Why You Need to Stay Connected While Social DistancingPat Fontana
People are social beings. Whether your social circle consists of a large number of contacts or a select few friends and family members, you need that connection for your physical and mental health. During the coronavirus outbreak, you probably cannot connect with your circle in person and that can make the already stressful situation even worse. During Mental Health Month, it’s important to understand why you need to stay connected while social distancing during COVID-19.
Make Mental Health a Priority
May is Mental Health Month. This year, it takes on a special significance as we all try to maintain our mental health throughout the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to your need to stay connected while social distancing, you need to find outlets for your stress, fear, and anxiety which can arise out of being disconnected.
There are a number of things that can help you maintain your mental health, including:
- Practice mindfulness. Understand that it’s okay that things are different now.
- Adjust your expectations. You can use this time to start something new, like a hobby, or you can just focus on getting through the crisis. It’s not realistic to expect to be happy all of the time and that’s fine also.
- Set your intentions. Think long term. How will what you are choosing to do now affect you in a few weeks or a few months?
- Help others when you can. Everyone is struggling during this challenging time. Do what you can to help out, even if that’s simply choosing to wear a mask when you do go out in public, to protect others.
- Build resilience. What positive factors have helped you maintain your mental health through past crises? Use what you know and what you can control.
- Focus on the moment. Fear comes from not knowing what is coming next. Choose to focus on the present, without worry about the future, for your health and well-being during COVID-19.
Understanding Why You Feel This Way
Psychologically, you might feel better using the term “physical distancing.” Social distancing implies an emotional separation as well. You can remain socially close, though, while maintaining a physical distance for everyone’s health and safety. Psychology can also help to explain why you need to stay connected while social distancing.
During “normal” times, you probably didn’t realize how often you interacted with other people. Even small moments, as when someone held a door open for you, was an interaction that mattered to you and your mental health. These types of physical encounters helped you to build mutual social trust with other people. Everyone needs that aspect of life that enables you to socialize in person, in a relatively steady manner. When you are isolated for too long, your sense of trust and shared purpose can begin to fall apart.
The Need to Stay Connected
Making the effort to stay connected while you are social distancing will benefit your mental and emotional health, as well as your physical health. You can continue to reinforce that sense of trust and shared purpose virtually. Reach out to supportive friends and family members using technology. Check on other people in your life, especially those who may be in a vulnerable population, to ensure they are staying safe and healthy.
Staying connected can help you overcome the stress and anxiety of dealing with the effects of the coronavirus. Rather than focusing on the news or social media rumors and theories, enjoy positive conversations with friends and loved ones. Make plans for what you can do together once the crisis has passed. Know that you are not alone and you do have an important social connection, even it is virtual now.
Tips for Staying Connected
Use technology to your advantage during COVID-19, to stay connected while social distancing. Make a phone call. Set up a video chat so you and your friends and loved ones can see each other while you talk. Try something a little different to make connecting positive and fun:
- Create or join a virtual book club
- Meet, over video chat, for coffee
- Turn up the volume and have a dance contest over Zoom or Skype
- Join friends and family for a virtual exercise session that will help keep you all fit and healthy.
Social Distancing for Physical Health
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close physical contact with each other for a prolonged period. Close contact is measured at less than six feet of separation between people. The CDC explains that spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.
- You may not even know if you or the other person is infected with the virus. People who have it may show no symptoms. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
- Social distancing helps limit contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces. The CDC emphasizes that everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community.
Stay Connected with R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help During COVID-19
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we understand the stress and anxieties caused by social distancing. It is so important that you take care of yourself, seek additional support whenever possible, and make sure you are paying attention to your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, now especially. To help you, we continue to provide the therapy services you need during this challenging time, through confidential and secure telehealth. We encourage you to contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to find out the services R&A Therapeutic Partners offers. Call us at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.