As communities across the globe work to stop the spread of the Coronavirus through social distancing, staying connected is becoming more important than ever.
Health experts and our government agree that keeping a distance of 6 feet between individuals, staying home unless absolutely necessary and working remotely are paramount to public health. While these measures are certainly necessary and vital, they can also lead to feelings of social isolation.
Even if you aren’t an extrovert, suddenly losing the ability to gather with friends for dinner, grab lunch with long-time coworkers and colleagues or head to the movies with your family can feel isolating and lonely. We all need contact with other people. After all, connection with others promotes good health, supports our well-being and can ease anxiety.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean being completely isolated or even alone. While it’s important to follow medical and government orders to protect both yourself, your loved ones and the general public, there are many ways to safely stay connected and close to the ones you love.
Here are 5 simple ways to get and stay connected during social distancing.
Social media, Zoom, FaceTime and several other digital platforms have never been more important for staying connected. While they can catch some flack for pulling us away from the people right in front of us, during a pandemic, they’re one easy way to pull us closer. Using a digital video conference platform like Zoom or Skype can enable you to gather your closest friends online for a virtual happy hour. Daily FaceTime calls with your grandkids can be an uplifting, fun and hilarious way to stay in touch. Host a weekly dinner call with your best friends, and it’ll be almost as good as dining together. No matter how you choose to connect, doing it virtually makes it easy to reach out and usually with no charge or little expense.
Pick Up the Phone
If talking on the phone has never been your favorite, now might be the time to reconsider. Scheduling a daily phone call with your closest friend, a family member or loved one can make a huge impact on your mood and leave you feeling connected and heard. It isn’t the same as being together in person, but you will be able to give each other undivided attention and quality time in even just one phone call. Catching up and hearing other’s experiences during this time can be a big relief. Sharing your own experiences, fears or worries can help soothe your anxiety and give you a real sense of togetherness, even when you’re apart.
While you can’t reach out and hug your neighbors or spend time together in groups, you can still engage with others from a distance. Plan a family scavenger hunt around the neighborhood and head out on foot, bikes or in the car to identify different trees, flowers or landmarks. While you’re at it, alert your neighbors you’re on the move, and stop to wave and say hello along the way. It might be hard not to stop and have a long chat together, but catching a glimpse of others, moving your body and getting time outside will certainly give you some sense of connection.
Quality Family Time
If you’re at home, social distancing with family members, a roommate or loved ones, now is the time to work on quality. Even as you work remotely and hash out new routines in your space, make sure to include quality connection time in every day. Sit down to dinner together with no devices, play card games together or work on a crossword puzzle on the weekend. Head outdoors for long bike rides, or enjoy an end of the day glass of wine together from your balcony or patio.
Getting outside during periods of social distancing is crucial to both mental and physical health. Head outdoors regularly for short walks, or simply to sit on your patio and soak up the sunset with a cup of tea or chilled glass of wine. While most parks and beaches are closed for social activity, some remain open for exercise. Plan a weekly solo jog or walk along a nearby riverfront or in the woods. Hop on your bike and take a long, peaceful ride on a Saturday morning. Connecting to nature will help you to stay connected to yourself and others, and that’s a big win, anytime of year.