text when you find yourself thinking of someone you care about. Don’t hesitate. Just send the text, or pick up the phone and reach out to that person you love. Or that friend who lives alone. Offer to pick up groceries for a neighbour if they are in quarantine or have to be in isolation. No one on this planet has ever gone through an experience quite like this. We need compassion more than ever before. We need kindness more than we know. We need the ability to ask for help and to offer help. (Sidenote, if asking for help doesn’t come easily for you, practice can make it easier. Each time you ask, becomes a bit easier than the time before.)
At Steadfast Counselling, we’ve moved our client sessions to be video calls and phone calls for the time being. What I have experienced in online, video sessions is that this way of connecting can be quite powerful. I see my clients in their homes – with their animals and in their own environment. It can be quite comforting to be in your own space, your living room or bedroom, and sharing or processing your feelings and experiences.
Whether it’s a counselling session, a gab session with your BFF, or a check in with a relative, connecting via any technology will help give you strength and get each other through the challenges we’re all dealing with.
Nobody needs to be in this alone. You can connect and have support from wherever you are in the world. It’s true that Internet technology gives us many ways to be creative in how we connect. It’s also true that the phone works too! Connection matters. You matter. Reach out.
Wishing you all good health and love during this time.
Kayla is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor (RTC #2519) registered with the Association for Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada (ACCT). She graduated from Clearmind International and received a Diploma in Transpersonal Therapeutic Counselling.