It’s not something that we do in the world as often as we should, especially for independent minded Americans … but everyone is social to some level. In today’s environment and with the ever increasing remote worker it would pay for employers, fellow employees and especially family and friends check on one another more frequently than ever before. We simply need to stop what we are doing and make that call, even if just to say “hi”. Working remote or in conditions that don’t foster interaction can impede our creativity, personal validation and productivity. I greatly miss my social undergraduate experience when I was certain I was going to change the world, and in the graduate years where innovation and synergy was paramount for success. Interpersonal socialization truly has the capacity to balance and motivate us. The “new normal” has stifled and brought to an end for some of us this element of our lives. The pandemic on this level has irreparably taken time with one another away from us, but it doesn’t have to last with some effort on our part.
Pre-pandemic I spoke to my best friend virtually everyday. More than an assurance or wellness call, we bounced ideas and goals off one another. We were supportive, yet critical in each others thoughts. There was a casual synergy we experienced, even when we agreed that we disagreed. During the pandemic we’ve both been dealing with our own individual challenges of managing our time and our days. While working remote has been a blessing, it has been equally a curse as such. In dealing with this “new normal” we all would benefit from an exerted effort to not loose that proverbial “human touch” of communication and make that phone/messenger call. Doing so using video would be all the better too. Given you are not engaging in as much face to face interactions as you once were, it might be a conscientious thing to ensure you know the state of those you were once accustom to by picking up the phone and simply asking one or more of the following well-being questions in casual conversation.
How are you doing/feeling today? Often friends and co-workers are prone to ask “what” a person is doing today, but be sure to be specific ask about a person’s mental and physical well-being. Not having the routine mental and physical outlets we are use to can be depleting . Being sincere, ensure you get reasonable responses in return; otherwise it might pay to increase your interaction and contact with them – if for nothing else, for peace of mind in caring for the human condition.
What’s taking up most of your attention/time and/or have on your mind? Too many times we’ll say “how are you?” and the reply is “fine”, but this doesn’t tell us what the person we are asking “what” they are “fine” with, so be more focused. Having a mental outlet to bounce ideas off of, or even just to vent, can greatly benefit from an additional set of eyes and ears. Additionally there is something to be said for validating someone merely by objectively listening.
What did you eat last? … are you drinking enough water? Pre-pandemic, friends, family and coworkers were at a greater liberty to spend time with one another over meals – I sorely miss eating with others. It’s were we all have something in common – food. Sharing thoughts of food and the things we have in common keep us connected and motivated to know one another’s state. Working remote even drinking enough water can be overlooked. Eating too much on the other hand (prone to snack all day when I’m home bound) can be just the opposite; having that other consciousness keep our eating habit in check can’t be all bad! Great time to focus on that keto (or fill in the blank) diet you’ve been meaning to do.
Are you sleeping okay? When you are out of your routine your sleep pattern is typically one of the first things to suffer. There are tons of articles letting us know we need an established sleep pattern with sufficient REM time. Everyone has an opinion on the subject, only we know what is enough. Physical and mental activity during the day, the stresses of deadlines and life all tend to impact the quality of our sleep. Equally too much isn’t good either. It is worth a person’s time to discover their circadian rhythm and how to capitalize on it, the Sleep Foundation has additional information.
What are you doing for exercise? Ugh. As good as I feel “after”, I hate the thoughts of it “before” it takes place. “It” being exercise. Pre-pandemic my best friend (Gene) was a huge motivator. I personally think he thought of it as medicine, for me it taste pretty bad, but I felt great afterwards when it was done moderately, yet strenuous. Now the best we do is fuss at one another over the phone about it, but – it does serve as a motivator to be more active. Being “trapped” and with gyms at limited capacity … just do it. You may have to change things up a bit, like “social distance” walking/jogging, and there are other solitary activities like biking and swimming. Gene’s wife I’m certain has him in the yard performing calisthenics with a well prepared “honey-do” list of house and yard work. Ahhh … the new normal. I need to call Gene just to see how he’s making out.
What do you know “good”? While not as seemingly obvious sometimes, sharing something good with someone kinda shares the karma of well-being. Having someone vocalize the good in their life gives us perspective, and if nothing else we can identify the changes to make each day better. It can also aid us in identifying and/or suggest something that we can do for ourselves that is good for us – a win-win in sharing. Even if it is simply a friend to check in on you, or you them, it is good to be thought of – gratefulness, pay it forward.
Anything interesting or exciting happening? Anniversaries, birthdays, (social distanced/tele) reunions all come to mind, but there are other things, even a movie or television program you are excited to see. This forward looking view gives us an anticipation for tomorrow. Sharing it is equally good, especially if you can be apart of it in some capacity – even if it is simply in a followup conversation, if it is interesting – it matters. Make the close of the conversation the anticipation of a follow up call, you’ll be glad you did.
Summing up, we all know someone that would benefit from a random phone call, and it might lend towards some mutual accountability both socially and professionally. You’ve got some talking points above and beyond the typical “hi, how are you” (not that this isn’t important), but hopefully I’ve left you with some ideas you can expand upon. Whether it’s personal or professional, a phone call can greatly change someone’s life. Even you own. Take a moment, even 5 minutes a day, at one a day that’s five people’s lives you can influence for the better. … just do it. Now to call Gene. This should be interesting, there’s 12 hours between our time zones … just curious about his circadian rhythm and all that mulch.
Feel free to share your thoughts!
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