Like a number of other people, I also dislike the term ‘Social Distancing’ and prefer ‘Physical Distancing’ instead. While this term essentially is about maintaining a safe distance from others to stop or slow down the transmission rate of the pandemic, some unintentionally connect it with ‘social isolation’. This has sadly, in some cases, led to anxiety, depression and stigmatisation of those tested COVID positive.
Humans are by nature social animals, needing the human touch and connect in order to stay balanced and happy. We are all aware that solitary confinement is one of the most punishing forms of imprisonment. So what can we do to ensure that our circle of loved ones do not go through a feeling of isolation in these tough times? How can we reach out to our big human family and make sure nobody has to go through isolation or a feeling of exclusion?
Here are some ways in which we can effectively respond to the current crisis:
It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of each other, that makes us human. By putting it into practice in these times, not only will we benefit others but also ourselves, as we will end up feeling more connected. There are simple ways to build empathy:
- Being Aware: These times present varied challenges to many around. Some may have lost their jobs, some could be struggling with handling kids while some could be dealing with mental pressures and anxiety. There could be people around us who need to be checked upon, be it an ailing neighbour or elderly citizens living all by themselves. We could help, either by doing something for them directly, or by connecting them to an organisation that can provide assistance.
- Putting Ourselves in Other’s shoes: If we try to put ourselves in the shoes of the health-workers, doctors, or people who are getting stretched with added responsibilities, we would surely become more kind, considerate and would find ways to reach out.
- Charity: Charity means putting our empathy into action. We can donate food supplies or money to organisations which are doing relief-work for COVID and be extra considerate towards our house-help or staff, doing our bit to sustain their families. We can also be considerate to the needs of animals and birds. Most of us have birds visiting us at our windows or balconies. Why not feed them when they visit!
Research shows that being around positive people can improve our mood and reduce our stress levels. In good old days, humans stayed connected through handwritten letters and eventually evolved with the help of technology to other advanced ways. Well, how about reviving it now. Pen a letter to your friend, or encourage kids to write letters to teachers, friends or grandparents.
While Covid has made it difficult for many to be physically present around loved ones, nothing stops us from keeping a vibrant connect alive! We are blessed with ample technology and this is the perfect time to put it to use.
- Pick up the phone and call your friend or relative! Apart from the conventional voice calls, technology has also enabled video calls which are free on most platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and FaceTime (for iPhone users). Needless to mention ‘Zoom’, ‘Skype’ and ‘Google Hangouts’. Be a listener and hear people out, and express yourself too.
- There are a host of interesting apps today, most of them free, even for hosting parties or events. ‘Netflix Parties’, available for free through the Chrome browser, is a fun way to watch Netflix shows and movies with friends. ‘Houseparty’ is an increasingly popular video group-chatting app for smart phones, where in addition to chatting face-to-face you can play interactive games too.
sending GOOD VIBES
The world is already going through enough stress and worries, so there is a pressing need for people who can balance out the negativity by radiating good vibes. We could be that person.
- By practicing meditation or any other relaxation techniques, we can release the stress and toxins in our system and ensure we stay positive. The next step then, is to share our positivity with the world. By sitting for a few minutes in silence, we can visualise that our positive energy is radiating all around, and the Earth is being healed and restored.
- Healers all over the world are blessing and healing the Earth, and praying for the world to be rid of the pandemic. We do not need to be certified healing practitioners to play a part. Energy follows intention. If we keep an intention in our heart to bless people with healing and good health, that positive energy will bring surely a positive outcome.
- While stepping out if we need to, we can make it a point to greet people with a nod or a cheerful ‘Hello’, even while wearing a mask. Sometimes, one gesture on our part is enough to bring a smile on someone’s lips or to make someone’s day. If we greet someone with smiling eyes, even though our face is hidden, we can still establish a human connect and show that we care.
Thus in small, yet effective ways, it is possible to the source of light and positivity in the lives of those who are going through a hard time during this pandemic. Let’s not lose our human touch, but instead, let’s work towards strengthening and nourishing it!
All crisis in the past have presented human beings with an opportunity to come out as a better, more united race and this one is no different. This is time for us to open up our hearts and respond to the pleas of our fellow humans in need. We can make a difference!