The first ten days were the worst for me. So used to my own space that sharing it with my husband 24/7 took a little [ahem] work. Ups, downs, sideways and a weird feeling of just being ‘flat’, nada, niente.
Nerdiness took hold, click-click-click, and I stumbled across a phrase that just clicked. I stored it:
“When in doubt, go social”
The phrase isn’t mine – it belongs to Deb Dana, a psychologist specialising in how we connect (or not). More about Deb later.
So what’s ‘social’ got to do with anything? Turns out, there is a tendency by many of us to go into our caves when things get a little tough – with thinking like “well, it must be tough for many” or “who cares what I think or feel?” or “I’ve really got nothing to whinge about…” but this kind of thing chips away at us. For some, me included, it becomes a habit to surface only when we feel ‘ok’ or even ‘great’.
How to break this habit? According to Deb Dana:
When in doubt, go SOCIAL!
Oh, ‘social’, meaning hang out with people, right? Ah, well sort of…
Rocket science it is not, however it IS science – neuroscience even. This feeling of ‘flat’ and all the other sensations that go with any kind of [sudden] change, are real and common. In Deb’s podcast (see link below), she suggests reaching out to at least one other trusted person – this will make a huge difference.
“When in doubt, go social” as Deb Dana explains, means not doing it all alone. Reaching out and letting our ‘tribe’ hear us, however we are. “When in doubt, go social”, especially when I don’t feel like connecting with anyone. Sure, I can choose to sit in my own funk. Since practising “going social” and saying how I am over the last few months has made the world of difference to me. I’m even sleeping better. Not every night, but a big improvement for sure.
Going Social doesn’t mean engaging in long WhatsApp texting convos that give me sore thumbs. Going Social like this kind of text: “Today, I’m kinda like this [insert icon of a poo]” and hit send. My pals usually send back a gif like “I hear ya, girl!” even though they’re not American. It could mean using zoom.com, Skype or houseparty.com to have a virtual tea together (ok, wine time is also great!). We don’t even need to dress up! Across Italy, we have all been clapping at the same time. Cheering for everyone banning together to come out the other side of this time. We are “going social” old school from our balconies.
When in doubt, GO SOCIAL!
Daily I’m experiencing that we are connected to each other. Forging that connection will get us through this period – especially for those who are doing it really tough – in whatever way. For those who have people in hospital, have lost loved ones – let’s up our game on what it is to be human.
Drop me a line in the comments. I’d LOVE to hear how you are right now.
When in doubt, GO SOCIAL!
Listen to a Podcast by Deb Dana here: https://www.therapistuncensored.com/?s=polyvagal
Read about Polyvagal Theory here: https://psychiatrypodcast.com/psychiatry-psychotherapy-podcast/polyvagal-theory-understanding-emotional-shutdown