What Now: How to Connect When Isolation is the Cure

By Diana Clark

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Like many parents across this country, I drove five hours and picked up my son to bring him home for the duration of the pandemic. For the first time in many days, I felt safe…. well safer. On the way home, I hoped -in the face of this confinement- that we could come together as a family in a different way. That we could find some stability amid the chaos.

In talking with clients and colleagues and sharing that experience, I realize I’m not alone with that hope. They shared positive things happening in their families in light of all the uncertainty and anxiety we face. A few of those things included:

  • Families once too busy with hectic schedules are spending more time together under the same roof
  • Young adults are taking on household chores like cooking
  • Parents with young children are reporting that the kids are slightly better behaved even in confined spaces
  • Retired seniors are teaching younger family members remotely during school hiatus

Seeing the incredible resilience of so many families has inspired me, and I hope it inspires others. I challenge us all to see this crisis as an opportunity and ask ourselves, “At the end of this, how can I say I was better than before?” There are a million little ways-  even in confined spaces-  we can add to our lives and the lives of others. A few goals I’ve heard in recent days:

  • Learn a new language
  • Bake bread
  • Clean closets
  • Write and record this historic time
  • Knit
  • Write letters in long-hand
  • Take long walks
  • Make music
  • Dust off the “Sorry” game and play a few rounds with my kids
  • Cook as a family
  • Meditate

Most importantly, the message I’m hearing is to stay connected to those closest to you. We may not be able to be in the same room or fly across the country to visit. Still, we can use all the technology available now-  in addition to the old fashioned pen and paper-  and be together in this scary time. We can strengthen old bonds or forge new ones and come out of this experience stronger.

 

Diana Clark, JD, MA., is OPG’s Chief of Clinical Operations and a renowned family recovery advocate in the field of addiction and mental health treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety or any mental or behavioral health issue call our intake line at 617-221-8764

 

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