COVID-19: The Importance of Connection
Author: Alana Clow, BSc Psychology
Hi Everyone! I am Alana Clow, the counselor at the Family Resource Centre. In an attempt to keep us all safe and flatten the curve, as they say, we have closed our office to the public. Our office is closed but my heart remains open and willing to continue to support you as we navigate this great unknown together. I am currently working from home and my office number is forwarded to my cell. If you want to learn some ways to decrease the anxiety you are feeling (along with most of the world), set up a mental health safety plan, vent or just connect with another human being, I am here for you. Please call the office at 306 634-7234 to set up a time to connect.
One way, I would like to support and be of service to you is to offer you some simple, easy to do coaching/counselling activities to support you in the days and weeks to follow. These are some of the methods, tools, exercises that I share with clients in session and that I use myself to stay mentally healthy. The topic I have chosen for today is: Connection.
I am curious about some of the great ways you are staying connected. Who are you connecting to? How are you doing it? How often? As seen Maslow`s Hierarchy of Needs, once our foundation of physiological and safety needs (food, water and a roof over our heads) are met, we need to feel a connection with others.
Fortunately, there has never been a better time in our lives than right now to maintain connection while keeping a distance physically. Some of the ways I am choosing to connect are as follows:
1. In person with my husband, self-quarantining on the main floor of our house eating meals together, playing crib, cooking and chasing our dogs with treats and leashes when they made a break for it out the front door. (Standing in the school grounds, we showed our rescue dog the leash and collar and said, “Let’s go for a walk.” He came bounding over to us, ready to get his gear on. Our daughter’s older, wiser escape artist, golden retriever took off on a dead run, only to return 2.5 hours later, covered in mud, to get a drink of water and have a lengthy nap).
2. Over the phone to my 87 year old mother in the fantastic senior housing, Sunset Haven, in Carnduff, SK. They continue to play bingo while practicing social distancing. She is in good hands! … I just got off the phone with her and found out my cousin’s daughter who lives in California, tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing all the symptoms for 3 or 4 days is now coming out the other side of it, breathing much easier. Great to hear these stories of hope!
3. Facetiming with my daughter who is quarantined in our basement after returning from university. Today is day 6 (marking it off on the calendar) and so far all is good, touch wood!
4. Talking and texting with coworkers as we continue our attempts to provide personal service to others wanting to connect.
Today, I invite you to set up a connection plan, a schedule for when you will connect to others. I find these schedules easier to stick to when I write them on a calendar, in a date book, in an electronic calendar or just on a sheet of paper. You do you – whatever you know works best (maybe it’s setting an alarm or a timer).
1. How many people would you like to connect with on a daily basis? (And I do encourage daily)
2. Who will you contact? Friends, family, mental health professional? Maybe now is a great opportunity to contact the friends you had growing up?)
3. When – day, time – will you contact each person?
4. Any you will connect with more than once a day?
One final thought – Keep complaining to a minimum; 5- 10 minutes max and then change the subject, have some laughs, express gratitude for the other person, bring up some old memories and feel how great it is to make this connection.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and feel that speaking to someone will help, our confidential counseling line is available to everyone at no cost. All sessions will be provided over the phone during this time. 1-306-634-7234.
About the Author- Alana Clow provides counseling and support services at the Estevan Family Resource Centre Inc.