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It struck again. Just when I thought I was getting used to my socially-distanced life, I was recently caught off guard by a fresh wave of grief, longing for how things used to be and craving contact as simple as the crowded bus ride to work, eating in restaurants at lunch and chatting with colleagues while making coffee in the office. Zoom calls and virtual happy hours can’t compare to the energy that real life social interaction provides.

I think we’d all agree that it’s not good to be alone. We’re made for connection and face-to-face sharing – preferably not hidden behind a mask – and when we’re without that for too long, we wither like a dry flower and can become self-absorbed. Over the months of working from home, I’ve seen this in myself, wondering when I’ll get that interaction-inspired pep back in my step, a little bit scared it will never return. How about you?

 

Breaking the Isolation Cycle

But one thing has helped me dig my way out of this self-pity party – forcing myself to turn my focus outward. It started with calling up my sister to offer a quick hour of escape from her darling three-year-old. One drive-thru coffee and a whirlwind of sisterly giggles later, we were both feeling refreshed and ready to face the world again. Truth be told, I was waiting for her to reach out to me, but I’m sure glad that I took the active role of pursuing her before she had time to pick up the phone.

A call to an elderly aunt here, an “I’m thinking of you!” text there, followed by an email to check in on a friend across the country, all opened me up to consider how others might be coping and to turn my gaze away from the way I wish that life could be and how full I wish my social calendar was. In case you haven’t been already, I encourage you to practice reaching out and see what a huge difference it makes.

While calls, texts and emails are great, if you’re looking for something more substantial to offer and have the means to give a gift, the Alterra team has a few favorite resources for spreading bits of thoughtfulness:

  • Brightbox offers simple, affordable, usually very cheery gifts and cards sent right to your loved-one’s door.
  • Another one of our favorite sites is Knackshops. Send themed gift boxes or curate your own combination of treats for very thoughtful, personal and uplifting presents.
  • Etsy is jampacked with care packages provided by independent business owners. Support someone you care about while supporting an up and coming entrepreneur.

There are a multitude of other options out there…this is just the beginning!

 
Fighting for hope

Though things are getting better (yay!), this season isn’t over yet (boo…). But here’s what I’ve figured out on this quarantine roller coaster – isolation leads to self-absorption which leads to further isolation. It’s a vicious cycle, but a cycle we can fight! With all the unrest, division, fear and pain in the world right now, we have the power to get outside of ourselves and build up someone else – small efforts that add up to big impact in lives around us. Whether the need is visible or not, we all crave and require human connection. Let’s not allow the circumstances of the world to steal that from us. Let’s build each other up so we can get through this together. It’s a powerful source of hope!

Alterra Advisors - Josh Whelan

Amber Walsh

Director of First Impressions

About the Author

Arriving back in Washington after her global exploration, Amber found her place at Alterra where a love of helping others and her joy of communicating are the perfect life skills needed to serve our clients. Amber enthusiastically guides our clients to the advisors, services and answers they seek on their individual financial journeys.

Returning to her roots in Washington has allowed Amber to reconnect with old friends while enjoying her healthy past-times of running, cooking plant-based recipes, exploring, doing floral design and simply enjoying quality time with her family.

The “Alterra” name was coined by joining the Latin roots “alter”, the origin of the word “altruism” with “terra” meaning earth or land. This name reflects the company philosophy of “clients before profits” and providing firmly grounded advice.