By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
At this point, everyone is aware of the term social distancing. Social distancing is the practice of keeping a minimum of six feet of distance between you and another person to prevent the spread of a contagious disease.
In the broader context of the current health crisis, social distancing might be leading to social isolation, for some people, which can have a deleterious effect on a person’s mental health. Remember, the goal of social distancing is not to become isolated from others.
Avoid becoming socially isolated
It almost seems like a “Catch 22.” Stay distant from other people to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, but do not become too distant from people. Many health practitioners are aware of this secondary outcome of social distancing and these same health professionals are urging everyone to avoid becoming socially isolated, especially those at risk for depression and or anxiety.
While both issues (coronavirus and depression) are real and avoidance recommendations for both should be followed to optimize the health of everyone, you may ask yourself, “How can I stay socially active when I am required to be socially distant during a time of quarantine?”
Use technology to connect
Well, thanks to technology, there are many ways to have contact with many people at the same time. Using free and available conference calling features on cell phones is a great way to video chat with multiple people at the same time.
To improve the quality of these group chats, perhaps you and your friends and family can find creative ways to interact while practicing good social distancing habits.
Here are a few ways to have fun via video chats
Have a wine or beverage social
No different than getting together for a cocktail, set up a time for everyone to have a drink, chat, and relax. While there is no replacement for face-to-face social interaction, this may be the next best option.
Play an online game and video chat while playing
You can play almost any game online and just think you don’t have to clean up the board and pieces and cards when you are finished!
Call people, you do not get to speak with very often
Almost everyone has time to talk during this unprecedented time, so reach to those you haven’t talked to in a while and rekindle some relationships!
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