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The banning of mass events and social distancing requirements taking place throughout the country right now might be leaving people feeling isolated. Personally, the only way I felt comfortable going from working in an office to work at home was because I had planned out activities for nearly every day of the week. Between library storytime, church and mom groups, I was never starved for adult interactions.
Then along came the coronavirus. And here I am alone with nowhere to go. So to feel as though I’m not losing my mind, I’m leaning heavily on digital communication and the great outdoors.
I live in Ohio where the actions our local government is taking are some of the strictest across the nation. A part of me is applauding the response. Another part of me is worried it’s sending our community into quite the panic. Much like other parts of the country, getting your hands on even a small package of toilet paper feels like a huge victory. And don’t even dream of purchasing canned goods because those seem to be a hot commodity.
But the reality is, we’re social beings. Yes, reducing in-person social interactions is necessary right now. And what that really means is, we need to do more personal and digital outreach to those in our network.
Why community is so important right now
Check in on your mom friends. If they work from home, chances are they are worried about their business or the possibility of losing their jobs.
Those that normally work in an office are likely working from home to reduce social interactions and they might feel a little stir crazy at this point. Help them know that they are not alone. To layer on more stress, their kids might be out of school for an extended time and working from home with their children is a whole new experience.
In Ohio, they’re currently putting students on a three-week extended spring break. And yet, our governor is also saying these students could potentially be out for the remainder of the school year. Kansas has already made the call that school will not resume for the remainder of this school year. Help support these moms in any way that you can while observing social distancing.
Stay-at-home moms might seem like a group of parents who are the most familiar with social isolation. But that doesn’t mean that they’re OK with it. And some who are like me take full advantage of social gatherings designed for moms to help alleviate some of the isolation that can come with stay-at-home motherhood.
In short, your friends and family need you right now. Send a text, call them up or use other means to stay in touch. It will be beneficial to both of you.
Parks and outdoor time
I’m thankful that the weather is breaking and despite having nowhere to go, we can get outside. Right now, my son is fascinated by sticks, leaves and acorns. Spending an hour or more outside is easy for him.
I’m trying to spend an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon outside with my son. That way, we both aren’t just inside all the time staring at the same 1,200 square feet of our home. And if we’re lucky, we might encounter some neighbors. Sure, there’s still social distancing, but at least we’re getting human interactions and an opportunity to at least wave and ask how they’re doing.
Facetime, Skype, Marco Polo and other video applications
I’m staying in touch with friends via video chat applications. Seeing people on screen is one step closer to authentic relationships than just texting or even phone calls. Again, remember that we’re social human beings. We were designed to interact with other people, so we need to keep up those social interactions in practical ways during these trying times.
I know it might mean more screen time for your little one. For me, I’ve decided that talking to aunts and uncles and grandparents on FaceTime doesn’t count right now toward total screen time for my toddler. But I get it, that’s a tough call to make and you have to do what you feel is best.
If you’re feeling lonely, tell others that you are. Reach out and do your best to keep your sanity throughout this whole thing. No one knows what to expect next because these are unprecedented times. What we do know is that we’re seeing some of the best community and caring coming out of this experience, and it’s truly heartwarming.