Staying Connected in Challenging Times
Even in the best of times, change is hard. And right now, the Covid-19 pandemic is throwing rapid and continuous change at us on all fronts.
With all this change and uncertainty, it’s no wonder so many of us feel exhausted. Worse yet, no one knows how long this situation might last and what life will be like when we emerge from this crisis.
So, last week I sent an email to my community asking about the biggest challenge people are facing in this new environment when it comes to their work, job or career.
I did this because I’m looking for ways to support people in this time of challenge and need. And it seemed sensible to start by finding out what people are facing.
The Biggest Takeaway
I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the readers who’ve shared their stories and biggest challenges. Thank you. I’ve read each and every one of them.
Next week I’ll share the main themes and my advice on what you can do if you’re facing the same challenges.
But today, I’d like to share my biggest overall takeaway so far which is this:
We are all facing challenges right now and we all need support.
Even those who have enough toilet paper and canned foods to survive Armageddon (as in the end of the world, not the movie!) have struggles.
For example, some families are living in cramped apartments without access to fresh air, while others are living alone and feeling isolated. Airline and restaurant employees wonder if they’ll have jobs to go back to while healthcare workers are working overtime and risking their lives every day to do their jobs.
In my case, I run a business where a significant portion of our revenues are from in-person workshops and events. In a matter of weeks, they’ve all been postponed or cancelled – rightfully so – and a large chunk of our income has suddenly dried up.
My challenge right now is to make sure I can keep supporting my awesome team financially and emotionally. The weight of responsibility I feel toward my team has never been greater.
And this leads to another challenge: managing my own mental state so I can think straight, be creative, come through for my team, and serve my community.
So if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, worried, fearful or uncertain right now, especially if you’re the leader that others are looking to for stability, I understand. And I want to reassure you that you are not alone.
Isolated but Not Alone
Feeling alone is especially damaging because when it comes to our basic human needs, belonging is right at or near the top of the list.
And while “social distancing” keeps you physically isolated and apart from others, it doesn’t mean you are alone in the world with no help or interaction with people. The key is to stay connected with other people.
There are so many ways to do that, but what matters is finding those ways that help you to feel connected and not alone.
Are you a “cat” or “puppy”?
We’re all different in terms of social needs. Or as my daughter said last week, some of us are like cats (perfectly happy being left alone) while others are more like puppies (wanting to play and be part of the pack).
For those of us who are more “puppy”-like (or know people who are), think about how to join in or take the initiative to reach out to others. It could be a short email, text message or call to see how they’re doing. Or it could be setting up a virtual book club that meets via video conference call. And see if you can get the interaction you need while respecting the boundaries of those who are “cats”.
In these times, social media can be a great tool for connecting. Like participating in viral social media challenges and tagging friends to do that same, setting up a WhatsApp chat group or having a daily 10-minute FaceTime or Zoom call with friends to lift each other up.
For the “cats”, it’s recognizing when the “puppies” in your life need a little more connection with you and being generous if you can while still getting time for yourself. And since “cats” need human connection too, don’t neglect your “cat” friends and colleagues as they’re less likely to reach out to you!
Whatever challenges you’re facing, the key is to stay connected to others. Use whatever channels you have and embrace the technologies that help you reach out to others, whether that’s video, phone calls, text message, social media, email or good old “snail mail”.
And when you do reach out to connect, show empathy and compassion. While our immediate challenges may be different, we’re all in this situation together.
How are you staying (safely) connected with people?
Leave a comment and let me know.
This is excellent advice!!! I am definitely a puppy, but I know many cats as well, and it truly is important to keep both involved!
I am a puppy with too many cats in my circle. This time of social distancing has been insightful for me. I’m calling, texting and setting up/attending virtual gatherings. Grateful for family members and friends who are also puppies 🙂
I would probably consider myself a puppy, although at times I’m purrfectly happy being a cat. We returned from a 2 week vacation in FL right as everything was starting to escalate in the US. My company was told to work from home as of my first day back.
I immediately started reaching out people suggesting talking by phone or using Zoom, FB messenger, etc. for a more personal touch. It definitely has helped. We are getting groceries delivered so we will order and drop off to my mom and my neighbor, as they are both higher risk.
Generally checking in with people and doing my best to stay in touch. Sort of ironic that I am a puppy considering I am most definitely a “crazy cat lady”
Stay safe everyone!
I am definitely a puppy. Staying in contact with friends. Reaching out by text asking people how they are.
Trying to be sunny around my retarded brother lives with me.
Hope you and your faughter are well and noth you are thinking positive. Betyer days appear.
Many thanks May for a Fabulous Post!! Great Tweets! Wishing you and your Family Good Health, Happiness and Safety and the same to ALL of your Wonderful Readers and Friends. – Barry from the UK! This is a link that I have shared with you May to my Daily Motivational and Inspirational Quotes, I also do a Super Sunday ShoutOut. If any of your lovely readers would like a ShoutOut for anyone who may be alone or Family they cannot get to please let me know? I am also on Twitter @barryhallp This is not an advertisement May! I love to Help and Motivate people. Keep up the Great Work May. Barry Hall https://youtu.be/9oH2L2fs7G0
Sorry my Twitter handle is @barryhall9 Thank you.
May, thank you for reminding us the importance of staying connecting with those in our lives and making sure that we are taking care of ourselves as well.
MAY………………………………………….STAYING CONNECTED TO OTHERS AND REACHING OUT IS SO IMPORTANT.