The coronavirus pandemic and resulting advice from public health to stay home as much as possible (depending on your job), avoid gathering in groups and keep clear of close contact with other people even on the street has intensified the harm that social isolation causes many people.
How do we manage Social distancing in order to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus and keep emotional connected with our friends and our family?
Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people who come in to Close contact with. Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of an illness during an outbreak.
As Human beings, we are wired to be connected with one another. Currently with our obsession with texting and social media, we have already lost some of our ability to be emotionally connected and present with one another. Now that many of us are not going to work and interacting with people daily, we are feeling lonelier and more socially isolated as we fight the coronavirus.
What can you do to minimize the risk of being lonely when you’re cut off from direct human contact?
Spend time talking with your friends and family
Take advantage of the internet and spend time chatting by video. Seeing someone’s face while we’re having a conversation makes social distancing a lot easier. This is the time we need to connect more with our friends and our family.
Take time in your day to call your friends and ask how they are. You don’t need to have long chats but hearing another voice can be comforting.
Be aware that some people are just not technologically savvy. And that’s OK. Now it’s a time to make sure your friends or family have your phone number so they can call on you by phone if they need to reach out to you.
As public sources of internet access such as libraries and commercial establishments are closed or are in the process of being shut down, regular phone calls will be increasingly important for friends and families to remain connected especially for people who are marginalized or who do not have access to reliable Internet
Offer to help your neighbours, family, and friends
Reach out to your neighbours, family, and friends and ask how they’re doing, how you can assist in any way. Many people will be struggling during this pandemic especially families returning from March break or being a snowbird.
Groups are popping up on social media and communities called “caremongers” These are everyday people who are offering their services to go help individuals and families in need.
Join your local caremongering group to help get food or run errands for people who can’t leave home. There’s no face to face contact because of social distancing but volunteering and helping others is a great way for you to feel connected with your larger community.
If you have elderly neighbours, you may wish to ask them if they need help getting groceries, medication or running errands for them. Doing good for others helps you feel good and less isolated.
Get outside and say hi safely
As we know, we’re all supposed to be staying at least 2 m away from another person. This doesn’t stop you from going for a walk in your neighbourhood, and waving or saying hi to anyone you pass. Even that little bit of social contact, smiling at someone, waving, and saying hi can help you feel connected.Where not saying stop and chat them up but stay a safe distance away and smile as you go on your way.
Spend time with your pet
Pets can help combat loneliness. Playing, cuddling, and even talking with your pet can be helpful. Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce your stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness especially when you’re feeling down. There’s a good reason why dogs are everyone’s best friend.
If you don’t own a pet, go on line and watch funny animal videos to help reduce your stress levels.
Create a virtual get together
As more and more communities and services are being shut down, people need to get creative on how to continue with their everyday lives. Many of our activities we do that involve going out to the gym, learning, and even hang out with our friends are all moving online.
For the gaming community there are numerous gaming sites where friends can play with each other virtually. This isn’t new as your teen or you may know yourself.
But now we’re seeing many new opportunities such as virtual clubs or DJ events. Virtual dance parties are popping up on the Internet. Virtual dance parties are an opportunity for people to dance off all their stress, take care of their mental health and feel connected to people over the virtual world. And you can always burn a few calories while you dance the night away in your living room.
With many gyms and sports centres closed, there are virtual yoga meet ups or workout sessions. Gyms and several streaming fitness companies are offering their online workouts for free. Reach out and get in touch with your trainer working out together
Religious organizations are offering prayer groups, and religious services being broadcast online. Some religious organizations are even offering him sing-alongs during the week to help keep people spirits up during these difficult and challenging times. Call your preferred Religious organizations and find out how you can connect with them online for service, prayer or to sing along.
Reach out for help for yourself
Having to stay home, stay away from people you love and care for and not going out to work are severely reducing our contact with other human beings. This lack of contact with the outside world for is making this time period very difficult and challenging for many of us. Take advantage of the help lines that are available to us by phone. The Ottawa distress centre provide round-the-clock help if you need to talk.
This is the time to connect with your therapist even if you have not talked with him or her in a while. Most psychological and psychotherapy services are available online or by phone now. Here at Family-Therapy all of our psychotherapy and counselling services are now available online or by phone.
If you are finding that social distancing is making you feel overwhelmed, distressed overly isolated or depressed reach out and speak with someone today.
We’re here to listen.