Reach Out and… Touch?
By: Debi Tyler Newsom
Reach out and... Touch!
This might date me, but I was just thinking about the old Bell commercial Reach out and touch someone! (link to YouTube) when I received an email from a client PAC has a relationship with, outlining their precautions and mentioning that same Bell jingle. At PAC, we talk about the sequence of visual, verbal and touch. In this time of COVID-19, seeing or hearing about a need can then be followed with a touch.
How can we reach out and touch?
Maybe the real question is “How creative are you?” Meals, phone calls, shopping, video chats, errands, thoughtful notes…the list is endless.
Who can we touch?
No, I don’t mean physically touch. You know about social distancing from watching news reporters sit six feet apart at the table when they report. Your bottle of hand sanitizer is half gone and it’s only Wednesday. But social distancing does not mean emotional distancing.
You might catch yourself thinking, “I don’t have any elderly neighbors or know anyone who needs anything.” The elderly are more vulnerable, and social isolation can be a real challenge for a care partner or loved one. However, this situation is unprecedented and affects everyone. Letting a co-worker know you are thinking of them, dropping off a gift card to someone now out of work, calling a friend or service provider to encourage them, and giving a parent of college age kids an opportunity to vent about their new situation are all ways of “touching.”
What is a “touch?”
Think about a “touch” being anything that brightens someone else’s day, provides a smile, brings a feeling of hope, or a moment of joy.
Where do I find someone to “touch?”
Start at home. Find ways to encourage your own family members who might have unspoken anxiety or concern. Children are sensitive to parents cues and will imitate what they see. Be a role model for reasonable, responsive actions that help others. Provide a tone that says, “This is temporary and we will get through it together.”
Consider friends, neighbors and community members affected in different ways and brainstorm with your family who you can “touch” with some kindness. Think about owners of local businesses that are temporarily closed.
Look online to state and national efforts. If you are able, look for (reputable) charitable organizations that you can donate to.
Why should I help “touch?”
Hmm…Feeling anxious? Well actually, doing for others is a proactive way to feel a bit more in control, and the emotions of giving are just as beneficial for the “giver” as they are for the recipient. Your focus on others diverts some of that negative energy from your own situation and inspires hope in others. Children learn valuable life lessons from your example. Communities rally with strength and the knowledge that, as uncertain as things are now, we will get through this together.
I’m guessing you have already supported someone in a kind way. Keep at it, because the longer this goes on, the more support and encouragement will be needed. Maybe there are three or four people you can focus on with consistent “touches.” Maybe you think of three or four different people every week that might need your “touch.”
…Reach out and Touch! Sing it with me!