One of the many continued effects of the coronavirus pandemic is the perpetual shutdowns, quarantines, and social distancing protocols that now make up daily life. As a result, it is incredibly difficult to meet with friends for a night out, and many other social outlets such as social clubs or religious institutions are all having to find unique ways to meet when possible. Even schools are resorting to online learning over in-person classes for the safety of both the students and teachers. All of these new precautions can be difficult to cope with, and finding ways to be social in the COVID-19 era can be a difficult task. However, people will still need a degree of human interaction, and there are ways for each individual to stay connected with friends, family, and loved ones despite the trying times.
The Importance of Social Connectivity
Staying connected may be difficult, but it is still an important aspect of one’s life that needs to be addressed. Having a degree of social interaction in one’s life is important for combating a number of different negative feelings, such as isolation. Simply having others around or speaking to others regularly is an important emotional outlet that is necessary for taking care of one’s mental health, and is a powerful self-care practice. Without these social outlets, it is easy for an individual to be overcome with loneliness or isolation, and these feelings can further develop into anxiety, depression, or create unhealthy coping mechanisms for the stress, such as using drugs or alcohol. Not only is finding a way to get together with friends just a fun thing to do, but it also has important mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.
Treasure Who You Live With
While it may be difficult to get out and see other friends or family, it is still a time to further develop relationships with roommates or housemates. While feelings of cabin fever may set in and the stressful times can put a strain on these relationships, it is important to remember that everyone is in the exact same situation, and each person needs a genuine kind of social interaction, as well. During this time, it may be a good idea to start new familial traditions, such as regularly scheduling movie or game nights, to add a degree of human connection while adding a kind of normalcy to one’s day. Board games and video games are exceptionally beneficial during this time, as they can be done with multiple players interacting in new and unique ways. While traveling for vacations may not be a feasible option, having game nights can still provide a family-based break from the stresses of work and life.
Emails, phone calls, text messages, and video chat programs are all incredible ways to stay connected with friends and family, despite any distance. Making time to regularly chat using any of these strategies can further add some consistency and interaction into daily life. Having a weekend family Zoom or Skype call can not only allow a person to hear the voices of loved ones but also see and interact with their body language as well, creating a more intimate experience. However, even text messages can go a long way in adding some human interaction to one’s day.
When using these programs, it is important not to worry too much about if a person is “annoying” another. With all of the social distancing precautions, many others may be in just as much need of social interaction, and a break from the daily stresses of COVID-19 can be a relief. Texting loved ones about a funny thing that your pet did that morning, or simply updating recent stories on the news, can all be ways to keep conversation and interaction going.
Traditions and old stories are things that truly tie families together, and even during quarantine, it is possible to continue to build on these traditions. Cooking one of your grandmother’s recipes can be a great conversation starter when it comes to talking with family, and it is possible to then share in the experiences and flavors of the dish. Small practices like this can continuously reinforce the closeness of family and the idea of traditions, regardless of the physical space that may separate family members.
Remind Yourself “Why”
Adhering to social distancing and quarantine guidelines is exhausting, and it is normal to long for one’s old lifestyle to return. Pretending like everything is normal can create even more stress when trying to cope with the effects of COVID-19, so reminding oneself that this isn’t normal and that it is okay to be upset or agitated by the precautions is okay. However, it is also important to constantly reinforce why each person is going through this difficult time, and contextualize one’s sacrifices for the safety of others, whether it be coworkers, friends, family, children, or teachers. Finding new ways to stay connected isn’t without cost, but it is also a reward in its own, as each person continues to move through these exhausting, taxing times.