How to Stay Connected While Social Distancing
It can seem overwhelming to stay connected while social distancing. While you might have to distance yourself physically, you can stay social connected during this time.
I’m going into week 5 of staying at home. I still get out for walks or to ride my bike. I have occasionally gone to the store. I have three people that I have seen in person.
I feel very alone at times. I know many of you do too.
Part of the problem is that we have no idea how long it will be like this. At this point, even if they opened up the restaurants and businesses, I still wouldn’t go.
I’m staying at home because it seems like the most socially responsible thing to do.
However, it still sucks. I miss PEOPLE. PEOPLE in person. Hugs. Sitting close and talking.
Social distancing is not what humans were made for.
We need social connection. In fact, having social connections is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.
Lack of social connections is considered an actual health risk as dangerous as moderate smoking.
So, not only are we faced with a real physical risk, we are also suffering from social distancing. It’s important to stay connected while social distancing!
I’ve now seen several articles that call it physical distancing, to point out that while we have to keep a physical distance, we should also make an effort to keep our social connections.
The Benefit of Social Connection
Our social connections are important. For those of us that live alone and struggle with this already, this is a tough time. Loneliness is a REAL problem that can have serious implications on our health.
Even people at home with partners and family are struggling. No one was expecting to live 24/7 with the same people for an unknown time length.
Everything we’ve ever known is a little topsy-turvy right now!
But our basic human need for connection is still as strong as ever. People need people!
Our social connections help us to maintain not just our mental and emotional health; they are also important to our physical health.
However, we are in a time, when we can’t even be near our friends or most of our family. I never dreamed there would be a day when I wouldn’t hug my daughter when I saw her.
How to Stay Connected While Social Distancing
Since the reality is that we are not going to be around other people much and other forms of communication are limited, it’s important to use your own mind to feel connected.
I’m going to share doable ways to connect with others, but I want to start with you. Relationships start in our head.
It is our mind that determines how connected we feel. I believe it makes the most sense to start feeling connected with others by using your thoughts to get connected.
Then when you reach out, you will be doing it from a loving connected place that will enhance all your communication.
Here are my favorite ways to feel connected to loved ones.
- Spend time thinking good thoughts about the people you love.
- If you journal, write lists of things you love about people in your life.
- Look at their pictures and remember good times.
- If you have kids, be sure and send their grandparents lots of pictures and videos.
- Make scrapbooks about people you love and things you did together.
- If you are holding onto any kind of hurt or grudge, let that stuff go. That’s a poison you just don’t need right now. Check out How to Forgive When You Don’t Feel Like It
You really can create feelings of connection with your very own mind, from the comfort of your home! Even during this time of social distancing!
However, I also recommend finding practical ways to connect with real people. Since we can’t see them in person, here are some ideas to try.
Ways to Connect While Physical Distancing
The good old phone!
My mom is 87 and lives across the country. I call her every day to check in. Those check-ins often last 45 minutes!
It’s been good for both of us to connect more often and it helps her be patient and not go out. I help her brainstorm ways to get her connection needs met safely.
Set up phone calls with friends and family. Don’t wait to get phone calls either. Let your people know you need some phone time.
I talk to friends a few times a week on the phone. We might not be able to meet in a coffee shop but we can share coffee time as we chat on the phone.
I check in with people often to say hi and ask how they are. It means a lot to me when people do that to me and I do it often these days.
Send pictures. Use texting to brighten someone’s day.
Smile and wave
I love to walk outside and I usually just do my thing and I don’t pay too much attention to the people around me.
Now when I walk, there are so many more people out walking! Sure, they scoot aside as we pass but I still try to connect with a smile, wave, and a thank you if they were the ones that moved aside.
These days, I try to make eye contact and say hi, from a safe distance of course. Most of the time I get the same back. It’s a human connection and while small, it feels really good.
How to connect with virtual meetings
As of this writing, Zoom is in the news for security breaches. I’ve done my research and I try to make my meetings as safe as possible. So, while I still use Zoom, you may want to investigate other ways to meet.
Here is an article about other virtual meetings. You might find something that is better for you and your family and friends.
Zoom is an amazing platform. I use it for coaching. The other day, a friend of mine used it to gather 15 of her cousins from around the country to talk to each other.
You can do it from your computer or phone. You can set up a free account and invite people to video chat with you.
While it’s promoted as a business tool, lots of people are using it to keep in touch with family and friends. If you have school-aged kids, they might be using it too.
A week ago, I set up a Zoom meeting for my siblings and me. We had the best time.
The four of us had not talked all together in years! We liked it so much we scheduled another one.
For the next one, I invited my mom and my own children. My sisters invited their kids. We ended up with a “room” full of people including my ex-husband.
Last night I did a Happy Hour with the family group. At one point, we had 12 screens/computers joined, 21 people, and four generations.
Stories were told, everyone had a chance to say how they were doing, and we remembered the people that weren’t with us anymore.
My heart was so full!
On a side note, I’m a smiler. A lot of my family is not. So, I would worry whether everyone was enjoying the get-together.
Last night I just let that go. People could just be as they were. Some hardly said a word. Others were more talkative.
But they all stayed two hours!
Social connection with Facebook Messenger
I had never used the video chat option on FB Messenger. My sister introduced this to me.
If you and the other people you want to video chat with have FB Messenger, it’s as easy as calling on the phone.
When you are in the app on your phone, you can add the people you want to talk to for your chat and dial them all at once.
This is better for a small group 2 – 4 people rather than a big group with many people.
While chatting, you can apply filters to yourself. It’s kind of silly but we all had fun with it, even my mom. You can add hats, funny faces, glasses, and different lighting to your screen.
It was entertaining.
Beyond that, it was a great way to connect and stay in touch.
My sisters both have husbands. My mom and I are single. It’s important to me to keep my mom feeling connected, not just to me but to the whole family.
Physical Distance but don’t Social Distance
We don’t know how long that we will need to physical distance ourselves from other people. However, you can maintain close social connections!
Doing this will help you maintain and even strengthen your relationships. At this point, I am feeling closer to my family than ever before.
Let me know what you are doing to create closer social bonds by hitting reply to this email. I read and answer every email.
Let’s stay connected!
Thinking of you all and wishing you safety and peace.
Coach with Sara
Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.