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Mindful Connection: How to Stay in Touch While Avoiding Burnout

Let’s be honest, we all thought the pandemic would be over by now. Yet, Covid-19 is still kicking and the days of Tiger King and the Outer Banks being the talk of the town feel like a lifetime ago. If you are anything like me, you are sick of virtual classes and even more so of doing absolutely everything on your computer. The creative ways we found to stay connected with each other in the spring of 2020 feel overused and tired. Here are some new ways on how to stay connected and check in as we continue to navigate pandemic life.

1. Do social interactions fill you up or drain you?

I’m sure you have had to answer this before, it's the classic “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?” question, but the answer is important for determining how much social interaction you need to feel connected but not drained. There is a wide spectrum of how much social interaction you may need in a day, from calling multiple people everyday to talking to someone once a week. While we navigate another online semester, keep in mind that you don’t need to pick up every phone call or keep up with as many people as the person next to you.

2. Opt for a phone call instead of Facetime

I know I know, this sounds like a step backwards in technological advancements. However, we look at our computers all day, sitting in mostly the same place, and Facetime/Skype/Zoom requires us to also look (somewhat) presentable and be engaged with a screen. If you are just on the phone, you can lay down, close your eyes, multitask, and still have a conversation. A regular phone call can help you catch up with a friend while not over exhausting yourself with video chats.

3. Consider asking others how they are doing

If you tend to be the one who waits for others to reach out and are starting to feel a little disconnected, try reaching out first! Everyone likes to know someone is thinking about them. Especially in a time where it's tough to connect, this could mean a lot! If you have been waiting for someone to reach out to you, this is your sign to take initiative first!

4. Consider setting up accountability if you aren’t doing well

On the other hand, if you tend to be the person who keeps up with everyone and always reaches out first, consider asking someone to check in on you. Asking for accountability is never easy, but it can be so worth it. Whether it’s accountability for working out, staying on top of school, or just checking in with how you are, knowing someone is going to check on you can be extremely motivating. Ask a friend, roommate, or family member if you could do weekly (or however often you need) phone calls, walks, or some other activity that allows you to talk about you.

5. Snail mail

My personal favorite tip of all, send letters! It’s cheap, can be a great creative outlet, and will likely make the day of whoever receives them. They don’t have to be long either, just something to remind the person you are thinking of them. Writing letters can be a quick study break or a long term project. I especially love sending letters to my friends at other colleges because they never expect them and I know how fun it can be to get a random letter in the middle of the week!

6. Check in with yourself

Easy to say, hard to do. How are you doing physically, mentally, and emotionally? Think about how you feel in your body, how clear your head is, and what emotions you are feeling. It sounds unnecessary, but in a busy week, I almost never stop to think about what I may need beyond what I have put on my to do list. Checking in with yourself can help remind you to eat a meal, journal, workout, or any type of self-care activity before you get to the end of the week and realize you have taken no time for yourself!

The pandemic has affected everyone differently, and as we come up on the one year anniversary of unprecedented times, take some time to reflect on what has worked in this last year and some habits you would be better off without. Hang in there, we won’t be living in a pandemic world forever!

By: Grace Farmelo

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