While socializing is an integral part of our lives, with the outbreak of COVID-19 and social distancing rules, a lot has changed. We are no longer able to have those face-to-face interactions with others – whether that is meeting a friend for dinner, having an in-person chat with colleagues, or even a high-five with an old friend. Without these regular interactions, many people may start to feel lonely and disconnected. You can view my recent video on self-compassion during COVID-19 here.
Here are some ways we can use technology to stay connected — for both our mental and physical health.
Stay Social on Social Media
Social media is a large part of the modern world and how people interact with each other. It can be used to reinforce your relationships and rekindle those connections — even while we are all social distancing.
Consider making time to connect with friends or family through video platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom, amongst others. These platforms offer an amazing compromise for face-to-face interaction. You can even include numerous calls simultaneously so you can have an entire virtual gathering with family and friends from the comfort of your home (potentially, even in your pyjamas!).
You can also consider the positive attributes of virtual interaction which include time saved getting ready, commuting, and costs associated with going out.
Talk (and Virtually Hug) It Out
When you are able to share your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences with others, you can experience reduced feelings of stress and feel closer to friends and family.
Keeping your feelings hidden or trying to manage difficult emotions on your own can often lead to an overwhelming and confusing experience. During this time, we all may experience feelings of fear, uncertainty, and loneliness. Being able to share such emotions with either a friend, family member, or therapist can help you organize your thoughts and feelings, as well as allow you to feel heard, supported, and less alone.
Make Time for Group Activities
It is important to include time for our own individual hobbies, interests, and activities. However, being in isolation with your family or spouse also serves as an opportunity to connect and foster these relationships — perhaps ones that you previously didn’t have much time for during the daily grind. Schedule family game nights or try new crafts with family, such as painting or cooking new dishes together.
With your partner, find creative ways to have a date or do something together such as learning a new skill or craft. Use this time as an opportunity to reconnect and form stronger bonds with your loved ones. It might be just what you need.
Reconnect on a Regular Basis
This is the perfect time to reach out to friends and relatives who you have not spoken to in a while. As our busy lives move forward, it becomes difficult to maintain all of the relationships in our lives given external demands such as work, family, finances, and other obligations we manage on a daily basis.
With more available time, we can use this opportunity to reach out to those we have not spoken to in a while. Reconnecting and building relationships provide a significant sense of connection and well-being. And admittedly, you may have been putting off reaching out to these individuals for quite some time. There’s never been a better time than right now to reach out.
Offer Support to Others
Just as it is important to share our thoughts and feelings with others, reaching out to family, friends, colleagues, or a neighbour can invoke feelings of pleasure and happiness.
Remember that many people that you know and throughout the world are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings during this crisis. Being able to provide emotional support and help for others is an altruistic act that is hardwired in your brain to make you feel good. This can be done in many simple ways, which may include a simple phone call to ask how someone’s week is going, how they are handling things, or to even talk about some Netflix recommendations.
Bhatia Psychology Group offers secure video and online therapy to process any potential feelings, such as loneliness, anxiety, grief, loss and uncertainty. We can further help with relationship counselling, family support, and individual therapy. Book your virtual appointment today and get the support you need.