Taking care of each other during COVID-19: Virtual connections are still connections!

As we enter another day of sheltering in place and navigating this “new normal” of pandemic living, I’d love to know how you are doing. And what you are doing.

Are your days filled with sadness or struggle? Hope or opportunity? Creativity or ingenuity? Or perhaps a blended cocktail of each?

Speaking of cocktails, have you jumped on the Zoom happy hour bandwagon yet? When I received my first virtual happy hour invitation nearly six weeks ago, I wondered what exactly is a virtual happy hour?

And then I “attended” one. Folks, this is a happy hour you can attend without pants! You can wear sweats or shorts, and you don’t even have to brush your teeth or hair if you don’t want to. Although people can see your face, nobody cares if your hair is brushed or have makeup on because, well, COVID-19 has made us less uptight about that kind of stuff.

At first, it was strange to be sitting in my sweats on the couch toasting people I didn’t know in New York and Minneapolis and North Dakota. But after my friend—our Zoom host—splashed a “CHEERS” up on the screen for the fourth time, it was a regular old party. A time to connect and relax. A truly happy hour in these uncertain times.

The coronavirus and its subsequent shutting down and sheltering in place is stressful. No, it is not what we want to have happening. And yes, it dominates many conversations. But not during happy hour. We got the COVID talk out of the way early on and moved on to fun things like silly pet stories, creative endeavors, binge-worthy trashy TV shows, and favorite signature cocktails.

It was a lovely break from worry, work, stress and circumstance. It reminded me of FDR and his cocktail parties during the Great Depression. Apparently, he liked to shake up a martini for friends and have an hour where there was no talk of bread lines or war.

I think he was on to something. While we can’t throw a big, fancy, in-person cocktail party right now, we can turn off the news and reach out to our people. We can have conversations about something other than coronavirus statistics.

We still need human connection to survive. It’s what makes us human. And whole. We were made to be in community, so we need to get creative when times get tough. It may take some getting used to, but in the end, we’ll be so glad we seized the opportunity to love our people.

Happy hour not your cup of tea? No worries! Host a virtual tea party instead. Or use your creativity to connect in ways you didn’t seem to have the time to do in the hectic schedule of your pre-pandemic life.

  • Draw uplifting sidewalk chalk messages for the folks out walking their dogs— or better yet, if your friend has a milestone like a birthday or anniversary coming up, sneak out and chalk their driveway.
  • Send flowers…just because. No doubt your local florist would appreciate the business.
  • Use this time to hand write a letter—the old-school, snail mail, postage stamp kind of letter.
  • Phone a childhood friend or elderly grandparent.
  • Read books to grandkids, nieces and nephews over video chat.

I know you can sprinkle kindness and love over your people—from a safe distance. You are creative. You are adaptable. You are wonder-FULL.

Cheers!
Kelly

P.S. I’d love to know what you are doing to stay connected and sprinkle kindness. Please share in the comments below.

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