In last month’s blog I examined the idea that resilience was something that could be cultivated, and mentioned that we would be taking a deep dive into six specific skills we can build in order to increase our resilience.

Since writing that, our world has been turned topsy-turvy by COVID-19! While we make sacrifices to curb the effects of the pandemic, it occurs to me that there is nothing better to explore than our own resilience at times like this. These are the times when our ability to dig deep and persevere matter more than ever!

The first of the six resilience building skills we will be looking at is building strong connections to others. Does that concept feel nearly impossible in a time when “social distancing” has become such a buzzword? Or when perhaps you are quarantined with your most loved ones, but feeling slightly suffocated by them as well? Let’s take a closer look at what we are aiming for when we talk about building strong social connections!

The Importance of Connection

When hard things happen in life, it can be natural to respond to the stress by turning inwards and isolating. However, when we do this, we are cutting off help and support from those who genuinely care about us! Leaning into the vulnerability we experience during hardship can allow our relationships with trusted and loved friends and family grow to a deeper level. We are then rewarded with the satisfaction and meaning that strong social connections can bring into our life!  Focus on relationships with trustworthy people who are able to validate your needs with compassion. Prioritize time with those people, and reap the benefits it brings. During times of social distancing, aim to check in daily. Explore the many ways technology can help you stay connected – texting, calling, facetime, marco polo, whatever works for you!

Why does it matter?

Connecting with others can help us build meaningful relationships with others, and relationships are great ways to receive support during hard times but also to develop insight. By talking openly with people who may have a different perspective than ours, we can begin to understand the world from another person’s point of view. We also can gain understanding about our own beliefs, reactions, and behaviors. Having meaningful connections with others is an opportunity to look outside of our inner world and gain perspective.

Lastly, as you are navigating life in isolation, let me remind you that there is no award being handed out at the end of this for the most Pinterest-worthy coronavirus quarantine! It’s ok to slow down, focus on the basics, and ensure you are caring for your own and your loved one’s well-being. This is a great time to have an internal checkup on your social connections, and to observe how healthy or essential some of them are! Now that we don’t have to be running from the time we wake up till we drop at the end of the day, it gives us a rare opportunity to see what really gives our lives meaning and satisfaction. Make sure you are reflecting on this and learning essential things about yourself during this crazy time, and taking the time to build the skill of connecting with others!