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Ways to Connect

Whether you are suffering from isolation and feeling adrift without your regular contacts and activities or are overwhelmed by the twin demands of home-schooling and work, maintaining a sense of connection to friends and family is an important source of strength and a way to keep yourself anchored in these uncertain times. We asked members of our Gazelli family for tips on how to nurture the relationships that matter without the benefit of face-to-face interaction and were amazed by their wisdom and creativity. Read on to find out more…

EMMA CANNON, fertility expert

One way of keeping connected is to regularly remind loved ones of happy memories of times spent together. Describe what you remember: how you felt, what it meant to you, something soppy, any quirky details – it’s always good to make them laugh, and a bit of cheek never goes amiss. Then ask them how they remember the day or moment. Sending a photograph with a written memory is also a lovely and heart-warming way to connect.

KAREN RUIMY, founder of Kalmar wellness and resortwear brand

Sharing love is crucial to us.
We are social beings, and we thrive through exchanges with our friends and families and with strangers. We feed each other energies and experiences that enable us to learn who we are. To love and to connect is the true nature of human beings and we blossom by giving and sharing our gifts and our love.

This pandemic has enabled us to identify what is most important in our lives: the connection to our inner selves and to others, finding our own truths, finding gratitude, balance and joy. And in these difficult times, we need to work to uplift each other. If we share what we are going through and what we are learning, it becomes a global human project that alleviates our painful loneliness.

So it’s important to ring a friend and say ‘I love you’. Hearing the voice is powerful – a voice is intimate and real. You could also write mini-messages to all your loved friends, recreating communities of kindness. So share your recipes, share your experiences of an activity you are discovering or you are good at. It may not seem much, but people need it and love it. Keep the link alive, revive the flow of kindness, rebuild the net of love.

JASMIN HARSONO, Reiki Master

A great practice to remind ourselves that we are always connected is to take a few moments connecting to the energy of the heart. This is a simple yet profound way of recognising and understanding that our heart is connected to the hearts of all living things.

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LIHA OKUNNIWA, founder of Liha Beauty

My tip is going lo-tech as much as possible at weekends. We are all using the internet so much to stay connected to all our favourite things and people, and of course to do all the streaming (!), but I can find the feeling that I’m plugged into my router a bit draining. I use an old-fashioned landline phone so if I switch everything else off, I know people can still get me in case of an emergency. At the moment I’ve found I’m using it more and more – a long old-fashioned phone call with a friend can feel intimate and restful after a week of Zoom fatigue.

I also force my 16-year-old daughter to occasionally play Scrabble with me so we can get in some quality face time. Internet slang is allowed in our version!

REBEKAH BROWN, founder of MPowder plant-based supplements

For colleagues, we’ve instigated a team ‘Wonder Walk’ so we can stay connected while we work remotely. In fact, it’s our only mandatory meeting! We book a team audio conference, grab our coats, headphones and a thermos and walk our local streets – apart but together. We use the call to share one win, one challenge and one ask of each other. Connecting this way ensures we leave our desks and actively ask for and offer support to each other, which is hard to do when you’re not in the same space. It also forces us to look outwards. We each take a photo of something that brings us a small moment of wonder and share it on the group chat after the call.

There is growing research into the value of walking for our brains and our creativity. In fact, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara describes walking as a superpower: ‘our sensory systems work at their best when they’re moving in the world’.

SUZY READING, psychologist and wellbeing specialist

Connection is all about staying current and communicating care. During this chapter of lockdown, this can be hard – not only with those we are apart from but with those we live with. To stay connected with loved ones we are separated from, we need simple ways that don’t deplete us. Zoom isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but easy alternatives include leaving a voice note, sending a care package, writing a postcard, sending a snapshot of something to share the experience of your day, or texting a happy memory you can relive together. For those you live with, kind words of appreciation go a long way. We need a ratio of five positive statements to every negative one, so get good at giving thanks and your relationship will benefit enormously. For people feeling pulled in a million directions right now, set the intention to enjoy a ritual to reunite with loved ones: it can be over a cuppa or snuggle on the sofa – just a few minutes to check in and communicate interest make all the difference.

MIRA MANEK, author and wellness consultant

Many of us have been used to daily connection, to meeting friends and family, to sharing stories over a cup of tea. It’s been so long now since we’ve been able to do this properly and the absence is getting more difficult. What I find incredible, though, is the online communities I have become part of on Instagram, through live classes and talks and in the wellness community. Finding those few people you connect with, the things that uplift you – let that be your guide. Equally important is wrapping up warm and getting out and walking, connecting with nature, feeling the air, observing the birth of spring, smelling the rain and allowing yourself the chance to connect within. Movement, exercise and deep breathing release endorphins, the happy hormones we all need, especially now.

ANITA KAUSHAL, founder, Mauli Rituals

If you are feeling uncertain about your capacity to connect with others, try these simple things before you begin a Zoom meeting or enter a room. First, breathe: settle your mind and body into a relaxed state. Then set an intention to judge nothing and no one. And third, really notice people. If you are feeling fragile, so are they; if you are feeling judged, so are they. What we see in another is a mirror, so be kind to yourself and to others. If you drop your amour and just be, you’ll find things easier.

There is a wonderful Buddhist saying that it is worth trying to remember: ‘in the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you’. Equally, ask yourself, if you were coming into this situation with Love as your primary aim, how would you act, how would you feel? Then each evening and morning, meditate: get still and ask for guidance to give and receive with kindness and grace

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