Social Distancing: 6 Ways to Be Together While Apart

A father and daughter stay connected with a video call.
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As human beings, we need each other. We’re hardwired to cultivate connections with others, and the bonds we build make the good times better and the tough times more bearable — which is why social distancing during this time of unprecedented uncertainty is so tough.

Coronavirus in our communities is nerve-wracking and staying home can feel lonely in more ways than one. But loneliness doesn’t have to be your new normal.

If you’re struggling to feel connected to friends and family during this time, try out some of these ideas to feel less lonely and more whole — without leaving home.

Infographic: Social Distancing: How to Be Together While Apart

Reframing Social Distancing: Standing Together in Solidarity

Coronavirus spreads through person-to-person contact, so it makes sense why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called for everyone to practice social distancing to stop the spread of the virus.

When you’re lonely at home, it’s all too easy to feel like social distancing is meant to oppress you, keeping you from the people you love. When you think about it this way, it’s frustrating indeed.

But you can also choose to shift your perspective and see social distancing for the good that it’s doing and embrace your role in that good. By staying home, you’re not alone — you’re standing in solidarity with friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers who are doing the same, for the greater good of us all. That’s community at its finest.

Feeling Whole: 6 Ways to Cultivate Connection From Home

Together with your loved ones, you’re helping slow the spread of the virus by staying home. With this mindset, we hope you feel a little less lonely. To feel even more connected to friends and family while staying home, get started with these ideas — and brainstorm your own, too.

1. Read Books Together Through a Video Chat

During this time of uncertainty, everyone could use a sense of normalcy. And what’s more normal or comforting than a bedtime story, or reading a book with a grandparent?

While you’re home, set up a video chat on your computer or tablet with a grandparent, relative, friend or family member to have your kids read to them — or be read to. Reading is a great escape from everyday life and a handy way to help your kids cope with stress while staying at home, too.

2. When You Feel Anxious, Check on a Friend

If you struggle with anxiety, or live with an anxiety disorder, social distancing may feel especially hard. When the anxious thoughts come, it’s important to be ready with tried-and-true coping strategies. And one strategy you can add to your calming collection is to check in on someone else.

To cope with anxious thoughts, you can turn your attention outward and check in on a friend. Channel your energy into reaching out to, checking in on and listening to someone you love. Over the phone, in a video chat or through a text, you can check in and ask:

  • How are you holding up today?
  • How did you feel this week? What would you do differently next week?
  • What are you grateful for right now?
  • What’s helping you relax?
  • What’s helping you stay positive?
  • What’s something good that happened today?

3. Start an e-Book Club With a Fellow Bookworm

While many public libraries are currently closed, e-books are a great alternative to brush up on classics and new releases. And starting an e-book club is a great way to get your mind off the current climate and an opportunity to take a literary journey with a fellow bookworm.

If you have a book you’ve been meaning to read, grab a reading buddy and commit to reading it together, and have a virtual book club meeting within a few weeks (or whatever your reading pace is) to share what you thought of the story.

4. Host a Live Cooking Demo

We love to watch people create culinary masterpieces, as evidenced by the many shows and online videos dedicated cooking and baking. It’s the perfect pastime to do at home, tantalize your senses and get your creative juices flowing, too.

If you have a recipe you love, or if someone in your house is an at-home chef, consider scheduling a live cooking demo for friends. You could start a live video on one of your social media handles or keep it intimate by video chatting with a friend or relative who also loves to cook.

You could make a full dinner, a fun snack or even a batch of cookies. The sky’s the limit — bon appétit!

5. Do the Same Workout Video, Together

If you regularly go to the gym or a studio to exercise, you may be able to find an at-home alternative to your regular class, online. Once you find a video you like, send it to your workout partner and set up a time and date to do the video together. You can keep each other accountable by having a video chat set up, or simply check in after you rinse off to see how your friend did with the workout.

Additionally, if you and your friends are runners, you can hit the treadmill or the trail — or find a virtual marathon for some friendly competition — and share your best time with the group for virtual high-fives.

6. Call or Video Chat, Just Because

While normally you call or video chat with someone with a conversation in mind, remember that you don’t need a reason to feel connected to someone. Pick up the phone and dial — just because.

Call your mom, just to hear her voice. Text that friend who lives far away, just to see their name pop up on your screen. Video chat with a niece or nephew, just to hear them tell you about what they ate for breakfast or show you their favorite toys. Sometimes, all we need to feel less alone is the voice of someone we love.

We’ll Get Through This Together

At AdventHealth, we’re here for you at every stage of the pandemic. You can visit our primary care physicians virtually through the AdventHealth app, and find answers to your coronavirus FAQs and more on our Coronavirus Resource Hub. We’re here to see you and your family through this, and we’ll get through it together.

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