Labor Day used to be celebrated on the 1st of September which happens to coincide with my birthday. As a child, I remember naively thinking, “I know my mom went into labor to give me birth, but so did other mothers. Why are we celebrating my mom’s labor?” Sweet isn’t it?
I know some of you are probably doing a psychological eyebrow lift that I didn’t focus on my birth, but I prefer focusing on my understanding that my mom labored to receive something.
Today we celebrate Labor Day. Because without men and women working we would come to a virtual standstill. If that was ever a “what if?” scenario COVID-19 declared it front and center. We know what the essential front-line personnel did for us day after day, week after week, month after month during the pandemic. But today is also a day to celebrate workers. No workers mean no restaurants, no hair salons, no gyms. No teachers, no truck drivers, no piano lessons. Customers can still shop for food, supplies, even luxury goods on-line. But, without workers, those orders wouldn’t get filled. Without workers our food wouldn’t get picked in the fields. Without workers, our garments wouldn’t be sewn.
Today we celebrate and embrace LABOR… the men and women WORKING to keep our economy strong.
Nope, this isn’t going to be a missive about our current societal ills.
Nor is it about the demise of our culture and what you and I can do about it.
Instead, it’s about speaking the truth so you can find yourself.
I’ll make it simple with an example. Decades ago, I had an Aunt that used to “fudge” details.
If she was on her way she would call and say, “I’m on 85!” When in truth she was a few miles back on 101.
She would say, “I read 4 chapters!” when in actuality she read the first chapter and the last paragraph of the 4th chapter.
She wanted people to think so well of her that she puffed up her truth. Some call it embellishing. Some call it lying.
What happened was I eventually stopped believing anything she said. Even if it was the truth.
The best book says, “FIRST remove the log in your eye before you remove the speck in your friend’s eye.”
FYI…that’s the Bible (Matt 7:5) really neat life principles in that book.
So, for 1 week I paid attention to what I said vs what was the truth.
And I too “embellished” my truth to look better to others.
But, I had to confess, “That was a lie. The truth is…”
And that is painful and embarrassing.
So, I just started speaking the truth. Which is a much easier way to live.
And a lot less exhausting.
What did I learn?
I had to count on myself before I could ask others to count on me.
I had to have integrity before others could think well of me.
The truth set me free.
WARNING This post is not for people with young children at home who have no time for themselves.
I feel your pain. I do.
Humans were created and designed to be social. Studies have proven that social connection is vital to every aspect of health and well-being. We get reinforcement and connection with the cues we receive from people. Research has shown if isolated for an extended period of time social animals experience distress, depression, poor health, and even death. Think of the Russian babies with no physical warm touch. No soothing voice or warm embrace. They banged their heads on the metal rods of their institutional crib just to get some kind of stimuli. Breaks my heart. Even animals die in isolation. Now our sickest and the elderly are dying alone in hospitals, scared and alone, with no human touch. Heart breaking.
With so many people isolated from friends, family, and colleagues these days how do we prevent a similar outcome? Especially for those who live alone. You can only ZOOM so many calls. How do you get the support you need? Have you thought of forming your own support bubble?
A support bubble is gaining interest especially in the UK. The premise is you have a handful of people (exclusive only) who don’t necessarily live with you who maintain social distancing and practice safe hygiene, at all times. Trust is a big factor in this scenario.
But I’m going deeper.
Many of our senior citizens in facilities are already in a bubble of self-isolation. Why not let them share their bubble? They are not at risk if they are not out and about and no one is visiting them. It would look like this: facilities with no virus outbreaks allow a “bubble” of 4 or 5 residents the opportunity to socialize. Bingo is a non-sharing activity. So is painting. So is chair yoga. All must adhere to safe health practices.
How about adopting an animal (if your situation allows the responsible adoption of a cat or dog)?
As a woman who is an empty-nester and living alone, in California (the shut-down state of the country), I have created ways to prevent the creep of isolation as best as I can. I have constructed my own version of a support bubble.
The most important thing I do is keep a routine. I have 2 cats (left-overs from my adult children) that are quite entertaining and keep me on track. One cat literally meows in my face or at my feet at 8:30 p.m. until I go to bed. Not only does this make me laugh, every night, this practice allows me to maintain good sleep quality. Of course, the same cat is in my face at 5:15 every morning meowing. And when I say in my face, I mean literally! I smile at him every morning. What a great way to start the day!
I also have a goal (note I did not say habit) is to work out every morning (in my case in my Living Room) after working for a couple hours (I office out of my home). Like “normal” if I don’t do it in the morning it won’t get done. I schedule ZOOM calls and I’m working on two purpose driven projects. I text friends with relevant GIFs just to get engagement. I call my elderly parents almost every day to see how they are doing. I’ve recently taken up the lost art of notecard writing. Just to stay in touch.
And with face mask in hand, I walk outside when I can. I smile behind my face mask whenever I come across another human being just in case in the brief moment our eyes lock they see my eyes crinkle with joy of greeting another human being.
What does your support bubble look like? Who or what is in your support bubble? What do you do to prevent the effects of isolation? And if you’re feeling isolated what can you do to proactively get out of it?