The Value of Maintaining Social Connections in a Time of Social Distancing
By office on Tuesday, March, 24th, 2020 in General Health & Wellness No Comments
As you might already know, as part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 our office in Edmonds is closed right now except for dental emergencies. As we continue to monitor the phones and email, we wanted to share some tips for connecting with loved ones in this time of social distancing.
Introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in-between, every human is by nature a social animal, but you may not realize how crucial these connections are for your overall health.
The World Health Organization recognizes those with a greater support network experience better health and longevity. As the authors of one 2017 paper on social connections put it,
Regardless of one’s sex, country or culture of origin, age or economic background, social connection is crucial to human development, health, and survival. The evidence supporting this contention is unequivocal.
Yet you may holed up at home right now, away from loved ones and colleagues, worried about what the next news cycle will bring. Even if you generally enjoy being alone, these times can feel unsettling.
If you’re not alone – your partner is home with you, or you’re caring for your children or parents, or your cat is sitting on your lap blissfully ignorant of current events – that still may not be enough to prevent those feelings of anxiety and isolation.
What to do? Remind yourself social distancing doesn’t mean being antisocial.
Replace your weekly girls’ night at your favorite cafe or pub with a Skype party, and chat while you share a glass of wine or cup of tea. If you have kids at home, maybe Grandma could read a book to them on FaceTime – or they could read to her! Games kids could play on a video chat – like Pictionary, charades, or Heads Up! – can also be fun on a virtual play date.
Facebook friends can throw a watch party. Try Jimmy Fallon’s at-home editions of The Tonight Show, which are uplifting and silly. (His wife holds the camera, his kids make the signs, and each night he features a different charity and remote interview).
Other options include watching one of the many concerts musicians around the world are live streaming at no cost. Or if it’s sports you crave, you can watch a classic playoff or game, as both the NFL and NBA have made their subscription services free for a limited time.
If your anxiety is getting the best of you, try mediation or yoga or emotional freedom technique tapping. EFT tapping can seem a little odd at first, but many find it’s a great way to release stress and restore energy.
You also could design your own Chopped challenge. Create a “mystery basket” for the chef in your family. Be nice – remember you’re going to have to eat whatever they make – and maybe even take a video with your phone to send to loved ones!
Home with the kids or not, there are so many fun educational videos available online, you can go down the YouTube rabbit hole and come out learning something new during this time at home – math, science, reading, and even doodling!
But just as Mo Willems says – “There is no right doodle and no wrong doodle” – there is no right or wrong way to stay connected with loved ones. It’s just important that you do.
Getting through this means getting through it together.