In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 4 in 10 adults throughout the United States have reported experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. In 2019, only 1 in 10 adults reported these symptoms.
Have you been feeling depressed, anxious, or just plain lonely, especially as more stay-at-home orders have been put into place lately? If so, keep reading.
Outlined below are some of the top ways you can stay connected with your loved ones even when you’re feeling stuck at home.
Why Connection Matters
Connecting with friends and family members is one of the most effective ways to combat depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.
Finding ways to stay in touch with loved ones reminds us that we’re not alone and provides us with some much-needed stress relief. Even if you’re only able to have a quick video chat or phone call, those small connections can make a big difference.
Research even shows that loneliness and a lack of connection can cause more harm to our health than smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity. If you want to feel happier and healthier, prioritizing connection is key.
How to Stay Connected During COVID
Avoiding the negative effects of isolation while also protecting oneself from the harms of COVID can feel like an impossible task. There are ways to connect while also practicing social distancing, though, including the following:
Schedule Regular Calls
One of the easiest ways to maintain connections while staying home and avoiding social gatherings is to schedule regular calls with friends and family members.
Whether you arrange phone calls with your parents or Zoom calls with your best friend, put them on the calendar and treat them like you would any other appointment. Then, show up at the agreed-upon time and be fully present.
Don’t try and chat while you’re folding laundry or loading the dishwasher. Connect with your loved ones the same way you would if you were talking in person.
Plan Outdoor Meetups
If you feel comfortable seeing people in person but want to maintain your distance, consider planning outdoor meetups. Arrange to meet a friend at a local park so you can go for a walk together and stay six feet apart with ease.
Not only do outdoor meetups give you a chance to connect with friends in a safer setting, but they also allow you to enjoy the benefits of being in nature. Spending time outside has been shown to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and help with stress management.
Sign Up for an Online Class
Why not pick up a new skill while also spending time with someone you love? Consider signing up for an online class together.
This allows you to learn something new and exciting. It also gives you something to connect over during your regularly scheduled chats.
Play Online Games
If you want to connect virtually but aren’t in the mood to sign up for a class, playing online games together is a good alternative.
There are lots of websites that allow you to play video games, trivia games, and more virtually. You can also enjoy a more old-fashioned game night by turning on your webcam and playing a board game via Zoom or FaceTime.
Start a Podcast
When the pandemic first hit, a lot of people had extra time on their hands and decided to start podcasts. If you missed the first great podcasting wave, it’s not too late for you to get in on the action.
Starting a podcast is a great way to chat about a subject that interests you, and you can connect with others by inviting guests to join you each week. Whether you bring your friends on or reach out to strangers and invite them to be part of the show, podcasting is an excellent option.
“Attend” Livestreamed Events Together
Right now, lots of artists are live streaming concerts. Many comedians are also putting on virtual shows.
You and a friend may not be able to get together in person, but you can still “attend” these events together. Tune in at the same time and enjoy the show from the comfort of your own homes. Then, you can hop on a Zoom call or chat on the phone after to talk about how great it was.
Have a Virtual Dinner Party
If you miss going out to dinner with your friends or having them over to eat, why not host a virtual dinner party instead.
Schedule a time that works for everyone and ask them all to prepare meals beforehand. Then, you can sit down together and eat while chatting and catching up with one another.
Find Ways to Be of Service
Helping others is another option for those who want to foster connections and feel like they’re doing something meaningful while they’re staying home.
Perhaps you can write letters to first responders thanking them for their service. You may also want to consider volunteering as a crisis counselor and offering virtual support to those in need.
Invest in the Best Technology
Finally, make sure you’re using the best gadgets to connect with loved ones, whether you want to make video calls, be part of live stream events, or anything in between.
There are lots of high-quality business technology devices on the market today, such as the Smart View Galaxy S6. These tools make it easier for you to see and hear your loved ones and make meaningful connections even when you’re far apart.
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Connected
It’s understandable if you’re not thrilled with the idea of going back into lockdown once more (or, depending on your situation, still being in lockdown). However, there are ways that you can take advantage of new technology and stay connected with your friends and family.
Give one (or more) of the tips listed above a try the next time you’re feeling lonely or just need to commiserate with someone who’s in the same situation as you. If you need more advice on staying connected while staying home, give some of our other health and wellness-related articles a read today.