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Remaining Connected When Disconnected During a Pandemic

Jay Greenfeld, PhD, C. Psych

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge through our province and many citizens are waiting for the arbitrary dates to happen so we will see stores, restaurants, parks, and activities reopen. However, we have little to no control over what decisions will be made that are best for our province, schools, and places of employment. Ideally, life was going to feel slightly more liberating after the January 8 decision day. Reality has set in and we as a province and as individual families remain locked in, locked down, stuck at times, but most importantly, safe. As a result of the ongoing limitations, we are spending a lot of time with the people in our homes. Fortunately, our schools remain open, so our children can at least have some face-to-face interaction with their peers, but as adults, parents, and caregivers, we are really limited with how much grownup time we are able to spend with others, especially while many operate their work lives virtually and those that do not, have to remain very distant from one another.

With all the focus placed on the safety and well-being of our children, it is very clear from the many adults I connect with and a plethora of my friends and family members I speak to, as we move into the anniversary of this all starting combined with the winter months, many are getting to their breaking points. We tend to focus so much of our energy on our children and potentially grandchildren, we tend to forget ourselves and the importance of our own well-being as grown adults. One of the most important aspects of our well-being is social connectedness that is not online. We may be physically disconnected from one another, but that does not mean we cannot remain connected in other ways, especially starting with the people that live in our home.

We are limited in many ways, right now, AND that only gives us an ideal time to reconnect with our partners, spouses, or the limited adults in our circle face-to-face and that does not necessarily mean binge watching 20 shows on Netflix. It means reengaging in conversations that normally are less likely to happen because of the constant caravan of children and activities that we would carpooling to. Despite the disappointment of not having any activities, give your car a break from being a locker room and focus on the person sitting next to you. Create date nights at home, spend time discussing what your goals are for the year, and more introspection using the game What Do You Stand For ñ Barbara Lewis. Create a list of activities that you want to do and can do as adults that you have neglected for so many years because the basis of your priorities were focused on shifting from one activity to the next with your children. Start doing puzzles, pick up an instrument to learn, invent new and creative recipes, and begin the exercise routine you have avoided the last 10 years. You do not need the most expensive and latest exercise equipment to do so, you need the desire and often times the social support to have accountability. If you are questioning whether it is worth it to start a program, remember you are healthy during this pandemic for a reason, do not take that for granted!

All of the above suggestions are intended to help improve your well-being and ensure you remain connected with your partner or very small cohort of people in your inner circle. Put forth the effort to decrease anticipatory Anxiety related to what may or may not unfold in the coming months. Most importantly though, with your very inner circle of adults that you are connected with check-in with your perspective and theirs to ensure you are not generating any additional negativity that need not be there. We cannot change how the past 11 months have unfolded, but we can change our current reactions to it. We cannot change what will unfold, but we can create excitement and a sense of gratitude for how we can use our time in each moment. Finally, ask yourself when you think back to the time during a pandemic, how did you spend your time, what was your mindset throughout it all? Connecting can be integral to your happiness as I have learned from the patterns many within society have engaged in is boredom at home and with their partners leading to a significant disconnect. Instead, pay close attention to that feeling (if it is present) and then consider how lucky you are to have the support around you and how often each of you can create a new activity or idea when it can feel like options are limited. Our interactions may be limited with others, but that does not mean our perspectives with what we can do need to be.


Feature Articles:

Focus on Education 2021

Developing curiosity: The six lead questions that promote Language and Learning

Family Literacy Day 2021

Remaining Connected When Disconnected During a Pandemic

Be a Better Parent in 2021


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