Reaching out during Covid-19
The power of connection and the importance of reaching out to others during the Covid-19 pandemic. By Guinavere Elizabeth Long
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has deeply affected all of us.
The effects on our economy, employment and daily lives, as well as the illness itself and the death it has caused have infiltrated our thoughts, conversations, social media, and news coverage.
I think we can agree social distancing is important — but so too is continued interaction. Particularly when we’re not ‘seeing’ each other as much as we used to.
Conversations that might arise organically just aren’t given the same opportunity with the lack of face-to-face interaction.
‘Reaching out’ is a skill we’re expected to know, but are never taught. It doesn’t necessarily come naturally to everyone, and hasn’t even been modelled for many.
We may not even question our loved ones’ ability to express fear, doubt or concern, especially if they have been able to in the past .
However, many want to appear strong and above the fray of confusion and panic. Unfortunately, silence and suppression of these feeling doesn’t always cure the situation, especially with increasing exposure to the factors causing them.
I’ve learned the importance of not dismissing others, or even our own feelings, and in reaching out to all in a healthy way.
First, let’s accept how we feel. To have the internal dialogue regarding our own anxiety over the coronavirus and rationalise it, rather than letting it take over our thought processes. Am I doing what I can to make myself and others safe? Am I washing my hands, staying away from others, minimising grocery trips?
Understand that everything else is out of your control and accept it. Be honest with yourself in your own internal dialogue and when seeking out others to talk about it.
When reaching out to others for yourself, it’s perfectly fine to be blunt and straight to the point.
Pick someone you trust, are comfortable with, and who you feel will be a positive influence. Just ‘venting’ can be good, but we should strive to be constructive in our interactions. Resolve to check in with each other daily, weekly or on whatever schedule allows for each party to feel neither needy nor burdensome.
Normally it can be exhausting to find the right place and time for these types of conversations but texting in the age of social distancing can allow for expressing oneself effectively in this manner.
Unfortunately, we as a society often place a negative connotation on ‘attention seeking’ behaviour. Such ‘attention seeking’ can arise simply from a lack of the basic social skills that allow most of us to ask for help in an appropriate manner.
It’s easy to forget to check in with others that aren't checking in with us, particularly as we isolate ourselves physically.
So, let’s agree it’s acceptable to overtly ask if we are all alright emotionally and physically as the Covid-19 pandemic plays itself out — be it a personal, safe outlet, a private message, a call, a text or even a letter.
Let’s take a moment and think of our most isolated, silent friends and family members and make an effort to reach out for their sake as well as our own.