As the world continues into another year of its “new normal,” the challenges presented by COVID-19 weigh on everyone. Even as more and more people are being vaccinated every day, maintaining a balance between social distancing and interaction is difficult. Yet, there are many ways to stay safe and remain connected during this unusual time. Here are a few ways to maintain strong relationships while still prioritizing your wellbeing and that of your loved ones:
Schedule weekly phone calls.
If you weren’t a proponent of talking on the phone prior to COVID, now might be a good time to give it a try. New psychiatric studies show that regularly scheduled phone calls with coworkers, friends and family help reduce the amount of anxiety and loneliness an individual feels during isolation. The next time you’re feeling the weight of the pandemic’s restrictions, pick up the phone and call someone you care about.
Make “face-to-face” communication a priority.
Similar to the relief and comfort provided by hearing a loved one’s voice, a video chat allows the visual opportunity to connect with those you missing the most. Although you may not be able to meet up in person, conducting a video chat through Skype, FaceTime or Zoom is a safe, convenient alternative to alleviate any negative feelings brought on by the pandemic. Even though it can’t replace a big hug or a gathering around the dinner table, put aside a few minutes a week to visually reconnect with the people you are missing.
Get outside as the weather allows.
Parks are an excellent way to safely conduct socially distant meet-ups. With plenty of room to remain six feet apart, they provide a space to connect with minimal risk and a refreshing change of scenery. Go for a walk, throw a frisbee, or bring a furry friend along to stretch their legs with you. Reconnecting with your friends and family will help lift your spirits, and the extra sunlight will boost your serotonin levels.
Create a safe space.
Even in the busyness and stress of working, schooling, cooking and relaxing at home, now’s the time to take additional steps to ensure your home brings you a sense of comfort, security and connectedness. Make sure to prioritize yourself by creating an area you feel at peace in. Declutter your rooms, reorganize your shelves, and start a project you’ve previously put on the back burner. Although the world is increasingly digital, printed photographs of your loved ones will help remind you of pre-COVID excursions and events. Remember to maintain the personal connection with yourself while in isolation.
Despite the difficulties of adjusting to a socially distanced world, modern technology offers several ways to remain connected while abiding by state guidelines. Try setting up a video chat with your family or take a trip to the local park. Most importantly – stay safe.