“Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.”
― Honoré de Balzac

A colleague of mine said recently “technology is the great false god of connectedness.”  We are learning now that even with smart phones and tablets, we are more isolated than ever before.  And loneliness is on the rise contributing to depression and physical illnesses.  So, here I am, writing this from home on a workday. Frankly, I don’t like it. I want to be with my coworkers, participating in meetings, walking through our crowded waiting room and enjoying being with the best group of people I know – the staff of Tri-County Mental Health.

People are social animals by nature. Studies show that long-term isolation damages your physical health, and even increases the risk of premature death. People are meant to be together!

For the next several weeks, however, we are going to get used to “social distancing” and self-imposed quarantines. Tri-County is doing everything it can to avoid spreading sickness to its consumers and employees. Even I, the CEO, am reducing my on-site presence to reduce the risk of spreading germs and infection.

Since we cannot, for the present, gather together in large groups and enjoy each other’s company, we need to look for other opportunities to get the sense of community and togetherness. And I am not talking about texting or posting on social media (remember the Great False God of Connectedness).  Here are a few things you can do without risking the spread of infection:

  • Use a service like Facetime or Zoom to have a video “get-together” with your friends and family.black and white looking out a window
  • House Party is another fun app that you can share with family and friends to make a personal video connection for a group of people.
  • Bust a dance move on Tick Tock and share it with friends and family and then challenge them to best it.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. They might be feeling lonely, too.
  • Join an online book club (you can get free e-books from your local library)
  • Take a free online course – it will make you feel like you are back in school
  • Participate in a group exercise experience right from your living room through the Internet.

This period of social isolation is going to pass, and I am looking forward to the start of an all-staff meeting in the not-too-distant future when everyone will be chatting face-to-face with each other. I will hesitate an extra moment before calling the meeting to order, just so I can enjoy the sound of my terrific colleagues being sociable.