Humans are social beings. While our community and nation continues to practice social distancing for our physical health and safety, it is equally important to practice good mental health by staying connected to our friends, family and community during this uncertain time.
Despite the current Shelter-in-Place order, you can do your part to flatten the curve and remain physically separated while still staying socially connected with friends and loved ones.
Schedule Some “You” Time
When we talk about staying connected, it’s important to first connect to your own feelings and emotions. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to pay attention to your body and what it needs to stay both physically AND emotionally healthy. If you are sheltering in place with family or roommates, make sure to dedicate some time each week to spend by yourself. Find ways to lessen your anxiety — such as yoga, meditation or reading a new book — and hobbies to keep your brain stimulated — now’s the perfect time to learn a new skill or language!
Stay Social With Technology
When used in moderation, technology can be incredibly helpful in staying connected during these isolating times. While practicing physical distancing, you can still stay socially connected with friends and family via telephone, e-mail, social media or video conference. Consider creative ways to stay connected using technology, such as:
- Netflix parties
There are free services and Google Chrome extensions that allow you and your friends to watch movies or shows together on Netflix. There is even a chat option so you can comment with your reactions in live time.
- Virtual book clubs
Have you always wanted to join a book club, but could never find the time? With extra free time on your hands, now’s your chance! Invite your friends to all purchase the same book and use a video chat service like FaceTime or Skype to start your virtual book club. To avoid going to the store, encourage your group to rent digital copies from their local library or purchase a copy online — you can still support local bookstores by purchasing a copy on their website.
- Online game nights
There are dozens of ways to play games with your friends and family online. “Meet up” online to play PS4 games, Minecraft or even virtual board games together. Want to get really creative? Try a game like pictionary or charades on Skype!
Support Your Community
During this period of isolation, social connection is especially important for our elderly friends, family and community members who may already be more isolated. Try to check in on those who might have limited access to technology during the Shelter-in-Place order. You can help older adults outside your household feel involved by sending them pictures or relevant reading materials. You could even set up a rotating schedule with your circle of friends to call those who might need some extra assistance or socialization in this trying time.
Working and interacting together as one community can help create solidarity as we address the pandemic together. Simple acts of kindness remind us that we’re all in this together, even when physically apart. Remember to do your part to stay physically distant, while still practicing “distant socializing” to stay connected with your friends, family and community.