Being separated from family, friends, and coworkers can be a challenge under any circumstances. With recent national guidelines encouraging all of us to practice social distancing and isolate in our homes temporarily, we are all being forced to make difficult adjustments and sacrifices when it comes to our routines and social lives. If you are struggling to maintain your social relationships in the midst of this crisis, here are 5 ways to stay connected and social during an isolation period:
- Use Technology to Bridge the Gap: One benefit of living in a technologically advanced society is that we have countless options to connect virtually with the people in our lives. While many businesses have transitioned to a remote or “work-from-home” setup during this period, we may not realize that these same tools can be used to maintain personal social connections as well. In addition, most major social media platforms have direct video chat options, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, which are intuitive and simple to use.
- Open Up to Trusted Family and Friends: While others in your social circle may appear to be unfazed by recent events in our world, it is important to remember that we are all in “uncharted territory” right now. This period of social distancing and isolation will affect all of us in our own ways. It is very likely that close family and friends are facing their own challenges right now. Being vulnerable with the people we trust about our own struggles and fears can help to open up a conversation that will benefit everyone involved.
- Learn about Telehealth Options or Join an Online Support Group: In times of crisis, those of us who struggle with a diagnosed physical or mental health condition may find it difficult to stay connected with supportive professionals or peer supports. Fortunately, many medical and behavioral health professionals have begun to offer telehealth services in order to ensure patients and clients can continue to maintain essential appointments remotely. In addition, there are a great number of online support groups available which can help to keep us connected with others who can relate to our individual struggles (more information on online support groups can be found at www.nami.org).
- Continue to Celebrate Important Dates and Milestones: Removed from our office PCs, desk calendars, and appointment reminders, it can be easy for us to lose track of time as we practice safe social distancing and isolation. Make sure that important dates (such as family birthdays, anniversaries, or sobriety celebrations) are acknowledged and celebrated in whatever way is safe and possible. If it is important for others to be involved in these celebrations, use some of the tools mentioned in #1 to make sure they can be a part of the special day!
- Maintain a Regular “Check-In” with Close Loved Ones: With most predictions for when social distancing guidelines will be relaxed being pushed out to at least May 1, 2020, it is essential that we work to build a routine of healthy connection and support through this uncertain time. One way to promote this with close loved ones would be to schedule a regular “check-in” to make sure everyone is healthy and coping well with this crisis.