Over the course of quarantine, it’s been difficult to stay connected with others. The limitations on social gatherings and in-person meetings, busy schedules that don’t quite line up, and the effects of isolation on mental health have made it increasingly difficult to interact with others. Reaching out can feel like a herculean trial these days.
But you must remember – your friends and family, your coworkers and neighbors – they’re all going through the same thing as you. With the hardships you all have faced during the pandemic, that connection that you have with one another is more important than ever to keep alive. But how do you stay connected when you don’t know where to start?
Connecting During COVID
You may not be able to go out with your friends, but you can still hang out and keep in touch by:
- Finding time to talk and catch up. Talk to friends throughout the week – or once or twice a week for those less prone to socializing – so you can keep up with your friends’ lives when you can’t be in them.
- Hosting online get-togethers to make up for not being able to meet in person. While it may be different from going out, you’ll still be able to spend time with your friends somewhat face-to-face in a way you can’t with texts. Play video games, video chat, and watch movies together virtually to be safe and have fun.
- Sending memes to share a laugh and let your friends know you’re thinking about them. When you don’t know how to start a conversation or don’t have much to say, a meme is a good start.
Being with your loved ones right now might not be an option, but familial love isn’t limited by distance. Every family is different, so the way you stay connected may vary. But you can start with:
- Sending regular updates via text and email. Even if they’re short, your family will appreciate the updates and know you’re thinking of them.
- Setting up a time to call your family. Scheduled phone calls and video calls are a good way to keep in touch and feel less lonely, as well as bringing some comfort to your family that texts and emails cannot.
Connection is just as important when you’re stuck together as when you’re apart. If you’re quarantining with family:
- Plan family activities. Playing games, watching movies, going on walks, and other group activities can fill social needs and provide entertainment.
- Listen. Mutual communication is crucial in sustaining the happiness of everyone in the house.
When you’re at home, make sure you’re still participating in the world outside (from a distance). Stay in contact with people outside of your home or use the internet to stay entertained.
- Call friends and family to do activities together, like reading, exercising, cooking, and more.
- Share memories from photo albums, keepsakes, and knick-knacks you might find while cleaning your home.
- Teach others your skills by creating tutorials and teaching videos to share online.
Whether you’re on-site or working from home,
- Video chat during coffee breaks. Just because there’s no break room doesn’t mean you have to spend your break alone!
- Support colleagues who need it. You’re a team. You and your coworkers work together to achieve a common goal, so when a colleague is having trouble, try to help them best you can.
- Organize activities together to share skills, get to know each other better, and take a break from work-related stress.
Why It’s Important to Stay Connected During COVID-19
This year has not been kind. From the isolation of a pandemic to the confusion of the online school year, the last nine months have been disorienting to say the least. And as a result, there has been a major mental health decline. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, and signs of PTSD have been reported due to the pandemic.
For those that are struggling with stress, uncertainty, and feelings of loneliness, staying connected is especially important. Human interaction can be beneficial by providing support when needed and helping bring some sense of normalcy in a world that has become anything but normal.
Relationships are one of the few constants in this pandemic. It’s important to remember that the people in your life are experiencing the same things as you are, and that you must be able to support one another. You need to be able to count on your connections as you face whatever comes next.
Apps for Staying Connected
Teleparty allows you to hold watch parties with friends. This app syncs video playback and adds a group chat to Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and HBO so you and your friends can watch together in real-time!
Houseparty is a social networking app that allows up to eight people to video chat at once in a “room.” Users can have infinite rooms and easily float between rooms, and can also play games like Trivia or Fortnite!
Discord is a highly organized voice, video, and text communication service. Made up of servers you can access through invite, you can use topic-based channels to collaborate, share your interest, and just talk about your day without clogging up a group chat!
Watch2Gether is an easy-to-use app that you can use to enjoy the internet in sync with your friends. Watch videos, listen to music, or go shopping in an integrated chat with audio and video!
Quarantine Together is an exclusive dating app that takes long-distance dating to a new level. Encouraging users to follow social-distancing guidelines, Quarantine Together matches you with dates you can text and video chat so you can get out there while staying home!
You might be in quarantine, but that doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. Reaching out to others can keep you grounded and make things a whole lot easier for you emotionally, as well as improving the emotional health of those you interact with. Social connection is one of the most meaningful resources we have, so make sure to use it to the fullest.
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