Many thanks to Colorado Spirit Counselor, Ivette Ceballos, for writing this piece.
As we begin to transition back into a somewhat “normal” life again, some of us might find that it feels difficult or strange to connect with others. What used to be a friendly chat at the grocery store line might now be filled with silence and distance. After a long time of keeping to ourselves and trying to stay safe, it can be difficult to connect with others again. Research shows that connecting with others and establishing healthy relationships are important for our mental wellbeing. Easing back into social settings and connecting with others after a long time of isolation is no easy feat and the Colorado Spirit Team at AllHealth Network would like to share a few tips on how to slowly dip your toe in the water.
Reach out to others.
It may feel weird to initiate a conversation while you wait in line at the store but a simple “hey how are you doing?” to a stranger can make a world of a difference! You might find that strangers, friends, or loved ones are hesitant at first but initiating contact and checking in with people will improve your wellbeing and likely make their day a lot better.
Going out to large gatherings or social settings might feel strange at first but making those plans with your loved ones and using them as support can help you adjust. Think about what you might need. You might feel like you need a break from work and want to go out or you might just want to have a nice conversation with a friend over coffee. Reaching out to your friends and making these plans together is a great way to strengthen your relationships.
Get in touch with your community.
Being involved with your community can help increase our social connectedness. Check out some volunteering opportunities that you care about. Places like community gardens, schools, public libraries, or places of worship are great places to establish relationships and connect with others. You can also visit your county’s website for more ideas and events being held in your community.
Take your time practicing your skills.
Keep in mind that we are all adjusting to a new normal. It takes time to feel comfortable doing something that we stopped doing for a while. Taking small steps outside of your bubble is huge and over time things will begin to feel okay again. Communicate with your loved ones how you feel and take things at your own pace.
Check out these resources to learn more about the benefits of social connectedness:
- MindWise Innovations – The Importance of Social Connection
- Great Lakes Psychology Group – 3 Steps for Re-establishing Social Connections after Covid
- BetterUp – How to Stay Socially Connected to Society
If speaking to someone would help, please reach out.
AllHealth Network provides several supports:
- To speak with someone in the Colorado Spirit Program about stress related to the pandemic, please call 720-707-6789 or visit our webpage at allhealthnetwork.org/Colorado-Spirit
- For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call 303-730-8858. AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-8255 (TALK) or text TALK to 38255.
How do you know if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis? Click here to learn about mental health crisis warning signs to look out for from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
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