While many people are experiencing what it is like to “social distance,” for the first time and with a new Stay in Place order, you may be finding yourself a little lonely and stressed. You aren’t alone! While you may now be working from home, trying to run a homeschool or find yourself without a job and out of school, we can all agree it’s a lot! Keep in mind some people are in these scenarios all the time, not just this time. For those who have had medical procedures, other health concerns, moved to a new place or recently found themselves in a specialized living facility, being alone or feeling distanced is a real thing and can be unpleasant. We want to remind you that while we will be distant for a while, we don’t want you to be disengaged.

There are many ways you can still meet the basic needs or socialization in your life without actually being face to face with friends and family. In the world of technology you can now call, text, email, video conference, and more. On top of that, the mail service is still in full swing so writing letters and postcards is fair game as well. Make the effort to keep communicating with family, friends, neighbors and collogues in a safe and healthy way. While you may be embracing this break, others may be struggling. Let’s make it a goal to reach out to at least one person once a day.

Staying at home doesn’t mean staying in bed or on the couch. If you don’t live alone get the family up and moving and go outside. If you are alone and able to sit outside or even in a window, engaging with nature is taking positive action. Take some time to see all the things there are to see. Feel the sun or cool breeze of your face. Notice all the different smells. See how many of your senses you can engage.

Join some online groups. If you have access to the internet you can join just about any group there is. Facebook for example has many local groups for those sharing recipes, home projects and crafts. Look for groups of things that interest or motivate you! This may be a time to try something new or to go back to activities you remember enjoying in the past. Maybe your group is playing word games with people around the world, or those who have traveled to the same places as you. Meet some new people and socialize.

Another great way to stay engaged is by exercising. If you are a member of The Wellness Center you can join our virtual workouts or there are many resources online as well. While you may not all be together you can see other people taking part in the same things you like to do, or know you should be doing. Engaging your body however you can is good not just for your body but also your mind. Try to move every day! Stretch, dance, roll your shoulders, do something. Your body will be so happy! Sometimes if you sit, stand or lie down too long you can feel stiff. Go easy and see if your body starts to loosen up as you go.

Feeling lonely once in a while is one thing but if you find you are struggling or just not yourself if may be time to reach out. Talking to friends and family can help or reach out to Northeast Kingdom Human Services at 334-6744. We highly suggest you keep a schedule, get dressed, take your shower, eat well! Keeping a schedule will also allow you to be best engaged with how you are feeling at this time. Adding in a journaling or meditation practice is also a great idea for managing stress.

Lastly, you are not alone. We are all in this together even though at times we may feel very far apart. Take each day as it comes and if that feels too tedious just go hour by hour. Focus on how you can take extra good care of yourself right now. Take time to move, breathe and engage with others and even yourself as much as you can. It’s important that as a community we work together to try to keep everyone connected during this uncertain time. But at the end of the day, you matter! You are a part of this community and we want to make sure that everyone comes out of this as healthy as possible. So be well in this time and remember that although we may be distant, we are not disengaged.

Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center