During this period of social distancing it is important to keep connected with others, particularly for people who live alone.
Now is the time to stay connected with technology (in addition to social media which can be VERY stressful). Social support helps us to deal with stressful situations because 1) we do not feel alone; and 2) we feel people care about us which helps raise our self esteem.
Being socially connected during stressful times can also diminish the negative effects of emotional anguish. Studies have also shown the positive effect of social support on lowering blood pressure, thereby reducing cardiovascular risk.
Use FaceTime and Skype to check in with people you know well and those you are not as close to, including people from your church or synagogue, gym, or community center.
Enroll in an on-line class. Most colleges and universities have on line learning so take the time to select a class (maybe do it with a friend) and use this time to learn something new.
Become part of a virtual group to discuss a book, play, podcast, music or TV series. Social interaction is a significant aspect of sanity saving.
Walk outdoors. If you live in a city pick up an architectural “city guide” and learn about a neighborhood’s architecture and history. If you have a dog, walking outside is a given. But even if you don’t, get your walking shoes on and greet the people you pass on the street (while maintaining the recommended safe space).
Check in on neighbors who are alone in their homes or apartments; leave some flowers outside of their door. Try a new recipe and when you cook, make extra for your neighbor and leave the food at their door. When you talk with someone who is home alone (after you comment on the restrictive effects of the virus), make a point to talk about other things.
Do a Project: Dedicate a few hours to do what you have been saying you will do “someday” (organize the photos on your phone or the ones in your attic; clear out a closet; sort clothes to donate to charity; give away age appropriate games and storybooks to families whose kids are home from school; reach out on a regular basis (via phone, preferably) to someone who must stay home to help them stay engaged.
Read the books that are at the bottom of your “to read” pile.
“Visit” some great museums and learn about art. There are at hundreds of museums and historic and cultural heritage sites that offer virtual tours! Among them are tours offered by the British Museum, London; Guggenheim Museum, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Musee d’Orsay, Paris; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Pergamon Museum, Berlin; Rijksmuseum,, Amsterdam; Van Gough Museum, Amsterdam; The J. Paul Getty Museum, LA; Uffizi Gallery, Florence; MASP, Sao Paulo; National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City. So, get comfy and learn!
Listen and Watch concerts and plays on line. Many are being offered free during this unusual time. Music heals the soul and helps us to relax. Just think…a concert a night right in your living room!