No matter how adept you are at measuring a six-foot space between you and other people, social distancing and stay-at-home orders can be difficult. Research has shown that a lack of social connection can raise the risk of depression, increase inflammation in the body, and harm overall health.
But how can you adhere to social distancing guidelines without feeling completely socially isolated from others? In this Orange County Register article, Osmond Marketing founder Amy Osmond Cook shares five simple things you can do right now to stave off loneliness while keeping yourself and others healthy. Here are some article highlights:
Engage in some face time.
Humans are social creatures, which is why many people struggle with a lack of regular human interaction. Some research has found video calls can keep people connected and help decrease loneliness.
“Social bonds don’t just make people feel good emotionally—they also impact physical and mental health,” says Dan Bushnell, administrator at Gramercy Court Assisted Living. “Maintaining even a virtual connection with others can help you manage the stress that can come with being physically isolated.”
Connect with an online group that shares your interests.
Joining an online book club, a fly-fishing group, an online art class, or other groups that share common interests is a great idea, especially during these uncertain times. Support groups are great ways for people to connect with others who seek connection through common hobbies and are going through the same feeling of isolation.
Keep up contact with family.
If you typically follow a weekly Sunday night phone call routine with family, it may be time to ramp up that schedule. A recent poll found that nearly half (45 percent) of American adults reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. You can offer support by calling or sending texts regularly.
Interact with coworkers.
Even before COVID-19 forced many companies to transition business operations to a remote work environment, experts say over five million Americans were working from home at least half of the time. But for many employees, self-isolation is taking a toll on their mental health. If you find yourself missing those work lunches or stand-up meetings by the vending machines, it’s time to reach out to coworkers via online chats or video conferencing and keep those work relationships alive and healthy.
Lower your stress.
Frank Holloway, president of Advanced Management Company, says communities can play an important role in helping residents get through hard times. “We are all working through this together, and we want our tenants to know they are not alone,” Holloway says. “Our priority is finding ways to support our residents with both physical and social needs.”
According to Holloway, AMC’s properties strive to create a positive culture that focuses on the well-being of residents. The close-knit relationships in these communities are especially important during a crisis, helping residents build connections with others.
Fortunately, many communities have found ways to support local neighborhoods. People stay connected through simple activities like online yoga classes, video game tournaments, and remote painting classes.
These are scary times, indeed. But remember that these are temporary circumstances. While you are social-distancing to prevent the spread of illness, don’t let yourself retreat into social isolation. By staying connected to family, friends, coworkers, and others who can offer positive support, we can find comfort being alone together rather than just being alone.