By Sarah Valdes • March 30, 2020•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence
Sunday at 11:59pm. Do you remember the days when your professor would make important assignments due at this time? If you were anything like me, you acted like it was a requirement to be making the final edits at 11:58pm. I, admittingly, debated beginning this blog post thirty minutes before it was due.
Why? Because for about three weeks I’ve had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach about writing about connection in the era of physical distancing. I chose the topic of writing on the importance of connection and community for the well-being of the female lawyer, because I deeply believe in it. I’ve found that only when I’m plugged into my network, can I thrive….and survive. Once the first day of not leaving the house turned into two, two turned into three, slowly I started to realize that this may be our new normal for a while at least. It began to hit me that this month’s blog could be the most impactful yet. We can absolutely flatten the curve and do so while remaining connected.
At the risk of sounding like yet another listicle you have to read I’ve decided to put together a list of some of the ways I’m staying connected with family and friends during these times. Like I’ve written before, please take what serves you from this list, and leave what does not. During these times, I encourage all you lady lawyers to be not only be kind to others, but to also be kind to yourself. In the meantime, here are some ideas to stay connected while maintaining physical distance.
Text, Snap, WhatsApp, Facetime…a lot. I’ve drastically increased the use of my phone the past few weeks. While I will caution you to be cognizant of your screen time, take a moment (or two…or three…) to check in with a friend or family member. For me, sending photographs makes me feel so much more connected to the person. In times of tension while watching the news or navigating a new challenge, I have to admit a photograph of my girlfriend’s toddler jamming crayons into his toy car, not only makes me feel more connected to them, but also made me realize there are other (sometimes silly) things going on in the world.
Read. So many lawyers I know have abandoned reading for pleasure all together. Many state that after reading for so many hours for work, they can’t imagine doing so for leisure. Admittedly, I did count myself in this camp for a few years. During this time of physical distancing, I encourage you to dust off a book from the shelf. For those of you who may have Marie Kondo’ed your stash, several local libraries offer services like Libby or Overdrive where patrons can check out digital downloads. Although the platforms usually auto return the books, just remember that others are waiting in the queue too and return them after your finish. Reading can help you connect with a fun romance or thrilling fantasy.
Revisit Old Friends. The other evening I managed to figure out how to play MarioKart with one of my girlfriends. Like any self-respecting millennial woman we both still recalled all the moves of the game we played on the Nintendo 64. So on a random weeknight, we geared up and started throwing shells, banana peels, and boomerangs at each other – virtually, of course. The entire endeavor was nothing short of just plain silliness. We vowed to do this again soon, but next time, on video chat so we could watch each other while we giggled and yelled a few choice words at the screen. Some silliness may be just what the doctor ordered.
Group Fitness Goes Virtual: If you haven’t done so yet, check out my January post about group fitness. I know many folks miss their routines of going to the gym or yoga studio. Many gyms are offering online fitness classes. Youtube provides endless sources for free. Yes, it’s not the same as being in a room full of folks, but maybe this is the time when you grab your roommate for some bonding. Or maybe you use your phone for some video chatting.
As we learn to navigate these new times, I encourage each of you to share what your favorite way of connecting has been so far.