The lockdowns and economic impact as well as having too much time on our hands, and perhaps too much time alone, feeling isolated, has left many facing emotions they haven’t really addressed before. I don’t know about you, but zoom calls and online events just don’t hold the same appeal as real social gatherings do. I miss the interaction, I miss going to a football game, the smell of hotdogs, going to a state fair, or heck, just my favorite happy hour on a Friday night. While some of us are able to do patio seating or tent dining, that feeling of camaraderie just isn’t the same when you have to worry about the potential spread of a deadly virus. While a girl does need a cheeseburger now and then, I’d rather do take-out than risk a virus taking me out. And yes, I tend to stick to text messages, video calls, and DM’s, but we are all lacking connection, aren’t we?
Mental health is my biggest concern during this time. Many people aren’t sleeping, they have trouble focusing, or sometimes show early signs of depression. We weren’t programmed for being alone. Even I’ve had to step up my personal self-care routine, maybe turn off that phone earlier, go for a walk, get a change of scenery. Rather than ask how friends are doing, I ask them “Hey, how’s your self-care going, anything I can do to help?” Sometimes they will talk, and it’s an easy way to show that you really care. It’s hard enough being single, attempting to maintain normalcy in a time when normal is anything but; sometimes, just a few words shared, or an antidote of how one got through a troubling time, can build rapport with someone who is feeling out of sorts. It can ease anxiety, knowing that someone else is exactly on the same page. While no one has all the answers, it is good to mull through those doubts and uncertainty with a non-judgemental friend.
I have a few very close friends that I have been turning to at this time. They are tried and true, have been through enough fire in their own life to know exactly how to put things that we are all going through into perspective. They give me mental resilience. They always have a positive outlook on the situation at hand. They let me know in their own way that I am heard, that I’m understood and I matter. They also say that they are proud of me, and that really is all I need, to know that what I’m doing is seen. I try to give the same thing back to others. I want them to know that I’m there for them, I don’t just care about how their day went, I want to know what I can do to make tomorrow even better. I want them to feel heard as well.
There is some thing to be said for just mentally checking in with someone. To offer the time to just be there, to listen, to sound things out with them when they need it. That is the heart offriendship and the heartbeat of really loving someone, meeting them where they are at in the moment and saying it’s okay to feel this way.
Friends don’t let friends sit alone.