The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much change in so little time. It has swamped our hospitals and brought on mass fear of illness, unemployment and recession. It has closed restaurants, businesses and even whole nations. We’ve had to introduce social distancing and made touch taboo. We’ve confined ourselves to our homes and changed the way we connect with each other. COVID-19 has also taught us an important lesson about ourselves – that we are all truly interconnected. It has shown us that every human around the globe is interdependent on each other like never before – and that’s something we’ll never again take for granted.
Your wellbeing is my wellbeing
Although the pandemic has made us fearful of actually being together right now, it’s also reminded us of just how much our community bonds mean to us. As the COVID-19 pandemic jumped from local neighbourhoods across international borders, we’ve come to realise that our health is so dependent on everyone else’s health.
We are responsible for each other – and that idea extends beyond borders. Our collective health determines the health of societies and economies across continents. This understanding has created a strong sense of unity and shows just how much we care about each other, even beyond our own family units.
We’ve also realised just how much we take our community connections for granted. So many everyday joys have been taken away by COVID-19, like enjoying a coffee with friends, playing sports with your teammates, having a chat with the grocer, taking your kids to the playground, and for some, even going outside. We understand that something of great value is now missing from our lives.
Taking care of each other
But this community-shaped hole in our lives has led to something quite encouraging. We’ve seen people running errands and dropping off groceries for their elderly neighbours who can’t get out. Volunteers sewing scrubs and medical masks for hospitals and delivering meals to ease the burden on families.
We’ve seen nations stopping to recognise the incredible work of the medical professionals and essential workers on the frontline. Businesses repurposing their products to deliver much-needed medical supplies. Governments taking measures to ensure the wellbeing of their citizens, with economic relief packages and boosted healthcare efforts. And we are all helping each other by respecting social distancing.
Simply put, we are stepping up and looking out for one other. We are thinking as an interconnected society, not merely as individuals. And we now know how much our community means to us by how far we will go to help each other, even at risk to ourselves.
Our need for human connection
Humans are social creatures and always have been. As far back as we can trace, humans have relied on social groups for survival. They helped to teach life skills and foster a sense of identity and belonging, and that still rings true today.
We know that social connection is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise for our wellbeing. Studies suggest that social connection strengthens our immune system, improves our mental health and even lengthens our life. A lack of social connection is even thought to be more detrimental to our health than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.
Feeling socially interconnected is more important now than ever and our reliance on human connection is what will see us through this global crisis. And we’re already coming up with ways to find social connections even when we’re not physically together.
Getting creative with connection
Technology has been crucial in helping us to stay connected and we’ve been Skyping and Zooming like never before. All kinds of communities, from workplaces to schools to gyms to festivals, are now accessible online. We can even still travel while we’re at home, with dozens of tourist attractions, museums, galleries, theatres, national parks and natural wonders now offering virtual tours.
Travel is such an important tool in exploring our interconnected-ness. It’s wonderful to see that just because we can’t physically cross borders right now, we can still go on virtual adventures and reap the benefits of travel. From appreciating different cultures to making friends with strangers, there are so many lessons to be learned from travel about human interconnection.
The human spirit
It’s rare that an event inspires so many people to stand in unity behind the same cause. But in the midst of all the fear and uncertainty, one thing shines through – the resilience and solidarity of the human spirit in the time of a collective crisis.
This fight for our lives has required each of us to stand up for each other and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s prompted greater respect for each other’s lives and greater awareness of how our actions affect people around the world.
Everyone is struggling in some way and we really are all in this together. Knowing that has activated a deep compassion and connection to others, whether it’s our next-door-neighbour or a person living on another continent.
We can overcome this global crisis, but only when we band together. Because it really does take a village.
How are you staying interconnected during the pandemic? What will you no longer take for granted after COVID-19? Let us know in the comments below.