The Stress of the Disconnect

disconnection image with peopleI worked from home from mid-March until early June.

Like so many workers, this was my first extended foray into remote working. I had enough knowledge from multiple trainings on the subject to know the importance of specific routines. Things like setting up a specific work space, setting boundaries about work hours, and creating rituals like drinking tea before starting work all helped set me up for success.

Yet over time, I realized that the biggest challenge was the stress of disconnection.

I’m not talking about a technology disconnection, as I was connected through the internet the entire time.

The disconnection came in the form of the small pieces of information you pick up through random exchanges in the hallways of office settings. Often it is that random moment when you cross paths with someone that you are reminded of a question you have or a project for which you need to get information on to complete. Without these interactions, information flow naturally slows. It is not an intentional shut down of information, but it does not change the feeling of isolation.

All of this made me think about the disconnection our children feel when they come into care. They have been physically removed from a familiar environment. Often, especially in the early days of separation, they cannot have contact with the family and friends that provided them with their information about the world. Depending on the situation, that disconnection can last for weeks or months as steps are taken to provide safety and stability for the child.

With all the physical distancing over the past several months, even those children who had started reconnecting were placed back into a place of disconnection. It is not so much about the big information exchanges, but the little moments that happen when you are in the same physical space that make a difference.

This has been a stressful time around the world, and even more so for those who are the most vulnerable. Please take the time to consider how you can help lessen the disconnection for our children as the world reopens.

Melissa Hopkins is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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