Isolation is a harsh reality of the pandemic – not being able to stay in touch with those we are in relationships with. Mental Well-being is one of the pillars of Sustainable Productivity and relationships are important to positive mental well-being. Therefore, I have been trying to get creative about staying in touch with those I have meaningful relationships with even though we cannot actually BE in touch.

Research has proven that if a person has a few healthy relationships, she can reap some or all of these benefits:

  • Lower rates of anxiety and depression
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Greater empathy
  • Strengthened immune system, which may even lengthen your life

But what are we to do when we are living this catch-22. I cannot experience my relationships the same way because if I do, I may pass along a virus. But if I don’t continue relationships, I could end up sick of loneliness. You and I are not the only ones trying to solve this conundrum. The Lazy Genius recently discussed this in podcast episode 158: Staying in Touch When You Can’t Touch.

I want to share with you a way I have started to get creative about my relationship with my nieces. Usually June or July includes a week of Aunt Susan camp. I am visiting them or they come to NC – sometimes both in the same year. This is what it usually looks like:

Needless to say this is not happening this year.

Instead my sister and I got creative. As you know, I love to read. And I love to read to my nieces. Although they are turning a corner away from lap sitting story time, it still means a lot to me to connect with them this way. My sister and I set up an online book club where we all read together once a week. Bonus points for keeping them reading during the summer also!

Staying in touch

Live footage from a recent meeting of our virtual book club.

Every Friday my sister and I schedule a FaceTime call, and the four of us take turns reading. Sometimes a meeting is crashed by either our husbands or our Black Labs. It is only a short session – 15 minutes at the most. But it is a dedicated time we spend together each week doing something we love. Although it is not a substitution for the in person visits we had to cancel this year, but it will do for now.

Instead of complaining about what we could not do, we are attempting to make the best of what we have.

How are you getting creative during COVID? Drop a note to share how you connect with loved ones from afar.