With coronavirus social distancing keeping most of us at home, routines are upended and social gatherings are a fond memory. This sudden change can be tough on everyone in your household, but it needn’t leave a void. With a little flexibility, you can create new routines — and new ways of connecting with others — that your family can find comfort in.
How Social Connections Keep Us Healthy
Social ties with family members, friends and co-workers can have a positive impact on your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Studies have shown that having a variety of social connections can help reduce stress and heart-related health issues, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Unfortunately, the need to prevent the spread of coronavirus by staying apart from people who aren’t living in the same household has created challenges for staying connected. You can’t have relatives over for dinner, arrange a playdate for the kids, go to the gym to sweat it out with your friends or chat in person with co-workers.
Maintaining your mental health and physical well-being throughout the coronavirus pandemic is essential. That’s true not only for you but also for the people in your life who depend on you for support, including family members, friends and members of your community.
8 Ways for You and Your Family to Stay Happy and Connected
During home isolation, one day can feel like the next, and it’s easy to lose track of time when usual routines are upended. Try some of these ideas to help keep your family connected and engaged while staying at home:
1. Exercise Together
Staying active helps everyone in your family benefit from the physical and mental boost that exercise offers. The activity you choose can be as simple as going on a bike ride, creating a dance routine to a favorite song or shooting a few hoops in the backyard.
You can also tap into technology to work out with others. Gyms may be closed right now, but many are offering an online schedule of live-streamed workouts you can do at home. Send the link to a friend and take the class together.
2. Reach Out to Friends Virtually
In-person interactions are off-limits right now, but we’re living in the digital age with so many ways to connect with others.
Take your pick to get in touch by telephone, email, video chat, social media or messaging apps, or go old-school and write a letter or postcard. For elderly family members living apart, try connecting at a consistent time to give everyone something to look forward to.
3. Play Games Together With Household Members
Let everyone take turns choosing their favorite board game or card game. Even better, learn a brand-new one together. Games foster friendly competition and cooperation, and they also serve to reduce screen time and overexposure to upsetting news updates about COVID-19.
4. Plant a Garden
Spring is the perfect time to plant seeds. Gardening can be very relaxing and positive as you and your little helpers see shoots grow into new plants that one day will be veggies for your supper or flowers for your table.
5. Get Cooking
Look for some new recipes online to use up what’s in your cupboard or to use ingredients in new ways. Then, divvy up the tasks so that everyone participates in meal prep and cleanup.
6. Make Some New Traditions
You and your family could mark Saturday mornings with a pancake breakfast in the backyard, or get takeout food on Fridays and watch movies or play games. You can also have a virtual barbecue with your neighbors using a video chat app on a tablet or computer.
7. Plan Future Vacations
It’s hard to have to cancel summer vacation plans when everybody was looking forward to the break. Channel that disappointment into positive energy: Have the whole family work on planning a series of outings for when the pandemic is over.
8. Connect With Your Community
Instead of focusing on what they can’t do right now, help your family members find ways to make a positive difference for others in the community. Giving to others benefits both the people who are offering kindness as well as those who receive it.
School-age children can post positive messages of hope in your windows for others to see, or on your trash bins to thank the workers who collect garbage. Many people have asked how they can support frontline health care workers at AdventHealth during the coronavirus pandemic. Find out how you can help on our Coronavirus Resource Hub.
Most of all, realize that by practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, you aren’t just staying safe. You’re socially responsible and showing your love and care for extended family, friends and members of your community.
We’re Dedicated to Taking Care of You
Taking care of yourself, your family members, your friends and members of your community can help you cope with stress during these challenging times, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you or any of your loved ones feel overwhelmed with sadness, depression or anxiety — or need help for COVID-19 symptoms — we’re here to help you heal.
Set up an online video visit through the AdventHealth app. Our physicians can guide you forward with renewed health, hope and strength. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub for more updates that can help your family through the pandemic.