2 months ago
5 Ways to Stay Connected While Social Distancing
Today’s buzzword is social distancing.
As many global citizens settle in for another week of working from home, we are reminded daily of the importance of social distancing for the health and wellness of ourselves and those around us. Social distancing (also referred to as “physical distancing”) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:
- Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
- Do not gather in groups
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
Maintaining physical distance from colleagues, friends and family initially seemed fine. Now that we’ve been working from home for almost a month, the novelty is wearing off and it has become tiresome and lonely. As humans, we instinctively need interaction. It helps us to learn and to process emotions and feelings.
Our health and wellness are the priority, but don’t downplay the importance of human interaction. While we cannot physically be together right now, thankfully technology is there to fill in the gaps. Virtual engagement with friends and family is an acceptable substitution, so don’t skip it. It is good for you - mind, body and soul.
As a prerequisite, intentionality needs to be at the center of everything we do, especially during this season of uncertainty. Outlined in our previous blogs, 5 tips to Successfully Work from Home and 5 Tips to Manage Work and Kids during COVID-19, establishing a daily routine, including making a calendar of activities, scheduling breaks, waking up and going to bed at the same time, are important habits to keep.
The following five activities support this mantra of intentionality. As you create your weekly schedule for chores and activities, make sure you are also penciling in some virtual dates with friends and family for emotional nourishment.
Five ways to stay connected while social distancing.
Schedule a phone call with your colleagues at least once a week.
Working from home has its perks- no commute, casual dress, and quiet space to work on projects. The major downfalls are the intangibles, like impromptu meetings to brainstorm on projects and random water cooler chats with friends. This social interaction is important, so don’t skip it even though you are working from home. Schedule 30-minute virtual coffee meetings with colleagues. This will give you a casual opportunity to discuss projects in real time and to catch-up on life.
Create a group fitness challenge.
While working from home, snacks are extremely tempting and very easy to grab. Ditch the extra pounds and embrace a new exercise routine. Breaking a sweat lifts your spirits while also providing an opportunity to create a friendly fitness challenge with friends and colleagues. There are many options – charge your Fitbit and start counting your steps as you walk around your neighborhood, sign up for one of the many free live-streaming fitness classes available due to COVID-19, or begin each conference call with a “deskercise” challenge. Reference the chart below and slowly move through each of the suggested stretches. By creating a group fitness challenge, you will stay fit while bringing out your competitive side as you cheer on each other to meet movement goals.
Schedule video chats with friends and family
Just because you can’t physically spend time together doesn’t mean you can’t hang out – virtually, of course. Make a date with family and friends! Whether it’s centered around coffee, happy hour, online games, etc. – just make sure that you are scheduling time with loved ones.
Establish a book club
Is there a book you’ve been dying to read? Ask some friends to read it too. Schedule time to check-in with each other to discuss the book. This will help pass the time while also keeping you socially connected.
Enjoy a free concert
Many musical artists have had to cancel their spring tours and are eager to stay connected with their fans. Check out your favorite artists social media accounts to watch live video chats and free concerts. You not only get to see an intimate performance from the artist, but many are answering your questions or taking song requests live! What a fun way to connect with musicians and fellow fans from around the world.
Staying connected while social distancing is important for your mental and physical well-being. If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, you are not alone. If you are in need of mental health support, please contact the Disaster Distress Helpline provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This free service includes confidential counseling, referrals and other support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the U.S. and its territories. Call 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
For more information about how One Call is responding to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 resource page.