Aging Successfully: We really do need each other

  • Wednesday, February 24, 2021 1:30am
  • Opinion
Crystal Linn

In my opinion the person, who created the phrase “social distancing” should be required to take classes in behavioral sciences before being allowed to continue working. Humans were created to be social!

Most of us have heard some variations on the term social distancing. My favorite is the one used in a friend’s church: “spatial distancing.” This phrase correctly emphasizes the fact we can be separated by the space around us, yet still interact socially.

According to biology, neuroscience, psychology and more our physical bodies actually work better when we are with others compared to when we are isolated. Other studies have proven that having limited social connections is linked with heart disease, cancer and impaired immune function.

Connection is also linked to a reduced recovery rate from these and other health problems. We humans are wired for connection. It is in our DNA, and is as strong as our need for food, water and shelter.

When we have quality friends with whom we can lean on, laugh with, and cry with we are nourishing ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. These friends are also being nourished, making the interactions a win-win for everyone involved.

Our human connections can reduce stress levels, ward off depression and suicide, and lower the risk of dementia. We all know how much easier it is to exercise and live a healthier lifestyle with the support of friends and family.

The bottom line is, having quality people in our lives enables us to live longer and healthier.

While video chats, and talking 6 feet apart, through masks, are helpful solutions sometimes these options are not enough.

Here are some suggestions for enriching our socializing while we are supposed to be social distancing:

• Take the initiative to contact family and friends, especially those you have not talked with in a while.

• Send a Thinking of You card to a special person in your life.

• Be creative in making social appointments. Examples are enjoying coffee in the park and going for a walk.

• Volunteer to help an older friend by buying groceries, cleaning their house, or by just listening.

• If you live alone consider getting a pet. It does not need to be a cat or dog. Some of my best pets have been Beta fish and Zebra finches.

• Or, call a friend and ask for a “pet fix.” Many times friends stop by just to hug my dog who makes everyone feel like they are the most special human in the world.

In my October 2020 column titled, “Sequim Outreach During Pandemic – Wrap Ups,” I offered another reader contest. One promise of the contest was our booklet would be published by the end of January 2021. When creating the contest, and writing October’s column I had no idea I would soon be driving across country – more about that next month.

The January 2021 publishing date has been moved to March 2021. The booklet is coming together nicely and we are excited to publish it.

Email us with your story about “spatial distancing” to information@crystallinn.com. I answer every email personally.

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award-winning poet. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family. See crystallinn.com.

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