The phrase of the hour is ‘social distancing’. As we collectively work to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it’s imperative we reduce our exposure to others — to slow the spread of this illness.
But, this distancing doesn’t have to equal loneliness. We simply need to redefine how we socialize.
How to Stay Social, and Stay Home
It’s in times like these I’m thankful for our modern technology, even when we often bemoan the constant ping of notifications on our devices. Those alerts also represent connection.
As we temporarily move away from in-person socializing, finding new ways to connect with others is necessary to keep our mental health from slowly declining.
The American Psychological Association (APA) says social isolation can lead to loneliness the perception that relationships in your life are not meaningful. This lack of connection may affect both your mental and physical health negatively, leading to obesity, stress, unhealthy habits, poor sleep, depression, anxiety issues — and even premature mortality.
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OK, so let’s figure out how to maneuver these difficult times together. I’m turning to my smartphone and video camera on my desktop computer. To stay better connected with friends and family I’m engaging in the following activities, and maybe you can too.
- Start group texts. Sure this isn’t a replacement for a girls’ night out or visit with your extended family, but it’s better than nothing. Pick three or four people and get into a conversation with one another. Send pictures, GIFs and video clips to feel even more connected.
- Use Facebook video chat. If you have the Messenger app, you can do video calls with people on your friend’s list. I love this option to get a quick glimpse at a loved one’s smiling face. You can see their expressions and get a better gauge on the meaning of their words than you can in an email or text message.
- Make phone calls. I know this is old school for some, and terrifying for others, but holding a verbal conversation is rare in our text-heavy culture. Make more calls! Hearing that person’s voice on the other end of the line might just be what you need to lift your spirits, and theirs.
- Be on social media. Yep, I’m advocating for some additional scroll time. There’s something to be said for knowing what people are up to, especially when we’re all in the same situation, hanging out at home. You might also get a few ideas for things to do that you otherwise hasn’t considered. Me? I’m going outside often! Use those yards, patios and balconies!
- Write letters. Start a pen pal relationship with a family member or friend. Think of how fun it is to get a handwritten note in your mailbox, then share the excitement with someone else. It’s a win-win for you both, especially those who don’t have Internet access or prefer not to use electronic devices.
So, how are you staying socially healthy during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020? I’d love to hear your ideas for staying in touch with others in the comment section. You might just inspire another reader to get more social too!
Until next time,
PS: Wonder what I’m up to today? Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!