I went out this morning for a long walk. The late-winter sunlight was blindingly bright, blunting the cold air and wind gusts on occasion. It was nice to get out of the house.
Chances are, you too are engaging in social distancing as we all try to ameliorate the coronavirus’ spread. As for our family, we were supposed to be out of town for spring break, but that trip was cancelled. So, I don’t really have much going on at work. And, with most retailers and our gym closed, there’s not much to do.
So, I went out for a walk without a plan and just wanted to get some fresh air. En route, I listened to a Happiness Lab podcast on “Beat Your Isolation Loneliness.”
The reality is that all of our social distancing right now can lead to loneliness. It’s ironic that trying to improve our society’s physical health will have adverse effects on our mental health.
The podcast did a great job of explaining why that all is. More important, it suggested that we use technology to enable informal human interactions. In other words, don’t FaceTime someone just to have a talk. But, FaceTime someone and watch a TV show together or while you’re eating lunch. That’s because we human really need those informal interactions.
So, I texted a link to my family and, soon, one of my college kids sent out a Zoom link for a family meet up. As I walked, one child logged in while doing an art project and another dialed in while preparing and eating lunch. And, just like that, we chatted a bit. But, since there was no agenda and no pressure to chat about anything, we just hung out together, occasionally going through moments of silence.
After the chat and my 90-minute walk, I felt more energy. So, I hope you listen to the podcast and endeavor to make this day a good one.