Today’s blog, continues our self-care series with a focus on social self-care. Of all the areas we have focused on so far, social self-care might be the one that has changed most drastically and been difficult to attend to this year. Living amid a global pandemic where we have been encouraged to socially distance, steer clear of big gatherings, cancel or reschedule events like weddings, funerals, and parties, many of us have taken a hit to our social lives. Reducing time spent in-person with friends, family, coworkers, etc., and even saying goodbye to some interactions with others such as sitting near people in coffee shops, restaurants, out and about across town or even out in nature hiking or camping. Socializing has looked different and many have been left interacting through technology, with more limitations, and some perhaps not interacting with others much at all.
Technology has offered a lot of people opportunities to socialize, but some folx may not have as much or any access to technology at all which has inevitably made isolation a more significant reality. We are social beings, so doing our best to make adjustments, follow guidelines, remain safe, and continue to attend to our social needs is important. Below you will find a few ideas for pandemic-friendly social self-care.
Do what you normally would, but through video!
- Video chat + dinner (or breakfast or any meal, tea, or coffee) gatherings as you would have potentially done in person.
- Game nights can be done virtually! Some people have said they enjoyed virtually playing Scattergories, Dungeons and Dragons, and even Pictionary utilizing Zoom or Google Hangouts whiteboard features with friends, family members, or other groups.
- Join a MeetUp group! This may include online groups such as those mentioned above and I have also seen groups offering workouts, card games, board games, and role-playing games, drawing, writing, learning languages, yoga, meditation, book clubs, and more!
- Host or join a virtual social gathering. This may be an affinity group, religious or spiritual group, coworker hangouts or holiday parties, book clubs, etc.
Although different from in-person get-togethers, these video/virtual substitutions can still be socially fulfilling. I have found that the feeling of being less “normal” and maybe even a little awkward at first can melt away once the socializing gets rolling. One tip for these sorts of gatherings is to schedule the time with others, just as you would if it were in person. When it comes to self-care and meeting our needs, having it clearly laid out, scheduled, and anticipated often makes it all the easier to stay committed to engaging in it.
Connect through non-video formats
- Text! This may look like simply texting someone to say, “I am thinking of you!” or “Hi, I know it has been a while, but I just wanted to reach out and see how you are doing?” or even “I wanted to let you know that your involvement in my life (whether a long time ago or recent) has really made a difference! Thank you!”.
- Call! This could be spending time reconnecting with an old friend or family member through a phone call.
- Write! This might be writing a good old-fashioned letter or card to someone. Even if we do not receive a response, it can feel good to reach out and connect with people that we share this life with.
When considering your social needs, and reflecting on how to incorporate social self-care, it may be helpful to reflect on your past and current support systems:
- Who in your life can you count on?
- Who is there for you?
- What kind of people do you enjoy spending your time with?
- What sorts of activities do you enjoy doing with others?
If you are feeling isolated, it might be important to recognize who these individuals are in your life and find ways to stay connected or get reconnected. It can feel difficult to be the one to initiate contact, especially if you are feeling lonely or disconnected, but taking this courageous step may lead you into a new place of caring for yourself and prioritizing your overall health and wellbeing.
If you are feeling unsure of how to get your social needs met and want to gain insight into your relationship patterns and interpersonal skills, feel free to reach out to us today to schedule a free phone consultation. We love helping people get to know themselves better and learn how to build and maintain healthy relationships in their lives!