Social Distancing. How many times have you heard that term in the past week? The concept of staying home as much as possible and giving people a lot of space when you do go into public. Working from home. Closing schools. Avoiding all large gatherings. Birthdays, weddings and even funerals sometimes canceled.
You Understand the importance of social distancing….
You’ve seen the graphs. Right now, our goal is to have more physical distance between people so we slow down the spread of this new virus. We want to make sure everyone doesn’t get the illness at the same time and overflow our local ICUs. So…we’re on board with social distancing for the greater good….
But….Social distancing can feel isolating at first
I’ve heard therapists around the country talk about how their clients are reporting feeling more isolated. College students who are seniors and thought they had one more semester with their friends before graduation and moving away now find they have little to no time to say goodbye. Overnight all classes went online for the rest of the semester. People who live alone and find that most of their connection happens with colleagues now working from home and seeing hardly anyone face to face.
It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions during this time. Shock. Fear-for yourself and others. Anger at the new rules…or lack thereof. Sadness. Depression even.
However, you don’t have to feel cutoff.
Connection is a basic human need. It’s important that you still feel supported and close to others. If you don’t find ways to feel connected during this stressful time, you may find yourself getting more depressed.
But, in the age of modern technology social distance does NOT have to mean social isolation.
Way to feel connected with others during COVID 19:
Use FaceTime and Video Chat
Technology can be an amazing tool to help you feel connected. The research part of me used to be doubtful that online counseling could really work. We know how importance the therapist/client relationship is and how on earth could you form as good of a therapeutic bond without meeting face to face? Well….I started to look at the research awhile back when friends of mine raved about the power of online counseling. Turns out they were right. They shared research articles with me where studies showed that therapists and clients can form strong, real relationships through the use of video chat technology!
I’ve seen the power of this in my own life. My little ones feel like they’re really close to their great grandma. But the truth is that we rarely make the trip up to see her. They feel that closeness, because they frequently FaceTime her. It probably helps that she sends them stickers in the mail on holidays, but most of their relationship is based on those FaceTime conversations.
So…now is a great time for you to up your Facetime/Video Chat game. The friends you’d normally hang out with? Try FaceTime. Working from home? Create a virtual water cooler time where you meet on Zoom at the end of the day for a few minutes.
Send Cards….through snail mail
Try good old fashioned hand written cards. Everyone loves to receive mail. And handwritten notes make a person feel special. So, trying sending one out.
Spend quality time with those in your household
It’s amazing how often we get busy and don’t truly connect with the people under our own roof. Try putting down your phone and spending quality time connecting with your own household. Play a board game with your roommates. Try making dinner with your spouse based on random ingredients in your house “Chopped” style. Color a picture with your child. Ask your teen to teach you a new video game.
Share your feelings
It’s normal to have all kinds of feelings when something like this happens. So, try sharing those. Call a friend, write in a journal or have an online counseling session with your therapist.
Go for a walk
Yesterday I took my kiddos on a quick walk. It was SO NICE just to get out of the house. And we saw a few other people out. We gave each other space but would wave and converse across the street. “It’s nice to get out!” “Stay healthy!” “Where’s the Sun?” or “Cute dog!” (my kiddos comment).
At one point, my son asked why we were talking to people we didn’t know. I kind of laughed to myself and said, “Because kiddo everyone we see if our friend right now.” I’m honestly pretty friendly anyway. But it’s true that right now we’re all going through a shared experience. So truly, just yelling hi and waving across the street can help us feel connected…almost like we’re instant friends. And right now that connection to other human beings, no matter how small, is valuable.
Additional Support through Online Counseling in Missouri
If you find yourself feeling isolated and struggling, online counseling might be able to help. Especially if you start to notice symptoms of depression such as feeling hopeless, sleeping all day or not feeling interested in anything.
If you are located anywhere in the state of Missouri, our therapists can help. Whether you’re in Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis or right here in Columbia, the therapists at Aspire Counseling can help. Here’s how you get started at Aspire Counseling:
1) Call 573-328-2288 or contact our client care coordinator through e-mail (email@example.com) or our contact form.
2) Meet with one of our Telehealth therapists over our secure video chat platform for a free consultation to make sure it’s the right therapeutic fit.
3) Work with your therapist to create a treatment plan to help you begin your journey to feeling better.
So, fill reach out to us now. And in the meantime, check out our page all about our online counseling services in Missouri. So, you can stop worrying about how to get high quality counseling services and get one step closer to getting the support, clarity and healing you deserve!