It seems like life completely changed overnight. With an influx of updates and news, we are all being pulled into making adjustments to our lifestyles amidst the presence of a novel virus. As you may already know, social distancing is recommended to contain or slow the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We need to stay connected during social distancing.
According to the CDC, social distancing is defined as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
As innate social beings, following through with social distancing may be challenging as people start to feel lonely, stir crazy, or emotionally distant from others. This, in turn, could also increase depressive symptoms like low energy and motivation, fatigue, hopelessness, increased and/or decreased appetite or sleepiness, and poor self-esteem.
Nonetheless, there are different things you can do to decrease isolation and increase social connectedness. This is a good time to focus on what you can control by trying different things that can positively impact your mood, sense of belonging, and connectedness.
Here is a list of things you can do to stay connected:
1. Engage in online activities:
In practicing social distancing together, people have come up with numerous creative ways to remain active and spend time with one another. Here are some activities you can enjoy:
- Physical exercise – Join a live stream class, watch a YouTube video or DVD, or video-call a friend and share an exercise routine for the day.
- Breathe and/or meditate – Take at least 10 minutes of your day and make a conscious effort to connect with yourself. You can do this with a friend, motivate each other to engage in self-care. If you need some guidance in how to do this, here are some helpful apps: Stop, Breathe, and Think, Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, and Simple Habit. Several meditation apps are offering free subscriptions to those experiencing financial hardship. Another resource is Ekhart Yoga, who is offering 12 free yoga and meditation classes through their platform.
- Watch/listen to concerts – You can find an updated list of upcoming live streams and virtual concerts here.
- Watch a movie or tv show together – Via Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple Tv+, Disney +, you name it! Here’s how to do a virtual “Netflix Party.”
2. Create a book club:
In this day and age purchasing or acquiring a book is completely easy and accessible thanks to eBooks, Kindle, Audible, and audiobooks. Choose a book you and your friends might be interested in and set a date to talk about it! (Optional: agree on snacks or beverages you want to share at a distance).
3. Make a playlist and share it:
4. Learn something new:
- Listen to a podcast – You can get podcast suggestions here. It’s divided by genre.
- Learn a new language – You can try different apps like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Babbel, Memrise, HelloTalk.
5. Go back in time and/or enjoy “the little things:”
- Write an “old-fashioned” hand-written letter and add pictures.
- Challenge your friends and family to do things you don’t normally do like drawing, coloring, making puzzles, playing video games or board games, dancing, doing a karaoke night, follow a recipe together or do a bake-off.
- Play with your pet.
6. Get creative in showing others you care:
- Write a sign with an encouraging, funny, or positive message and show it by your window or balcony like the Italians.
- Sing or play an instrument (keep in mind if this could be bothersome to your neighbors though).
- Laugh! Share memes, gifs, home-made videos.
7. Take action and contact others:
- Using apps and technology can help you keep in touch with a lot of people. You can use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, or even video-call using WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. Mix it up! Do voice notes, text, or simply make a phone call.
- Contact those closest to you, or reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while and “check-in.” Think about how nice it is when others think of you and reciprocate this act of kindness and empathy.
At times like this, it’s helpful to remember that we’re doing social distancing in the service of others and ourselves. Across social media, multiple people are encouraging reframing the term social distancing to physical distancing or social solidarity; terms that hold a much more positive outlook on the current situation.
Remember, we will get through this together!
This is the power of gathering: it inspires us -delightfully- to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.Alice Waters
Now is not the time to forego your mental health. Please practice healthy self-care strategies and reach out to one of our team members for assistance. We’re accepting new clients and can offer Telehealth (secure video chat) appointments. If you think you can benefit from individualized treatment, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (954) 488-2933! Learn more about our business operations and safeguards during this time.
Dr. Gabriela Sadurní Rodríguez is a licensed psychologist at The Psychology Group Fort Lauderdale and is an expert in trauma-related issues, depression, anxiety, life transitions/adjustments, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Call 954-488-2933 x 8 or email today to discuss how her services can help you.
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Copyright © 2020 Dr. Gabriela Sadurní Rodríguez