The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has led to a once in a century event, with many communities around the world in quarantine or being asked to practice social distancing. The advice from the Center for Disease Control is sensible, but an unintended side effect of social distancing is that people are feeling isolated and alone. Here are nine tips courtesy of Hillel International’s Josh Feldman to help you practice physical distancing while staying close to friends, family, and your community:
Ring Ring: Remember phone calls? The phone is a powerful tool for connecting us to loved ones. Make time for catch-ups with your community that you would have been hanging with, or ones who don’t always make it on your to-do list.
Dear Awesome Human: Getting a handwritten letter is one of the best things ever. If starved for human connection, put pen to paper. Share your dreams and tell your stories. Don’t get stuck on what the perfect letter is. Share about your day. Emailed letters are cool too, but let’s be honest, not nearly as special.
Digitally Together: With plenty of platforms that now support a “Brady Bunch” style screen, bring the community together to learn, laugh or even grab a coffee or a meal digitally while chatting.
Art-Making: You don’t have to be a professional artist to explore creativity. If you are new at this, watercolor, clay and collage are all super easy ways to start. Send your artistic creations to others — even the digital versions will make them smile.
Daily Ritual Moments: Many of us have in-person ritual practices that we don’t even notice because they are so baked into our lives: the people we see at the coffee shop in the morning, the folks who stay and chat post-workout at the gym. What would it be like to reach out to them and engage in those practices from a distance?
Reading Brings the Whole Universe to You: This couldn’t be a better moment to start a reading group. Choose an article or book and enjoy reading knowing you will have a group to discuss with on the other side.
Center Yourself: Meditation, mindfulness practices and hobbies can help us slow down and recognize what we are grateful for. Choose an accountability buddy and check-in after.
Tell ‘Em How You Feel: If we are forced to slow down, use it as a chance to say out loud to others that you love them. This powerful statement can bring us together regardless of whether we are in the same room right now.
Give Back: Being a philanthropist isn’t about how much money you give, it’s about the intention and thoughtfulness about how to help others. This is a great moment to support those most affected by the coronavirus through organizations like UNICEF USA or the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Model the kind of community you want to be a part of and others will reciprocate. Before you know it, you will be more connected to community, family, and friends even if you haven’t left your house.
Josh Feldman is vice president of leadership development and the Springboard Fellowship at Hillel International.