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7 Ways to Stay Connected While Maintaining Social Distancing

Though we practice many new protocols now, maintaining and enhancing our social connections remain as important as ever in this more challenging time.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need to follow a social distancing protocol. To prevent the spread of the virus, we need to avoid contact with people outside our household. In this way, we can help prevent people from getting sick, which also means saving the lives of many people. Even though we cannot be physically close, we can still stay connected. With the help of technologies we have available today, we can stay home and protect against COVID-19, but stay socially connected with people we love and care about through any means of communication, like text, call, or many other platforms.[1]

Human beings are social creatures. Our connection to others helps us battle diseases, thrive, and survive. Research reveals that people who take part in meaningful, productive, and social activities generally live longer, have a sense of purpose, and maintain a better mood.[2] There are numerous ways to stay socially connected while staying put. It does not matter whenever or wherever they are, as long as you find ways to connect them. Here are seven creative things people have been doing to stay connected:

1. Utilize technology and online platforms

We use technology to connect, especially today that we are digitally connected. We can connect to people in many various ways. Like with video calls, for instance, you can see and hear the person you are talking to. Smartphones, computers, and tablets with videoconferencing software and apps allow you to interact with people face-to-face. Some of the most popular video platforms are Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and a lot more. You can schedule or create a meeting time and send out invites to friends or loved ones.

Most people nowadays already depend on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with people throughout the world. These platforms can be used to communicate with people, learn and share ideas and skills. From there, you can keep in touch by interacting with people and groups that use the platforms in a positive way. Going digital unleashes unlimited possibilities for staying in touch.

2. Invite your friends to join online exercise programs

You used to have a regular face-to-face gym workout or a regular place where you and your partner or friends might go for exercise or workout goals. But now you can still go on with your goals in virtual ways. A lot of major exercise programs have made all or part of their platforms free in response to the pandemic. Whether it’s yoga, dance cardio, or workout, you, your partner, or your group can still arrange to meet at a certain time, log in together, and do your workout and exercise programs online.

3. Attend virtual gatherings

Class reunions or family reunions can be done even beyond the pandemic that hinders your get-together due to social distancing. You do not need to cancel any of your annual family reunions, high school or college reunions, or any time-honored events. You can do it online rather than gather face-to-face. You can be the host or an attendee at a virtual event. There are so many ways to convert most in-person activities into virtual gatherings and make them really fun and creative. Even musicians and celebrities are putting on events like concerts or live performances for their safe-at-home and essential-worker fans. You can get started by searching for keywords for your favorite songs or genres along with the free online concerts. Well-known musicians participating include John Legend, Pink, and Chris Martin of Coldplay.

Even schools, gyms, yoga studios, and local attractions such as zoos and museums are getting creative, offering opportunities to enjoy what they offer digitally where you can attend virtually. Even better, most are making these services, classes, and attractions available for free.

4. Attend virtual tours

Even tours nowadays can be enjoyed virtually. You can still go to a lovely place, to tourist attractions, museums, or even the zoo. You can go to many incredible museums around the world if you desire, and still stay home. There were a lot of zoos and museums that made their virtual tour offers available for free to support the public during the pandemic. You may see footage of zoo animals encountering each other for the first time. Your desktop, tablet, or smartphone can take you anywhere you want to go. With your friend, you can visit a zoo or museum by taking a virtual tour. You can go with Google Earth even though it is not the same, but still, you can go all over the world and see the places you want to see or places you have never seen before. Invite a friend or anyone close to you to have a virtual tour together and do some chitchat after the experience.

5. Join online groups

You can join an online group where people can chat or leave messages, which will help you stay connected at any time. You might set up a group for your family, your colleagues, your friends, your neighborhood, or your friends. Your group might discuss anything and everything, or you might focus on a certain topic, like your hobbies or activities. There are lots of places operating online that offer exercise and cultural classes. You could take an exercise class, stretch out with some yoga, a talent class, or learn a new skill like painting through an online art studio. Classes like these are a great way of feeling connected to other people.

6. Play digital games

You could play games and enjoy them with your friends online. You can have a similar experience playing games through apps, consoles, or streaming services. You can compete alone or with others or in a group. There are a lot of games and applications to choose from, and you can play live against other players in other parts of the world or learn from a top player by watching them stream.

7. Revive old-fashioned conversations or letters

Nothing beats the old-fashioned way, the usual and traditional way of connecting. It is plain and simple, but a memorable one and exciting too. Writing letters is an activity the whole family can use to stay in touch with loved ones. Especially the seniors, who would love to receive a letter or a simple card.

Takeaway

Social distancing does not mean being alone. Feeling connected to other people is good for us. Keep checking in, keep communicating, keep making the time to prioritize the relationships that make you feel great. We all need contact with other people because connections promote wellness. Human connection is essential for good health, especially when life presents situations that can cause increased anxiety. The feeling of being socially isolated can impact your mental wellbeing. It can make people feel sad, anxious, lonely, and depressed. We want to make sure that during this time, you have ways to stay connected to your family, friends, and community, even if you cannot see them in person.

Social connections are the threads that help people bind together. By prioritizing human interactions and finding meaningful ways to connect during this time of physical distance and social isolation, we can support each other and our own health and well-being. Now is the time to find ways to stay connected and promote health and well-being. A good place to start is by reflecting and reviewing your current social relationships and activities. Reaching out to friends and associates from the past can help too. There is still time to rebuild and renew relationships and to create a stronger sense of community at all levels.

References:

  1. Staying connected during COVID-19 crisis. (2020, April 17). Scripps Health. https://www.scripps.org/news_items/6943-how-to-stay-socially-connected-while-social-distancing
  2. 10 ways to stay connected during COVID-19. (n.d.). International Council on Active Aging®. https://www.icaa.cc/blog/2020-04/10-ways-to-stay-connected-during-COVID-19.htm

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