Staying connected during a time of social distancing doesn’t have to be hard. While many people are itching for the day they can finally visit their favorite restaurant for a lunch date with their friends again, it can be easy to forget that there are still ways to build your social life virtually! Why sit alone in your home for hours when you can schedule a long phone call or video chat with a family member you haven’t talked to in ages? Start thinking about ways being confined in your home can bring social advantages you may not have thought of.
Keeping yourself connected is a two-part process. There is a degree of self-care involved—staying engaged to prevent depression and loneliness—but there is also an outward reaching component. Is there someone in your life who could use a phone call? Maybe they live alone already, and social distancing is keeping them from any interaction whatsoever. Its important to take care of not only ourselves, but the people in our lives during this hard time.
“It’s a way of reframing your existence. Getting out from the negative vortex and feeling free to do something that is meaningful.”
– Stephen Post, Bioethicist
Here are a few things you can do to make sure the people around you are looked after:
- If you’re crafty, make facemasks for your friends and family to let them know their safety matters to you.
- Check on your neighbors. If you don’t have their phone number, slipping a short note into their mailbox to let them know you’re there for them will work just as well.
- Donate to charities in your area who may be struggling right now to find funding.
- Keep financially supporting workers in your life that you usually pay—babysitters, cleaning professionals, dog walkers, housesitters, etc.
- Order take-out or delivery from local restaurants who may be struggling.
- Reach out to any healthcare professionals in your life, and serve them in any way you can whether its cooking a meal, offering to run errands for them—you name it!
- Make an effort to initiate a phone call with the elderly in your life regularly. They may be especially lonely or anxious about the virus. Take some time to encourage them on a regular basis.
- Offer to go grocery shopping for people in your life who may be at greater risk.
The list can go on and on! You can make a difference even with the smallest actions in times like these. You’re not confined to the ideas listed here either. Think about the individuals in your life personally and consider the ways they best feel loved and valued. When doing this, you could emerge from the pandemic with stronger relationships, and better connections with those you might not have had the chance to get to know before. Grow the community in your neighborhood, let your babysitter know you care about them personally—not just about the work they put in for your child, learn a new skill to assist those who need your help. Whatever is doable in your life, make an extra effort to reach out this week!
“When people feel vulnerable, they can take their mind off the self and the problems of the self, and just experience the simple gratification of contributing to the life of another human being.”
– Stephen Post, Bioethicist