One of the strategies that was mentioned on Wednesday during ‘Managing Anxiety During COVID’ webinar was the benefits & importance of having physical conversations whether via phone or face to face on positive topics to help release Dopamine which aids in inducing happiness. Apart from having a wonderful breakfast one Sunday morning in June with people from Deutsche in Melbourne group, where I was made to feel completely welcome & met new people, I haven’t spent time with more than 6 people face to face since March due to isolating & then Lockdown 2.0. I’ve kept in regular contact with friends & family, but lately this has been mostly through messaging & emails, not engaging in physical conversations apart from for work and my studies.
I took the advice, and after work rang my friend who has been checking in with me daily to see how I’m going. Wow, I couldn’t believe what a difference having this physical chat had on my overall feeling of happiness, & energy level. We talked about absolutely random things, and laughed a lot. I really value their friendship; plus, the pics of Yarra & the South bank they send me when they are out for their daily exercise have helped me to still feel connected to outside of my little bubble.
“Those meaningless & random conversations you have with really good friends are one of the best types of conversations to have” – Unknown
Since then I’ve had a planned catch up session last night, and then two surprise phone calls from overseas. One late last night, and another call very early this morning. It was great to be able to chat about a myriad of topics with each person. Most importantly although COVID & Lockdown were mentioned, they were not the main things we talked about.
What have I talked about over the last 24 hours that did not involve COVID-19, work or my assignments?
Conversation 1: A really fun conversation was had getting to know someone better where we chatted about their life growing up in Germany, and realising that we both have a love for the alpine garten at Schynige Platte where you can sit and look out towards the Jungfrau. This is my favourite part of Switzerland, and am so grateful that I was able to visit there on several occasions whilst living in Germany.
If you are interested here is a link to the Jungfrau region & Schynige Platte.
We also realised they grew up not far from where I lived in Münster, and we had a great chat about Wuppertal’s Schwebebahn (Overhead suspension railway). The first time I saw this amazing feat of engineering was on a train journey from Köln (Cologne) to Münster. I must admit that the first time I saw the Schwebebahn I thought it looked like something straight out of Thunderbirds (maybe this is where the creators of Thunderbirds got inspiration from). After discovering that construction begun in 1898 and opened for passengers in 1901, I was even more amazed. It’s pretty cool to ride on, but it took me a little bit of time to get my head around that you are travelling by suspension railway straight past people’s apartment windows, who went about their lives with curtains fully open.
Conversation 2: A friend who I have known for more than 15 years surprised with a call late last night from the UK. Even though we haven’t chatted for over a year (life just got in the way), it was just like old times. They wanted to remind me of the how carefree and happy I seemed to be 15 years ago, and let me know how impressed they have been with me, as I navigated the transition to singledom over the last 12 months. This really touched me, as I didn’t realise how drained I had been for several years, but also how despite being 15 years older, I have really regained my sense of self, and fun. We had a good laugh at the fun times we had, and talked about each of our plans / goals for the future.
“Those late night conversations I don’t mind losing sleep over” – Unknown
Conversation 3: And last but not least one of my dearest friends who I am Godmother to her children called me this morning from the UK. We chatted about potential career options, but most importantly it was wonderful hearing what my godchildren have been up to, including their preparations for returning to learning at school. I do miss them, although I’m not too sure if I’m happy that my godson who is only 5 yrs old is already taller than my shoulder height (this is a definite problem when you are as short as a garden gnome). I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time I am able to travel overseas again, he will be well and truly taller than me.
Despite some lack of sleep, I feel more alive and energised than I have in a couple of months. I’ll definitely be engaging in the strategy of physically talking to people about general conversations more often. It has also been nice taking a break from my studies tonight to just chill out and watch a move