Connection, how do we find it?
In today’s world of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, when we can no longer go to gatherings of more than 5 or, at most, 10 people, and when we are required to stay 6 feet away from everyone, (except those we actually live with) and where rules dictate that we have to wear masks when we do go out…how do we rise above the day-to-day struggle and stay engaged and healthy?
We are all seeking remedies to our loneliness and isolation, and we are beginning to see that a return to focusing on our families and loved ones, balanced with an altruistic approach to each day, can help lift us up and renew our spirit.
Do you know that…
1 in 3 U.S. adults is lonely?
The effects of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day?
Isolation and loneliness are connected to anxiety, sleep disorders, falls, cognitive decline, and symptoms of depression?
These startling facts from the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the US Health Resources & Services Administration, and the book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, are especially poignant in our current time of crisis as we “shelter-in-place” and have little or no real social connection.
Rather than letting restrictions and rules limit our thinking and actions, let’s look at what we can do. Ask “who do I know that I could call, or write to, or do something for today or tomorrow?” The answer stimulates our thinking and makes us get creative. When we do this we try something new rather than the usual, and we become inspired and recharged.
Whether we cook a new recipe, paint, draw, adopt a pet, or meditate. If we take a walk on a different path, try a new exercise, read a great book. We could keep a gratitude journal, sew, knit, repair something, learn a new technology, or plant a garden. Doing these things, we can then share them which sets off a chain reaction that inspires others.
At our AEC Living communities, Waters Edge Lodge and Elders Inn, we are keeping our social connections active through reduce-sized learning and exercise classes, smaller, more frequent movie showings, daily personal packets with art, crossword, word games, mobility exercises, and information, “through-the-glass” meetings, iPad video calls with family & friends, and creating opportunities for something to look forward to every day. We encourage you to reach out and stay connected too!