We all know friendship is so important and we have learned this even more so during this pandemic. Many of us have been in lockdown, not able to see our friends as we normally do. I know so many people that live far from many friends so with not being able to travel, seeing our friends in person has become even more difficult and a very long time between in-person visits with our friends.
Friends bring more happiness into our lives than virtually anything else. Friendships have a huge impact on your mental health and happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness and isolation. Developing close friendships can also have a powerful impact on your physical health.
Being able to have trust and confidence in your friend is one of the most important requirements of a strong relationship because true friendship means you are able to count on one another. Part of caring for a friend is honoring what they tell you, no matter the significance, with confidentiality and respect.
We have had to figure out other ways to stay connected with our friends. I live in Sweden and the majority of my friends live in the US and all of my family lives in the US. I am currently in the US, first time in about 18 months. I was in California visiting my friends last week and it has been wonderful. Of course, I missed them however finally seeing them made me realize how much I did miss them. Even though Sweden has not been in any lockdown, I feel like I was locked down as I keep a small circle of friends in Sweden that I meet in person.
Many places around the world are finally coming out of lockdowns and restrictions, however with another wave of the pandemic coming, we need to be aware of our in-person contacts. We need to stay connected and in touch with our friends and family. Being in the US seeing friends and family, I realize I need to step up my game –we are all challenged in our own way.
My family has a weekly zoom call which has been great, we get to catch up and see each other. I stay in touch with friends via technology – texting, facetime, google meet/zoom, as well as other tools. It is so important to make this a priority which I will reach out more and schedule times with other friends and family. Our mental health is so affected by our engagement with friends and family, we know this more than ever.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Check in with others, especially your single friends and family. A simple text may be just what someone needs to make their day.
2. Schedule calls, not only is it great to have these calls, this gives everyone something to look forward to.
3. Take virtual classes together. Now this can be an exercise class, cooking class, etc. There are so many options for virtual class these days.
4. Create a virtual book club.
5. Share memes, yes that is what I said. I love to share funny memes from Instagram with my friends, everyone needs a laugh.
There are so many other ways to stay connected. Be sure to keep staying connected for your mental health and your friends/family.