Avoiding Isolation While Social Distancing
This isn’t the spring I was expecting. Weddings and parties have been postponed; races and dinners, canceled entirely. A global pandemic is keeping us cooped up in our homes.
It’s been over a month since I’ve seen many family members, and it’s easy to feel isolated. You may have to social distance, but it doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from everybody.
It can take a little more work and creativity, but you can still keep in touch with people, and keep your spirits up. Here are a few suggestions.
Check in with loved ones
Early on during my “social distancing,” I chatted with friends and family daily. As time went on, I grew bored of saying, “Hey, still hanging in there?” Soon enough, I would realize I let 4–5 days go by without sending even a text to certain people.
I now make it a point to check in with people more frequently. I try to send and ask for photos, so I’m still a part of my friends and family’s lives.
Calls or texts aren’t your only option, either. You can use Facetime on iPhones, or Google Duo on Android, to make video calls. This is especially helpful if you have a loved one in a nursing home, and can’t visit. It’s not the same as being there, but it can brighten someone’s day.
If it’s safe to do so, put on a mask and take a walk or a run outside. Or, do pushups or other exercises in your home. Exercising more is linked to improving your mood. Moving more will help you be social again when the time is right.
And you don’t have to exercise alone. Many fitness classes are starting up on video platforms like Zoom. Taking a yoga class from home is a great way to stay connected with others while staying healthy.
Instead of planning the dessert for Easter dinner, I’m sending out greeting cards. Some family members are also planning on cooking a holiday dinner, then putting the food in bags on their steps for others to take.
You have to be cautious about contact, but grabbing a bag and washing your hands after is fairly safe. And it can help you feel more connected than just ordering takeout.
Recreate movie night
If you’ve got someone with you in quarantine, schedule a movie night. Cook (or order out) a nice dinner, make some popcorn, and settle in for a movie or TV show you haven’t seen before.
If you’re alone, ask a friend to watch a movie at the same time as you, and Facetime after it to discuss it. You can also create virtual book clubs and other gatherings.
If you’re battling feelings of depression, reach out to a counselor. Many now do telehealth, and can provide sessions over the phone or through video. This is a rough time, and many people will need help to get through it. Don’t feel alone — we’re all in this together.