Mental Health Monday: Connect from a Distance
Have you wondered why physical distancing feels so unnatural? Humans are social by nature - connection helps shield us from mental and physical harm. Here are six ways to help cope with physical distancing measures and connect from a distance during the pandemic.
We are naturally social creatures. In times of personal (and societal) stress, we seek out and support our network of family, friends, and neighbours. Strong social supports build resilience. When we feel supported, we are more confident in our ability to cope and manage stressful experiences. On top of it, loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression, a weakened immune system, and chronic disease.
To protect our most vulnerable during the pandemic, we must physically distance and sometimes isolate ourselves entirely. Yet social connections help protect our health. The pandemic has presented a collective challenge: how do we maintain connection while physical distancing?
To manage our mental and physical health, we have to get creative with our social connections!
One thing is important to understand: social and physical distancing ≠ withdrawing from society. Rather, it’s an invitation to contribute and connect to our communities in another way.
Here are a few strategies we are using to cope with distancing measures and to connect from a distance:
It can be hard to follow the rules when you don’t feel personally affected. Think about your vulnerable friends and loved ones. Identifying the people in your life who you want to protect through physical distancing can personify the situation and help you empathize, despite the inconvenience of some of the rules.
Inspire, encourage, and recognize others for following protective strategies - at work, at home, and through social media.
Spend quality time with the people you live with: play board games, start a renovation project or listen to relaxing music together.
Utilize technology to stay in touch - videoconferencing goes a long way.
Make a family meal or dessert recipe that reminds you of friends or family you are unable to visit.
Journal about your experiences with social distancing to help process your thoughts and feelings!
Consider this: when we act together to maintain safe distance during this pandemic, we ARE connecting and bonding!
What are the ways you’ve maintained human connection over the past few months?