Keeping Connected while Social Distancing
As we’re social distancing to keep ourselves safe from coronavirus infection (and to slow the spread), it can be easy to start feeling alone and isolated. But social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t stay socially connected.
While experiencing a pandemic is decidedly not fun, humanity has never had more tools to connect from a distance with widespread Internet access, free tools on the web, video call capabilities, and just plain old phone calls and text messages.
3 ways to maintain social connections while social distancing
Here are a few ways I have been exploring keeping socially connected while staying home:
- Scheduling video dates with family and friends. So far, I have had a couple happy hours, chats, and so forth. I think it would be fun to plan a morning coffee date or a meal. Maybe meet up for an online game? As part of this, I have experimented with a few video call tools: Facebook Video Calling, FaceTime, Google Hangout, and Skype. So far all have been free and easy to use. Are there other video tools or online connection methods that you like?
- Regular (even daily) calls with key people. It doesn’t have to be long, but a check-in always makes me feel better. I have been calling my parents daily just to say "hi" and reaching out to friends for calls or video dates.
- Texting (or emailing) to check on people. It’s made me feel good to have people check on me via text, so I have done the same. It feels good to know that others care and it feels good to reach out to others. Just a quick “how are you” can open the door and go a long way to staying connected and helping each other feel better during these stressful times.
How I keep busy to keep healthy
Additionally, for me it has been helpful to have some activities at home for staying healthy:
- Taking short walks outside or sitting on my patio. During the first week at home I didn’t go out at all for fear of someone accidentally coughing or sneezing on me. But then I realized we all have the same worry and can go outside carefully by keeping our distance. The last few days I’ve taking a little stroll to enjoy the spring air or sat on our patio. It’s not been hard to keep a safe distance and still get some enjoyment from time in nature.
- Working on personal projects, like writing. I’ve had a list of writing projects a mile long that I keep postponing. Now is the time to work on them! Or that photo album I’ve been meaning to finish. Perhaps I will even take on cleaning out the closet!
- Helping out the community. It’s a fluke in timing, but my husband Richard and I happened to organize a clothing donation drive that started just when the pandemic got serious. It’s turned out well as we have a lot of donations from people having the time to be home and go through their closets. It’s also an activity that can be done safely with social distancing: putting up signs, sending out emails, putting out boxes, and waiting for the donations to come in. We’ve also by helping out businesses we like by placing orders for delivery (or shipping) and buying gift cards that we can use later but will help their finances now. These are challenging times, if we can do little things to help out others it will ease the burden.
- Taking exercise breaks a couple times during the day to keep moving. Since I have been working remotely from home, it can be easy to go hours and not move while in front of the computer. I’ve set myself alarms so that I take short breaks to move a little. This makes both me and my rheumatoid arthritis happier!
- Trying out new hobbies. I haven’t personally done this yet, but am giving it a thought. A friend ordered a kit to learn juggling! Why not? If you have more time on your hands, now may be the time to pick up an interest, learn a language, or try out some new or different activity.
What ideas can you add or have you been trying to keep socially connected? Please feel free to share ideas on our community about what you’re doing while staying home to keep engaged with others and stay busy.
Also check out the RheumatoidArthritis.net webpage on self-care during uncertain times.
When was your last flare?