Social Distancing Doesn’t Mean Total Isolation

How to Keep Engaged With Others During the Current Pandemic

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I confess, I’m a self-proclaimed extrovert. And while I’m accustomed to working from home and holding virtual meetings via Zoom and Skype, being unable to personally interact with people is killing me.

Nonetheless, for the past 11 days, I’ve been isolating in the house. I’m one of the people that stocked up on food and all the necessities in preparation for lockdown. I already had enough toilet paper to sustain me for six months, so I was “all good” in that area.

Like most of us, the stress of the coronavirus has been exhausting, distracting, and at times paralyzing as I wake up each day to the news and hear about more and more lives lost to this pandemic. I’ve also canceled three trips—a Thailand vacation, a women’s business conference in Nashville (a tornado also hit that), and a trip to Florida I was so looking forward to taking. Don’t even ask about the financial impact of this.

In addition to keeping myself busy helping clients with their crisis communications, I’ve been finding ways to cope with this new normal, so I don’t feel so isolated. Here are five things that have helped me:

  1. Daily Facetime Calls with Family and Friends—I’ve made it a point to reach out to family and friends every day—especially the older ones. It not only helps me connect with those I care about but gives me a chance to get updates. 
  2. Virtual Happy Hour—Good friends of ours organized a virtual happy hour with five other couples. It was fun. While I’m used to this technology, my husband initially didn’t understand that we would be on camera. Once he got the gist of it, he decided to dress up with a straw hat and sunglasses like we were joining our friends in Florida. Everyone had their drinks and snacks in front of them. One of the couples even connected from their boat. 
  3. Virtual Dance Parties—I’m the least comfortable with Instagram even though I have an account. However, I’ve ventured on the site and participated in DJ Nice’s dance party. I figured if it was good enough for Michelle Obama, Oprah and Gayle King, then it’s good enough for me. I also took Debbie Allen’s virtual salsa class.
  4. Binge Movie Watching—Under normal circumstances, I’m not big on TV watching. It’s usually on as background noise. The only show I watch regularly is “This Is Us.” I even participated in a Facebook Watch Party with some friends from around the country for the finale. Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the 30 for 30 Michael Vick story, Madame CJ Walker’s story, and I’m currently in the second season of “All American” on Netflix. 
  5.  Spending Quality Time with My Husband—My cousin sent me a meme that said, “Day 2 without sports. Found a lady sitting on my couch. Apparently, she’s my wife. She seems nice!” That about sums it up in my house. I’m married to a sports guy who loves anything that bounces or rolls. When they recently canceled all sports events, I thought he was going to go into a deep depression. However, during this time, we’ve had more quality time together—cooking, cleaning, playing games, and just general conversation. I’ve even watched some of his sports commentator shows! It’s been fun, and I think I’ll keep this guy!

Let me know how you’ve been spending your social distancing time?   

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