“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream! Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!” sings the well-known children’s song. It makes life sound so cheerful and easy. In real life though, do you ever feel like you are rowing up stream? Does your boat ride ever seem a little choppier, so also a little less gleeful?

Perhaps this year has felt that way for you. There have been so many things happening in 2020 that can make it seem like the current is flowing against us. The COVID-19 pandemic, a struggling economy, and racial tensions would be enough of a deluge on their own. Then things like wildfires, killer hornets, delaying of events like the Olympics, U.S. presidential campaigning, and hurricanes have also rained down. Now for large sections of the population, heading back to school looks different this year—whether that means meeting online, a hybrid of online and in person, or in person but having to wear a mask and socially distance. In 2020, the water seems to be raging, and many people are wondering when is the tide going to change?

Perceptions matter, including how we perceive changes in the currents and the water levels so to speak. There have been scientific studies done regarding loneliness and the negative health affects it can cause on a person. An interesting discovery is that physical loneliness and perceived loneliness have the same affects. This means that people who may have others around them at times but still feel lonely or lacking in personal connections can suffer the same as people who are physically alone.

While LifeBio cannot directly stop the flood of events that 2020 has brought, we can offer some suggestions to more easily ride the waves. First, we recommend trying to focus on the positive and, if possible, cut out some of the negative things surrounding you. While during an actual flood, the rising water cannot be ignored, focusing on having a boat to stay afloat can help keep calmer than just watching the water creep higher. Today ignoring some of the negative things may mean limiting the amount of time spent on social media, turning off the news, or not talking about topics you know will upset you. Focusing on the positive may include practices like taking a nature walk to focus on the beauty of the outdoors, meditating, praying, or writing down in a journal three things you are thankful for each night before going to sleep.

LifeBio recognizes the importance of people having meaningful interactions with other people. Even if people cannot be together in person right now, we can connect using the telephone or video calls. Socially distanced visits can still be preferred when possible versus having no visits at all. When talking, LifeBio encourages people to have conversations that go beyond the surface of just asking about the weather or what someone had for lunch. We use reminiscent therapy to reflect on our life stories, and we suggest talking about positive life topics from the past, such as school day memories, favorite holidays, or important people in your lives. Even if a more difficult or sad topic comes up, sharing what was learned or how success was reached over time can keep the focus positive.

In times of social distancing, LifeBio encourages people to let their creative juices flow when thinking up ways to still stay connected with others. Perhaps enjoy a socially distanced neighborhood concert with neighbors taking turn playing music for others from their front porches. While the weather is still warmer, children might try to have socially distanced water fights with friends. Distanced family members might try to see who can send each other the silliest selfie photo or come up with the funniest joke. LifeBio offers other unique ideas here.

The storms that 2020 has brought will not last forever. Let us look to and remember the positive. As another well-known song tells us, “Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling. But there’s one thing I know, the blues they send to me, Won’t defeat me. It won’t be long ‘til happiness steps up to greet me…” (as sung in “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” by BJ Thomas). Let’s look to the happiness and not be defeated, for rainbows can only come after the rain.

LifeBio is here to help you stay afloat and have more meaningful connections with others. We offer opportunities to share your life stories, including via our online templates. We also offer products like What’s Your Story cards that aid in reminiscing through conversation, and we have print journals that can help with reflecting on gratitude and positivity. We also power MyHello, which is a loneliness intervention program that connects people through weekly phone calls. You can learn more about the various ways in which we help others at www.lifebio.com.