We’re over a year into the pandemic, and I see more stress building in my clients, friends, co-workers, and family as the days go by.
Of course, right?
Isolation prevents holidays with family, hanging out with friends, or just interacting with strangers at a café or local watering hole.
Feeling defeated is normal.
We might even wonder why no one reaches out to us first.
Sending a simple, light-hearted text is an uncomplicated way to combat our own isolation while offering compassion to another without intruding on their busy life too much.
Texting is personal, supplying instant connection from anywhere.
Texting is Low Risk, Easy, and Low Pressure
When we feel stressed or overwhelmed, communicating/connecting with others like texting can provide a buffer to lessen the impact.
Whether we want to vent or just feel grounded to other humans who relate to us, simple talks are vital to our well-being.
Even national helplines and therapists offer texting now.
Especially in emotionally turbulent times when we feel overwhelmed or burnt out, texting helps us collect our thoughts. It’s lower pressure than a call or video, too.
Both parties have the freedom to respond when and how they’re comfortable.
Human Connections are Vital for All Facets of Health
Simple connections are critical to every part of our life: physical, mental, emotional, social, and how we see ourselves.
As the Canadian Mental Health Association points out, human interaction can lower anxiety and depression symptoms, improve our self-esteem, boost empathy, and even keep our immune systems healthy.
I’ve noticed people are struggling to manage this new loss of control.
Change isn’t easy. Big, sudden changes are even more challenging. Accepting that massive, sudden change is constant, and we can’t control it. Now, that’s quite a challenge for anyone.
Our brains are hardwired to seek patterns, sometimes even where they don’t exist! Patterns are comfortable, predictable, safe, and low risk. They help us plan and make important decisions. That’s why constant change can be stressful, even if we don’t realize it.
Texting someone is a tangible action within our control. Texting someone who provides a source of support and comfort? Even better!
It’s a win-win for both parties, too.
Texting is powerful: We have at our fingertips people to break the isolation any time. We have options.
“But No One Wants to Talk to Me”
I know it’s not always easy to reach out.
Our brains play tricks on us. We think “if they wanted to talk, they would have reached out already” or “I’ll probably say something stupid or annoying.” Again, change isn’t easy.
We really make friendships much harder than they have to be. (Those BFF movie tropes don’t help either.) We must make an effort and put ourselves out there — and that effort alone is a victory.
Texting is low risk, too.
Still feeling daunted or not sure where to start? Look at the last meme you saved and think of who would like it. Send it to them.
Just “Hey, miss seeing you around. How’s your kids/move/work going?” works, too.
Provide (Don’t Just Offer) Support, Reassurance, and Vulnerability
We might be surprised how the most unexpected people open up to us.
Make sure to offer reassurance first and avoid dismissive messages like “don’t worry about it/you’ll get over it.”
We often try to convey reassurance through those statements by implying things will get better. But to the other person, those don’t help while they’re beaten down or feeling weak from being emotional in the first place.
Instead, acknowledge and validate their feelings without trying to change them.
If they seem open, ask for more details to show you’re invested and offer to do a specific favour. Maybe send them their favourite Starbucks order without being asked.
Sometimes, saying “I’m here if you need anything” makes the other person feel like a burden. Offer your interest and a specific action if the situation calls for it.
Sharing our own stress is also important, so the other person feels comfortable sharing with us. It shows we trust them. Vulnerability invites vulnerability.
When we feel stressed, it’s surprising and reassuring to realize others feel the same way we do.
Friendship and Texting are What We Make Them
On the other hand, not every friendship has to involve a deep emotional connection.
Many times, all we need is to share a laugh in the face of challenges.
Sharing a funny TikTok, meme, or video can open the door. I recently shared a lemon pasta recipe I was trying out with a friend. Likewise, asking questions and talking about a mutual hobby can let us connect over something positive instead of negative.