Wellness checks is something normally thought about to only involve the “homebound” or the elderly, the sick, and the frail. Well, we’re all homebound now, in some way or another, and, while we may or may not be sick, elderly, or frail, we are cloistered in abnormal ways. Quarantine, sequestration, call it what you will, these things take a toll. Humans need contact. Fortunately, we have more ways to maintain contact, and this post is reminder to use them. Use the phone, text, video chat options to reach out, not only to your work teams and immediate families, but to your friends and long lost relatives. The isolation we are all experiencing right now comes at a price. There are health benefits, and health costs, to isolation. Melissa and I have always been ones to initiate contact with friends. I realized the importance of this in 1985 while living in Australia. Mail was my primary contact. I didn’t have a phone and this was way before electronic communications. Fast communications in 1985 included telex, an expensive way to send messages when one could make an appointment to do so. But, now we have many means of staying in touch. The point is to get outside of your world and reach out. Use Facetime to chat with friends. Have a virtual happy hour via Zoom. Do the things you are reading about. Melissa and I done a few of these and the experience is much better when the visual aspects of interpersonal communications are included. Make time to spend time with people whom you know are in the same boat as you – sequestered, and especially those whose household populations total 1.
I am writing this post approximately one month into our social distancing, isolation, quarantine, and solitary confinement situations. I am a person who has a lot of friends, but as of today, only ONE of my friends, including long time, childhood friends, has contacted me to check on my well being. (This doesn’t include people like Roger and Charlie, with whom I’m in frequent contact.) I have contacted countless friends, via phone calls, emails, texts, FaceTime, and Zoom, to see how they are doing, In every instance, the person I contact is appreciative that I have checked on him/her. They thank me, say it was nice to hear from me, and mention that we should stay in touch. But, will they ever reach out to me, to see how I am doing, if I need anything, and if I am overwhelmed with the current situation? I doubt it. As David mentioned, he and I are usually the ones in our group of friends to initiate contact. If we sat around and waited to hear from our friends, I bet we would be sitting around, waiting, endlessly. As I have mentioned before, most people think they are very busy, too busy, in fact, but guess what, so am I! But the difference is that I, and David and I, take a few minutes out of our busy lives now and then to contact our friends and say, “How are you?” in the midst of living our busy lives. Now, more than ever, it is important to be a good friend, not just a fair weather friend. Try it. Contact your friends (and family) to be sure they are okay. And, many thanks to my dear friend, Danny, for calling to check on me!