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March 26, 2020

How to Socially Distance, Mindfully.

During these challenging times, we are holding ourselves responsible for our own well-being, the well-being of those we love, and the welfare of all humanity.

Across the globe, we started practicing social distancing. And while this technically means that we should stop our normal socializing practices, it does not mean that we should become emotionally distant or resort to unhealthy ways of living.

In fact, we now need each other more than ever, and we should use the time on hand to take care of our beautiful selves and keep intimate connections strong.

Here are 13 ways to stay emotionally connected and healthy while in self-quarantine:

1. Connect virtually.

This goes beyond texting. Have virtual coffee meetups. Virtual lunches. Reach out and schedule a time for these meetings. Re-connect with those people that you were too busy to meet over the past month or two or six. And show up to those calls.

2. Help out your family and friends.

We all have something to offer. Check on your friends—those whom you regularly talk to and those whom you haven’t seen for a year. Recommend online grocery alternatives. Tell a friend when you find an essential product that has run out. Share resources on virtual concerts and opera shows. Attend them together (virtually). As many of us tend to focus on our close circle of friends when busy, this is a good time to nourish that love that we have for all people.

3. Support your greater community.

Make a donation to support those surviving on a daily wage. Do not buy things that you don’t need (put that third pack of toilet paper back). Offer to do grocery shopping for that elderly couple in your building when you go for your grocery run. Let’s connect and get back to our roots.

4. Make use of all the great online classes.

I am  grateful for the all the online classes, by yoga teachers and studios, writers, artists, etc. From free writing sessions on Instagram by Rupi Kaur to elephant’s writing and meditation retreat on crowd-cast…I wouldn’t want to go anywhere!

5. Create a sensual space.

Make your home smell good. If you haven’t already, create a space that smells like peace and serenity, whether that’s lavender, white musk or warm vanilla buttercream. Light up candles at night while you read, write or just chill.

6. Go for solitary walks after sunrise when no one is around.

These walks help us self-reflect and really connect with nature because for the first time, we will find ourselves appreciating every bit of the experience. The smell of fresh grass and the feeling of that morning dew on your skin. The grin on that old man’s face sitting alone in a distance and the sound of the birds singing.

7. Connect to your space.

Clean your place regularly. Cook healthy meals. Eat your greens. Aside from the obvious benefit of helping reduce the risk of getting infected with the virus and vamping up our immune systems, cleaning and cooking for ourselves profoundly connects us with our homes and our food—it keeps us grounded.

8. Discover healthier, alternative ways of living.

Use this opportunity to write, paint, cook, read, or do whatever else that you had no time for because you were so busy with everything else that was going on. Who knows—maybe you will end up taking some of your newly discovered routines and patterns into your daily life after the quarantine lifts.

9. Practice gratitude.

If you are lucky enough to afford social distancing, be grateful. If you are socially distancing with a loved one, family, or your pet, be grateful. If you are staying alone and are finally able to live a quiet life, be grateful. If you feel that social pressure has been lifted, be grateful.

10. Recognize that this is an opportunity to rethink your priories.

Have we been giving more attention to things that do not really matter? If so, acknowledge that, reflect on what really matters, and think of what you would like to place more emphasis on moving forward.

11. Do it with a sense of humor.

This is not to say that we should take the current situation lightly. However, humor lightens up the mood and helps us feel more accepting and less stressed. Share that meme.

12. Slow down.

Well, you don’t have to force it—the new lifestyle will ease you into it. Take this opportunity to devour that vegan banana cake, color that mandala, empathetically listen to your mother, and write that article.

13. Love. Love. Love.

This is a chance for all of us to move away from an individualistic perspective to a collective one. Spread kindness beyond your immediate circle. Help out whomever you can. Responsibly practice social distancing. Send love to all.

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