In Tri Delta’s new series, “3 For You,” we’re covering the best tips from experts as we navigate our new circumstances during COVID-19. Tri Delta alumna Kristin Schell, Texas, offers insight on building community in a time of social distancing. Read her three tips below, or listen to the podcast.
Kristin Schell is on a mission to love her neighbors. A few years ago, she put a picnic table in her front yard, painted it turquoise, and began inviting neighbors, friends, and even strangers, to hang out and do life together at The Turquoise Table®. Then it turned into a movement.
Today, there are Turquoise Tables all across the world. In all 50 states and in 11 countries, Turquoise Tables have become a symbol of hospitality, a safe place to sit down and connect over a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea.
Unfortunately, gathering is something we’re missing out on today. Kristin shares her three tips on how we can continue to connect with others through community during a time of social distancing.
Tip #1 Isolation vs. Loneliness
Loneliness is the lack of meaningful connection—it’s different from being alone. While we are practicing social distancing right now, we don’t have to be lonely. There are ways to still get meaningful connection and that’s more important now than ever before. We can still have connections, they just have to be from 6 feet away!
Technology and being outside are our two biggest ways to do that right now. Take a walk, or hang out in your front yard, on your porch or balcony, and wave when someone walks by—they’re lonely too. This is an opportunity to both make a new connection and enhance current ones. Say hello and meet someone new. It’s an opportunity for both new connections and enhancing current ones.
Tip #2 Practice Hospitality
There’s a difference between hospitality and entertainment. Having people over, putting on a party or gathering—that’s entertainment. Hospitality means love of stranger. While we may not be able to entertain or have people in our homes right now, we can still practice hospitality.
The very first thing in practicing hospitality right now is to take care of ourselves. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s similar to when you’re on an airplane and you put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child. We can’t let ourselves become strangers right now, so it’s important to be in tune with our emotions, feelings and to keep up our routines. We must practice self-care and love ourselves, so we can extend that love to others.
Tip #3 Be a Good Neighbor
We have to fill our cups, and then they can overflow! Once we’re taking good care of ourselves this is an incredible opportunity to take care of others too. We all have ways that we can look out for one another, and it starts with getting to know people. Pre-corona, we may have been friendly. Perhaps you would wave as you passed someone in your neighborhood, but there’s a difference between a friendly environment and one where you really know people.
Our current situation is leveling the playing field. We’re all worried about being lonely—it just takes someone to have the courage to start the group text. Maybe find two people in your neighborhood and ask them if they’d like to be added to a text list. Now, more than ever, our defenses are down and our vulnerability is at a place where we can take advantage of it in a good way. But somebody has make the first move… Somebody has to be brave, and that’s what we are as a sisterhood! So let’s be the ones to send that first email exchange or create the Zoom invite. Let’s be the ones to make a difference during this time.