This year has certainly made it challenging to stay connected with one another. It’s safe to say that many of us experienced what it’s like to be suddenly disconnected from friends, family, and co-workers during the lockdown that happened in BC in late March this year. Depending on our circumstances, we may still be feeling isolated from others, seven months later. According to Stephen Porges, originator of the Polyvagal Theory, emotional connection translates to safety in our nervous systems. If you think about it, our human species has always relied on the support and interaction with others to survive. If emotional connection translates to safety, then what does disconnection, or isolation translate to? If you guessed feeling unsafe, fear, or lonliness, you are on the right track. According to our nervous systems, isolation throws us into survival mode. When we experience isolation over a prolonged period of time, it can lead to mental, emotional, and physical unwellness.
If you are struggling with your mental, emotional and physical health during the pandemic, you are certainly not alone. Maybe things have gotten a little better since COVID-19 arrived in BC, but you are afraid that things may get worse again with the second wave. There are many ways that you can take care of yourself, including maintaining connection to increase your sense of safety and overall wellness.
Ways to nurture your human need for connection during the pandemic:
- Hugs! Hug everyone who is in your bubble
- Write a letter to someone who you are missing
- Plan Zoom or FaceTime catch-ups with family members
- If you have a pet, play and cuddle with them daily
- Dance and play with your children or partner
- Go for walks outside in nature
- Find an exercise buddy
- Meet friends and family in a socially distanced space
- Watch sports on TV
- Play online games with friends
- Start or join an online book, art, or music club
- Do an act of kindness for someone
- Gift giving can increase our sense of connection
Can you think of any other ways to nurture your need for connection? Please provide them in a comment below!
If you are struggling with your mental health, you don’t have to go through it alone. Reach out to us and one of our counsellors will get back to you: firstname.lastname@example.org