I get it. It’s the end of 2020. We’re tired — even if your year wasn’t bad it was at least weird beyond all imagination. Inevitably you experienced a lot of change, and change is always tiring on our brains, hearts and bodies.
It can be easy and tempting to disconnect — to disappear in a pile of blankets in your house and watch TikToks for hours without making any contact with actual people or real-life day after day, hypothetically speaking of course (wink). It is easy and understandable in a tsunami of change to just try to maintain and get by and frankly zone out. But that only provides an empty, temporary comfort.
And before you go thinking this is a bleeding heart post for emotionally sensitive people (shout out to my peeps!), it’s actually also science. Humans do not live as long when they are disconnected. Our immune systems are weakened without it, and we generally don’t function as well. Real human connection is part of our survival instinct. We were not designed for loneliness.
So here are some ideas for how to reconnect, in three easier-than-you-think steps:
1. Connect with yourself. You are no good to anyone else if you don’t. Check in — how are you doing — really? Identify what you can celebrate about your year — this can be as small as keeping a plant alive or not getting caught pants less on a conference call! Identify something you can do for your self-care — whatever immediately pops into your head — and go do that. The world will not fall a part while you do, I promise. More importantly, you are worthy of attention and care.
Recommendations: Get your favorite cozy beverage and disappear in a book for a while.
I just finished reading Factfullness by Hans Rosling — a book (with data) about how the world is actually getting better, and how our brains are wired to receive information. I also love to disappear in a good hot sea salt bath.
2. Connect with someone you love and appreciate. My sister and I write postcards — they are personal, but not too much of a commitment, and it’s really fun to get surprise mail. Maybe you set up a digital coffee with a friend you haven’t caught up with in forever. I have yet to reach out to a long-lost contact who was unwilling to meet up. The point is, do something that can be a shared experience with someone to remind you what your community feels like.
Recommendation: Netflix has a Teleparty option where you can live chat with your friends while watching the same show. Low effort, no pants required.
3. Connect with something bigger than you. Nature, your God, Meditation, Music, World History, volunteer work, an indoor garden. It does not matter what it is. We all need to be reminded that the world is bigger than our thoughts, that we are part of something greater even if we don’t totally know what it is. Just do something that helps you get outside of your head. It’s an amazing free vacation.
Recommendations: I just finished watching a documentary called “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind.” It’s about Extra Terrestrials and our brains’ telepathic abilities. Pretty wild stuff. Definitely a thinker. I also got this little baby greens growing kit from Hamama, which is adorable and caters to someone like me who is not successful in greenery.
I am grateful for the 2020 experience because I learned so much about my priorities, my habits, and my ability to adapt like a mofo — even though at times it was difficult. I am excited for another year to see how we take what we’ve learned in 2020 and apply it to what is sure to be a new world, and a better one. Staying connected in all the ways only makes the transition that much smoother.
Happy New Year, my friends.