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Sarah and Kate Talk Social Muscle

SARAH AND KATE TALK SOCIAL MUSCLE

The minute I heard the term ‘social muscle’, what sprung to mind was Robert de Niro, ‘You talking to me?’ in Taxi Driver. The scene is of a lonely, paranoid man talking to his mirror and waving a gun around. This made me laugh out loud at myself; I’m obviously a bit rusty in the social graces department. We have all got used to seeing ‘mini-me’ at the end of the screen (with the bad hair), but talking to a mirror is not good practice before meeting real people.

When I imagine a post-lockdown-me in a social setting, it’s very tempting to imagine sunshine, brown limbs, heads thrown back in laughter, crowds, dancing! Reality check – I am not 20 and living in the Caribbean. We probably all carry fantasy-land images in our heads of postlockdown life, and it would be easy for this to morph into a negative thought cycle where we feel self-critical about our appearance or social performance.

The best thing about real life interactions with other people is not having to view your own performance: instead, you can focus on them. They, in turn, are going to be grateful to have the company, and will love your full attention. Enjoying being with others is not something any of us have will have to practice: we have all being living through the same experience of real-lifeinteraction deprivation. I think it’s important to remember that. People will not be demanding a performance, entertainment or stories from you – Netflix can do that. Cripes, haven’t we all seen enough telly!

I have noticed a distinct dip in my communication with and from my friends lately. * Nobody has any news, so nobody is getting in touch. We are all feeling a little flat and it’s not really a mood we want to share around. But this is the time we need each other the most. Zoom quizzes, amusing GIFS and chats about the latest news headline are wearing thin, so here are some alternative lines of communication that I’ve been finding nourishing:

Writing with a pen and paper may seem utterly archaic to the tech savvy, but there is something deeply satisfying about committing your thoughts to paper. I have taken to sending my friends handmade cards with handwritten ramblings. I love the process, and they love receiving something in the post. It’s a win-win
While I am on my lunch break walk, I leave a friend a little voice note, to wish them a good day.
I’m as much a fan of GIFS as the next person, but they don’t quite replace a good laugh, or heart to heart with a friend. Instead of forwarding that hilarious cat meme, why not send a friend your favourite poem instead. It might be just the soul-lifting thing they need to receive. The cat meme will probably help too… send both!

* This article was written in early March.

My last real social whirl was far from heady, we perched on broken outdoor furniture, six feet away.

Any attempt to look attractive was soon abandoned in favour of anoraks and fleecy blankets. Frozen toes, numb bums and midges: it was great. I love my friends. Whenever I feel a burst of understandable stress about my awful hair, I have a few drops of my Flower Essences. Female Essence does the trick for ‘fat days’, and Confidence Essence does what it says on the tin. Real social connection is not in your head, it’s with the people you love.

Once we are set free into the world of real-life-in-person social contact, I’m not sure I will remember how to communicate in anything other than GIFS and cat memes.

I anticipate some awkward social moments as I get used to using sentences again. To ease the anxiety I will inevitably feel, I plan to keep Passiflora Complex Spray/Valerian Stress Relief (called Stress Relief Daytime in the UK) nearby at all times. Maybe I’ll carry some printed cat memes around in my pocket too. Just in case.

Stress Relief Daytime Valerian-Hops oral drops
A traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms of stress and mild anxiety, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the leaflet.

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Sarah and Kate Talk Social Muscle