The term social distancing almost feels synonymous with isolation, with minimal social connection other than electronic communication and waving “Hi” from afar. Let’s face it, a virtual conversation is just not the same as sitting next to loved ones, colleagues, and friends. Text messages and emails frequently lack emotion (even with emojis) and can leave an unintended impression. The World Health Organization actually believes the phrase social distancing is more accurately described as physical distancing, and we couldn’t agree more. Emotional Connecting in a time of uncertainty is important for our overall well-being.
Our livelihood is based on meaningful experiences via meetings and events involving hundreds to thousands of people and incentive trips with group bonding and celebrating together—all of which is human connection at its finest. We realize the significance of an in-person connection can have on helping people and businesses thrive. With meeting venues turning to offer space for field hospitals as one example, businesses everywhere are finding ways to help humanity and finding ways to help, regardless of their own situation.
Harvard Medical School provides tips for practicing kindness and expressing gratitude in order to make the most of our situation. Let’s look at these plus more ways to turn social distancing into emotional connecting:
1. Take care of your own basic needs first.
- Every time we get on an airplane, we are reminded to put our own oxygen mask prior to helping others. New parents are always told to make time for themselves. In order to successfully contribute to others’ well-being, we must prioritize our own health.
- Revisit the passion you had growing up or find a new hobby or skill to focus on. Did you enjoy scrapbooking as a teen, or always wish you had continued with guitar lessons? Create new experiences by using items at your fingertips or learn a new skill (professional or personal) by watching tutorials or online.
2. Make time to enjoy nature and practice mindfulness.
If inclement weather is making it difficult to walk outside, spend a few minutes a day connecting with nature and spending time in the present:
- Visit your favorite landmark with an immersive experience with Street View by Google Maps.
- Watch these videos to bring nature to your home office.
- Schedule time each day to meditate for a fresh perspective.
- Pay attention to everything happening around you in the present moment. “The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present,” Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now.
3. Think about who you care about most and check in with them.
- Longtime friends, family members, employees, and colleagues will likely be on this list. Schedule time with them to connect over video and audio conferencing, or send a simple text or video message.
- It doesn’t have to be elaborate; simply checking in with each other is vital to ensuring others know they are not alone. Alternatively, sending a hand-written letter can brighten someone’s day and takes just a few minutes.
To maintain an appreciation for all we have in the world, Creative Group turns to two of our core values during this time:
- Heart– connecting deeply by engaging others with mutual respect, kindness, and compassion
- Grit– choosing to honor our commitments and achieve excellence, acting with tenacity and resilience.
Being separated doesn’t prevent us from partnering with clients to shift the timing of in-person gatherings or exploring non-meeting options to maintain momentum. Just because your meeting or incentive trip was postponed, doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to connect with partners and employees. As we adjust to our even broader reliance on technology and this present “normal,” we emerge with an even greater appreciation for face-to-face experiences and the joys of traveling to new and favorite destinations.