Most of us had never heard the term social distancing before we learned about COVID-19. By now you know that the term applies to certain actions that are taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease, like COVID-19. These measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events.
Most people seem to be following the public health recommendations for stopping the spread of the virus. In doing so, we’ve been driven out of our offices and schools and into our homes. For the first time, families might find themselves all together—all day, every day—and a new normal has emerged. During these trying times, families may be feeling cooped up, stressed out, not knowing what comes next. Or worse, they may be feeling isolated from other family members and friends.
Social distancing seems like social isolation, but it doesn’t have to be. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, social isolation has been tied to a 50 percent increased risk of dementia, a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 32 percent increased risk of stroke. That’s why it is so important to find ways to stay engaged. We offer some tips.
- Video chat with pals. Seeing someone’s facial cues during video chats are almost like being with them and are far more interesting than a phone call or text. Try a virtual happy hour, set up a music jam session, or simply video call to discuss current events or family.
- Find your online community online. Do you like card games, recipe creation, yoga, woodworking? There’s an online group waiting to meet your acquaintance.
- Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in ages. Reconnect and catch up.
- Increase physical activities. The gym may be closed, but don’t forget your workout. Dig out those fitness DVDs or search one out online for a segment. Lots of gyms are now conducting workouts online. Or go for a long walk.
- Offer to help. It will make you happy to buy groceries for your elderly neighbor, sew masks for local hospital health care professionals, or donate to the food pantry.
Or check out other sources:
Remember social distancing for COVID-19 is temporary. We will get through these times – we’re all in this together!