Connecting in a Socially Distancing World

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Editor’s Note: Zoom is desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects or have a family reunion online. Here is a video on how to use Zoom for free.

I received a Zoom video request to join my-in laws on a conference call for a quick family reunion. Not my thing, but after some thought, it was an excellent idea. Truthfully, I wasn’t in the state of mind to do a conference call with the family, but it was an inventive idea to reconnect and have fun. My sister-in-law hosted and was jovial; no drama ensued as we sipped on wine, pretty much like if were having dinner. We planned a vacation to rent a house on the beach; it felt darn good!

Before the coronavirus hit the nation, it was “business as usual.” The rat-race, work, family, grocery shopping and school activities. Then boom! Squash! Our worlds transformed into utter chaos with necessary social distancing, restaurant closings and limited essential supplies.

We have been very good at social distancing before COVID-19.

How many times did we acknowledge our neighbors outside of a nod of recognition when driving up the driveway? How many times did we message peeps on Facebook or text, someone, as we don’t want to bother with a phone call to say, “Happy Birthday?”

Isolation leads to depression

Many parents and single parents are working from home and taking care of their kids. Juggling so many tasks at once is stressful and can lead to depression. Additionally, people are being forced to remain indoors and many routines, vacations and leisure activities are disrupted. Any isolation for long periods affects mental health.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said isolation will increase depression and alcoholism, and more mental health issues. Northam, who is a doctor, added that Virginians can expect to see a rise in depression, alcoholism and domestic abuse. A National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief reported that eight percent of “adults older than 20 reported having depression during a given two-week period. Of that total, the prevalence of depression among women was almost double that seen in men.” Major depression is the second most debilitating condition, second to cardiovascular disease.

Again, reach out to others and tell them you are struggling. Facetime with them and chit-chat. Or start a family reunion via Zoom to feel part of a group. Our Action Place is a great way to start these groups. Our Action Place is a safe social media network for Christians to interact, connect, organize and be inspired with other likeminded Americans of faith. Download the Our Action Place app available from the Apple and Android stores to start your own prayer group and join other groups.

Remember that #SocialDistancing is not social isolation. Safe activities can involve:

-Taking a scenic drive
-Yardwork
-Going on a walk
-Calling or texting a friend or older neighbor
-Cooking a meal
-Virtual trivia nights
-Reading a good book
-Playing video games
-Streaming your favorite show
-Golfing
-Biking
-Walking your pet

As a side note: Technology is a vital tool; however, not everyone knows how to use computers or smartphones. Do it the old fashion way. Drop a card by your neighbor’s door to let them know if they want to talk, to reach out. Connect by sending letters, a note to let people know you care about them, or just call them.

Expressing affection, compassion and attachment are needed more than ever. Never let go of the time you have with loved ones. Today, this virus is a reminder to become closer, even if it means digitally closer.

Corine Gatti-Santillo

 

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