Navigating Isolation to create deeper connections

Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to connect on a deeper level, be more present and learn to love ourselves.

Human beings, we are social creatures. It doesn't matter how introvert you identify, we all crave community, friends, family, connection and touch. So much so that isolation can be used as a punishment from young children to terrifying convicted felons. We don't do well on our own and yet in this current climate we are being told to confine yourselves to isolation. It is no wonder why so many of us are struggling, but you don't have to. With the technology we have today as well as time on our hands many of us can still connect in meaningful ways with ourselves and others.

The question now becomes; how can we use this time to stay united and create deeper connections?

Be present

These are testing times, yes, but every hurdle in life can be seen as a disaster or an opportunity to learn and grow. So many of us, myself included, took many of the connections in our lives for granted. I could go a month without talking to my family, weeks without catching up with friends and when I finally did when I finally did hang out with them, rather than savour my meal and truly listen, I would be scrolling Instagram. Pre-isolation, I rushed from one place to the next never really seeing or appreciating my relationships to the full extent.

We now all have the opportunity to be as present as possible with our loved ones. While we may not be able to physically touch or be in the same room as our family and friends we can still connect. The important part now is to remember when we do connect to be fully present with them. Stop looking at your phone, turn off the TV and start actively listening. This is the perfect time to ask open ended, meaningful questions and actually take the time to listen to what they have to say on the topic. You may just find that your relationship with that person deepens.

Staying in touch

Today there are so many different ways we can connect whether we text, call, like, comment or subscribe. While some of these might be great ways for you to catch up with a friend today's technology allows us to do so much more.

Some of the most popular applications for virtually hanging out right now are;

  • Skype

  • Zoom and,

  • House party

Each have their own subtle difference but basically all three options here allow you to virtually interact and 'see' with multiple people at once. You then have apps like;

  • WhatsApp

  • Messenger and,

  • Telegram

Which allow large group chats to occur.

Social life?

While we can all continue posting on social media it is pretty safe to say that our social lives are pretty much non-existent right now. That is okay, because I believe our definition of 'social life' can change at least for now. We can still be social through these virtual sites. Have a girls night where wine bottles are popped, cheese and dip are consumed and face masks fill your screen. It's time to get creative; hold a dance party, get everyone to download the same game or movie, even host home workouts using YouTube videos as your guide. Your social life as you knew it is not dead, its just changing. You may have even noticed you now say hello to people you pass on the street.

Love yourself

The hardest part about isolation is learning to be okay on our own. It's a tricky task and one that many of us don't explore until we are faced with a situation much like this when we are literally alone trying to figure out life. Whether it's a solo trip to Italy, a hard break up or isolation, learning to love yourself and being okay alone is something we all should work on. We tend to get caught up in life and in time we can feel lost and without a purpose. Quickly we lose sight of our intention and no mater how good life is; the house, car, jewellery and endless shoes, it all stops making us feel happy.

"To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness" - Robert Morely

Now is the best time to connect back to the real 'us' and rediscover what we actually enjoy, how we really feel and what is truly important to us? Many of us, if not all can use this time to reassess our values and ask if our pre-isolation life really aligned with those values. If so, awesome! If not, what small changes can be made to ensure that when life does resume we can live your best life?

Times are tough yes, but you can improve this time by staying positive and being that light for your friends and family. While being positive is something I'm sure many of us are doing now, I also encourage you to spend some time focusing on acceptance. Accept that this may suck, but it is where we are at the moment and that is okay. Don’t spend your precious (although possibly more abundant) time planning for when this will all be over, take each day as it comes. The book: A Vietnam Experience: 10 years of reflection by James B Stockdale explains why this is important. It explains how Stockdale survived being a prisoner of war for 7 years in which he attributes his success to his constant belief that he would get out at some point, and the fact that he was not an optimist. According to him the people that suffered the most were the optimistic that were certain of their soon release. As the presumed release date came and went the optimistic were filled with disappointment and this ate at them. We will get through this together, there is a light at the en of the tunnel but accept that this is where we are and live each day as gracefully as possible.

Quick tips:

  • Download one of the virtual meeting apps and set a time to 'hang out' with the people that mean most to you. Be present and actively listen to what they are saying.

  • Ask more open ended questions. Questions that don't have a yes or no answer.

  • Review your values, if you don't know what they are take a test, I love Dr Demartini's value determination process. See how closely your values align to your life currently and pre-isolation

  • Stay positive but also accept our current situation

  • Journal - I find this is a great way to access and better understand the thoughts running around in my head. Once I start to understand these I can begin to connect to myself more.

I really hope this article helps you take back some control over your day to day life and connect back to yourself and others. If you have any questions or would like any extra help in this area please contact me, I am here to help! Alternatively you could click here and find out for yourself how 1-on-1 health coaching could benefit you. There's a free initial session waiting for you.

Be happy, healthy and kind,

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© 2023 Britany Dovenor Health.