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Sheltering in Place & Connecting with Others

By: Meg Six, Clinical Intern Therapist at 360 Youth Services

As we make adjustments in our daily lives to accommodate for shelter in place ordinances, it is easy to feel out of touch. We have forgone normal, physical interactions and daily movements for the sake of others’ health and our own.

What does this mean for our ability to feel close to friends, family, kin and loved ones? 

The simple answer is, it’s just different. We’re limited. We may be socially isolating on our own or with family members. Whatever your situation is, it’s ok to have a negative response to this change (or a positive response)!

What if you want to do something about it though? 

It makes sense that you want to change a situation that is uncomfortable. The first step is to notice what is making you feel discomfort. Take the time to understand what you’re feeling. Do you miss physical touch, hugs or just being close to someone? Is it conversation that you miss? Or simply being able to take care of ones you generally support?

Now what? 
If we know more about what’s bothering you the most we can find different, safe ways to connect with your people in a manner that suits you. This will take some brainstorming, here are some examples to get you started:

Let’s say you’re someone who just enjoys interacting with others but video calls aren’t helping. Are there online games you can play while you talk or in the interim? Video games, things like words with friends, or other challenges might be worth a try.

What if you’re someone who needs physical touch? What tactile experiences can you incorporate to your interactions? Is there a blanket that reminds you of that person or a sweatshirt that gives you the feeling that they are near. It’s not quite a hug but it can integrate additional sensory input that texting or calling might lack.

It’s also fair to be on the other end of the spectrum and feeling overwhelmed  if you are isolated with family members. We’ll address boundary setting & conflict management in a future post.

Remember that above all, this is a time of change. It’s normal to feel differently about your experience, and your connectedness as the shelter in place ordinances continue.

360 Youth Services in Naperville, IL provides substance use prevention education and counseling for youth and families, as well as housing for youth experiencing homelessness.

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