Have you been wondering why social distancing has been such a challenging transition for so many of us? It’s because we are inherently social beings, relying on social connection for survival, learning, evolving and positive feelings.
It’s true that social connections foster better mental and physical health. According to an article published in 2007, social supports increase our ability to manage stress. In addition to that, the article states that we are more likely to experience more positive feelings, releasing “happy hormones” such as Oxytocin, when we are engaged with our social supports and social networks. (Ozbay, F., Johnson, D. C., Dimoulas, E., et.al, 2007). In addition to feeling happier, we are more likely to find motivation from our peers. This may be committing to activities together that will foster better health.
When we feel connected to others, we experience a stronger sense of purpose, have stronger self-esteem and have more opportunity to build on these relationships. Here are some ways to stay connected during this pandemic:
- Virtual Meet ups
- This is a great way to stay connected with your loved ones. Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom are all platforms that you can use to connect 1 on 1 or as a group.
- Local Online Groups
- Most towns and counties use their website to promote social activities that are COVID 19 safety protocol compliant. Finding something outdoors with your community is a great way to safely meet new people in-person or virtually.
- There are websites, like MeetUp.com that promote both safe social distancing activities and virtual activities based on your hobbies and interests.
- Virtual Wellness Challenges
- Many gyms and Facebook groups host “virtual wellness challenges” that link you to another person who has the same fitness and health goals in mind. This helps to keep up motivation and momentum. This is a safe way to stay connected with an active lifestyle that promotes community wellness and group work.
- Meaningful Activities
- Many hospitals and assisted living communities accept letters, drawings and paintings to be sent to their patients. This can be a great way to connect with another person, while giving back to those who may not have as many social supports.
- Animal Shelters and Rescue Centers also seek out donations and volunteer work. Becoming active in giving back to the community can boost feelings of purpose.
- Connection Through Music and Art
- In the last few weeks, many parks and beaches have opened for social distancing concerts that can be attended in person or virtually. You can check your local newspaper or town website for information.
- There are also websites for online live art classes that range from $0-$50 per session. All you need are your materials and computer, and you can paint with your virtual group.
- Reconnecting with the Outdoors
- Walking through local parks, bird watching, or walking through your community can be an uplifting experience. If you’re up for the challenge, kayaking, hiking and rock climbing can be great group activities that promote social distancing.
- Self Care Activities
- During these transitional times, it is important to remember to use self-care. These are activities that you can do for yourself, to help manage stressful situations.Some simple self-care activities are healthy eating, yoga, meditation, watching your favorite TV show, talking with friends, aromatherapy, mindfulness, healthy sleep cycles, exercise and seeking out support from professionals in the field. Click here to learn more about our practice, and to request an appointment for you or your loved one.
- It is important to follow local and state guidelines for safe social distancing. For updated information about social distancing and tips to stay safe please visit Personal and Social Activities | COVID-19
Ozbay, F., Johnson, D. C., Dimoulas, E., Morgan, C. A., Charney, D., & Southwick, S. (2007). Social support and resilience to stress: from neurobiology to clinical practice. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 4(5), 35–40.